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Dangerous foods for dogs can be found in nearly every dog owner’s home. Unfortunately, not all human food is healthy for dogs. A lot of it isn’t very healthy for humans! What’s worse? Some human food is actually poisonous or lethal to dogs. Here’s a list of foods that are dangerous for your dog. While this isn’t a complete list, it covers the most common human foods which are dangerous to your dog.
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Sometimes there’s nothing better than a cold beer during the game or a glass of wine at dinner. And sometimes, there’s nothing better than having 6 or 7 of those! Sharing that pastime with your dog, however, is a very bad idea. First of all, chances are your dog weighs the same as a small child, or less. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. Within 30 minutes of your dog consuming alcohol, the effects will begin. When alcohol is taken in excess, the risk for a slow respiratory rate, cardiac arrest, and death is very high. If your dog has consumed a large amount of alcohol, it’s a life or death situation. Get the dog to an animal hospital ASAP!
Many artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Xylitol, Saccharin, and Sucralose (and others) have the potential to be very dangerous to your dog in larger quantities. Xylitol is especially dangerous as it can cause fatal liver failure in dogs very quickly. It is mainly used as a sweetener in chewing gum and dental hygiene products such as toothpaste, fluoride, and mouthwash but it is also used in some low cal and diabetic candies and cookies. Other artificial sweeteners can also cause harm, but Xylitol is the most harmful. If you think your dog may have consumed even a small amount of Xylitol, please seek out emergency veterinarian care. Xylitol acts quickly and is quite fatal in dogs!
Avocados contain a substance called Persin which is lethal in many animals. However, Persin is not lethal to dogs as many people believe. The main problem with an avocado is the pit can get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract. As long as the pit is removed before you feed your dog an avocado, it should be safe. If your dog did ingest the pit, chances are it’ll pass through your dog’s system. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog though and watch for any signs of pain or discomfort. At the first sign of distress, your dog should be taken to a vet as a blocked digestive tract can become extremely dangerous. There are some dog foods that even include avocado pulp in their ingredients since the oil from avocado is very good for skin and coats.
Chocolate is widely known to be a dangerous food for dogs. Reason being, it contains Theobromine (also called Xantheose) which is a bitter alkaloid of the cocoa plant. It’s not only found in chocolate, but can also be found in other foods such as tea leaves, coffee grounds, and some types of nuts. Dogs are not able to metabolize Theobromine very quickly which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination, muscle twitching, excessive panting, hyperactive behavior, whining, dehydration, digestive problems, seizures, and rapid heart rate. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is – and the smaller the dog, the higher the risk. When taken in larger quantities, chocolate can actually be fatal to a dog. Some types of chocolate, such as dark chocolate, can be lethal and it doesn’t take much at all for a small dog. Other types, such as milk chocolate, requires much larger amounts. A large dog would have to eat a great deal of milk chocolate to be harmed. If your dog has consumed chocolate of any kind, you should identify what type of chocolate it was and call your vet to see if it was taken in a life-threatening dose.
Caffeine, Coffee, And Tea
Caffeine contains the same ingredient contained in chocolate, Theobromine. Therefore, you should not allow your dog to drink anything containing caffeine. Even some decaf coffee and tea will contain some amounts of Theobromine. Caffeinated beverages aren’t as dangerous to dogs as chocolate, but as a general rule, you should not allow your dog to drink any caffeinated beverages or decaf beverages such as coffee and tea.
Ok, so this one may or may not be a dangerous food for dogs. Historically, garlic has actually been used as a natural (yet controversial) remedy to ward off fleas and ticks, treat some skin allergies, prevent infections, and even boost the immune system. However, garlic belongs to the onion family and onions DO cause anemia in dogs. They are quite dangerous. Opinions are mixed on garlic. You should avoid feeding your dog large doses but small amounts are usually safe. Be careful using garlic powder. It’s a concentrated form and a little goes a long way. And be careful using garlic salt – dogs don’t need to eat salt in general. While great things are claimed for garlic, it’s probably a good idea to use more conventional means for preventing heartworm and other parasites.
Grapes And Raisins
While the exact cause isn’t yet known, when dogs consume grapes or raisins, it can lead to sudden acute kidney failure and also cause anuria which is a lack of urine production. In larger quantities, this is a very dangerous food for dogs. It’s best not to give your dog any raisins or grapes at all. Watch for vomiting and diarrhea as those are usually the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity. This normally happens within the first 1 to 3 hours after ingestion. Kidney failure develops within approximately 48 hours. A veterinarian can take a blood test to determine the toxicity level in your dog.
Macadamia nuts can lead to what’s known as macadamia nut toxicosis. After 12 hours following ingestion, dogs will begin to develop symptoms which mimic that of alcohol intoxication. They will have trouble standing, wobble from side to side when they walk, show signs of depression, have muscle spasms or tremors, have an elevated body temperature, elevated heart rate, and show signs of weakness. While rare, this can lead to fatal conditions. If symptoms don’t subside within 48 hours or become severe, you should take a trip to the vet. If the macadamia nuts were consumed with chocolate (the two sometimes go hand in hand), the situation becomes more of an emergency.
Many dog owners don’t realize that onions are considered a dangerous food for dogs. Onions contain something called Thiosulfate. While humans can process Thiosulfate without issue, dogs do not contain the enzymes necessary to digest it. A small amount of onion probably won’t do any harm but more than a small amount of onion can lead to severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine, weakness, asthmatic attacks, and inflammation of the skin. These symptoms appear due to indigestion. It’s also important to note that small quantities of onions consumed over a period of several days can also lead to toxic levels of Thiosulfate in your dog. Onions can also cause Heinz body anemia in dogs which is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Avoid feeding your dog onions.
Potato Peels Or Green Potatoes
While potatoes are not normally harmful to dogs, potato skins with a green tinge contain oxalates which cause digestive, nervous system, and urinary system problems. Solanine is also contained in potatoes with green on the skin which can be harmful for both humans and dogs, although dogs seem to have a worse reaction. Many dog food manufacturers use potatoes in their food products but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you wish to give your dog potatoes, make sure you remove any doubtful-looking skins.
Too much of anything can be harmful to a dog and salt is no exception. The reason salt is particularly dangerous and worth mentioning is because it leads to dehydration. Some dogs will compensate for this dehydration by drinking an excessive amount of water. Water itself, of course, is not dangerous to your dog, unless he fills up on water when he is hot, when he has just exercised strenuously, or right after eating lots of carbs (like a horse filling up on water right after eating grain). In these cases a dog can experience bloat which is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills up with air and then twists. A dog can die rapidly if veterinary attention isn’t sought. So, avoid giving your dog salt and always keep an eye on your dog’s water intake.
This list of dangerous foods for dogs isn’t a complete list, but it helps to cover some of the main foods your dog is likely to come across in your home. If you must feed your dog scraps or people food, please print this list out and hang it on your fridge. Also, be sure to share this with other dog owners you know. It just might save a dog’s life!