Ah, who can resist the soulful eyes of a dog begging for food? And they are so adorable when they tap you with their paw and literally drool over whatever you are eating. As hard as it is to resist, several foods are absolutely off-limits for dogs. They can cause severe illness and some cases death! Here are 10 of the top offenders.
This is probably the most commonly-cited food that is harmful to dogs. Chocolate and dogs (except chocolate Labs!) do not play well together. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which are stimulants. While methylxanthines can release “feel good” chemicals in humans, they seriously disrupt your dog’s metabolism. The result can be severe diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, irregular heart rhythm, and even death. So steer clear of doling out the chocolate chips if your fur baby is hanging around while you’re baking cookies.
Like chocolate, caffeine contains methylxanthines which can cause hyperactivity, increased thirst, and excessive urination, which are very similar to how you feel if you’ve had too many cups of coffee or energy drinks. Further complications are tremors, seizures, coma, and death. Your dog will be much happier if his trip to Starbucks is limited to sitting outside the cafe’ with you and sipping water while you enjoy your latte.
Garlic, Onions, and Chives
While these aromatics make an excellent flavor base for cooking and offer health benefits to humans, they are not beneficial to dogs. Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are part of the Allium family, and garlic is the most toxic. Alliums are harmful in any state — raw, cooked, dried, or powdered — to dogs and can harm red blood cells which result in anemia. Also, the pungent properties can upset your dog’s stomach. Symptoms may take several days to appear, so if you suspect that your dog has eaten any of these foods, watch them carefully.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free and reduced-calorie foods, candy, and gum. Xylitol causes blood glucose levels to drop in dogs, which can lead to liver failure, seizures, and brain damage. Xylitol is sometimes used in nut butter, so make sure you check the labels of any “human” food products that you want to feed to your dog.
The drunken doggie may be funny in cartoons, but in real life, it’s no laughing matter. Alcohol affects dogs in the same way that it does humans by depressing the central nervous system and stressing the liver. It takes only a very small amount of alcohol to make your dog ill. Canine alcohol consumption can lead to poor coordination, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coma, and death. Keep alcoholic beverages out of the reach of your dog and make sure to promptly clear away any unfinished drinks, especially if they have garnishes that your furry friend may find tempting.
These luxurious buttery gems are a treat for humans but are one of the most toxic substances for dogs. Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that can make dogs extremely ill. Symptoms include vomiting, weakness, joint pain, increased body temperature, and inability to walk. In general, it’s not a good idea to feed nuts, including almonds, cashews, and pecans to your dog. The high-fat content can upset his stomach or cause pancreatitis. They also can present a choking hazard. Peanuts and peanut butter are safe, but moderation is the key.
Grapes and Raisins
Like macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins contain an unknown substance that is toxic to dogs. What is known, is that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. The size, color, and texture of grapes can be tempting to dogs, but they are strictly off-limits. Watch for hidden sources of grapes and raisins, such as fruit salads, cookies, and other baked goods.
Milk and Ice Cream
Many dogs suffer from lactose intolerance and will get sick if they consume dairy products. Their bodies can’t break down the sugars in milk as easily as humans can. While your dog may give your ice cream cone longing looks, resist the temptation to give him a lick. She may have reactions such as gas, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Some dogs can tolerate other dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, so if you choose to give these to your dog, watch her closely for any adverse symptoms.
Holy guacamole! Make sure to keep your dog away from the chips and dip at your next party. Avocados are one of the hottest food trends right now, which makes them even more plentiful and increases the risk factor. Avocados contain persin, which can make dogs very sick. All parts of the plant — flesh, skin, leaves, and pit are harmful. (The pit also presents a choking hazard.) While dogs that ingest person could become ill with vomiting and diarrhea, exposure usually isn’t fatal. If you suspect your dog has eaten avocados, err on the safe side and consult with your veterinarian.
While images of dogs gnawing on bones are classic, they aren’t the best treat to give your canine pal. Cooked or raw, bones — especially chicken bones — can splinter in your dog’s mouth and cause cuts and other dental problems. Large pieces of bones can get stuck in your dog’s trachea or esophagus. If you give your dog a bone, just watch him closely for any signs of choking or wheezing. Better yet, stick to bone-shaped treats or toys.