As the saying goes, dogs will eat anything! And as responsible owners, we must ensure that they do not ingest anything toxic. But what’s toxic isn’t always obvious, as many dog foods that are considered perfectly healthy for humans can be very dangerous or even fatal for canines. Here’s your guide to keeping your hungry pooch safe from people food hazards.
What Not to Feed Your Dog (Intentionally or Unintentionally)
- Onions (and garlic) contain the toxin thiosulphate. Keep your pooch away from both foods even though onions present a greater danger. These two foods can be hazardous in one large dose or through repeated consumption of small amounts.
- Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that acts as a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. Noticeable effects may include hyperactivity, restlessness, muscle twitches, increased urination and excessive panting. Internal symptoms can include increased heart rate and blood pressure. Seizures (and even death) may occur in the most severe cases of consumption.
- Grapes (and raisins) are dangerous and can affect your dog’s kidney function.
- Walnuts can cause gastrointestinal problems, like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as respiratory issues such as sneezing, breathing and coughing.
- Fruit pits (from peaches, apricots, cherries, etc). They contain cyanogenic glycosides, which if ingested can result in cyanide poisoning. Best to keep your pup away from pitted fruits altogether.
- Macadamia nuts contain a mystery toxin when it comes to dogs. Although researchers have yet to determine exactly what causes their toxicity, as few as a handful of nuts can bring on severe reactions in your dog. Symptoms he may develop from eating macadamias include abdominal pain, vomiting, pale gums, stiffness, difficulty walking, tremors, weakness and even depression.
- Bones, especially chicken bones, are definite no-nos. Although it’s been said that dogs love bones, don’t give him any from the table because they can easily splinter. This presents a choking hazard and may cause lacerations in the digestive tract.
- Potato peels contain substances called oxalates, which can gravely affect your dog’s digestive, nervous and urinary systems.
- Yeast and anything made with baking powder or baking soda should be kept away from your dog. These ingredients can be dangerous because as they expand, they result in gas, pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. If you happen to spill some on the floor while cooking, be sure to clean it up immediately.
- Nutmeg (and egg nog) are no-nos. High levels of nutmeg can result in canine death. Symptoms of poisoning include seizures, tremors and other central nervous system problems.
5 Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Pooch from Ingesting Toxic Foods
- Your absolute safest bet? Simply do not bring toxic foods or ingredients into the home.
- If you do, keep these foods out of your dog’s reach at all times.
- Be very firm in refusing to give him even a taste.
- Keep trash out of his reach.
- Don’t let him lick plates or get into a dirty dishwasher.
What to Do if Your Dog Consumes a Toxic or Questionable Substance
When in doubt, call your vet or the nearest animal hospital. The ASPCA’s National Animal Poison Control Center also maintains a 24-hour hotline to call in case your pet ingests anything considered toxic. Callers are charged a flat consultation fee and will have immediate access to a veterinarian who will talk you through the emergency. The vet will ask for medical information about your dog, such as age, weight, medical history, what your pet was exposed to and the amount that was ingested. The service will then help you determine if it’s a low risk situation that can be managed at home, or if you should take your dog to an emergency clinic.