You love your dog and always want them to be safe, healthy, and happy. In the world of dog wellness and safety, things can get overwhelming at times, but few things remain tried and true: foods that are toxic and foods that are safe for your beloved canine companion.
Dogs, much like us humans, believe that food is love. If you’ve ever been enjoying dinner and your dog begs for a bite or two, you may wonder what is okay to give them a bite of and what isn’t. Rest assured, there are plenty of human foods that are safe for your dog to enjoy.
Here is everything you need to know about toxic foods for dogs.
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Foods That Are Toxic for Dogs
It’s important to note that this isn’t a full list of toxic foods for dogs and you should always check with a medical professional before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet.
Every dog is different and some dogs may react to foods differently than others, so it’s worth checking.
Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins are great for humans thanks to their high antioxidant content. However, for your pup, even one grape or raisin can be fatal. Though research is limited as to why these foods are toxic to dogs, it is known that even one grape or raisin can lead to sudden onset kidney failure or disease.
We love onion for its ability to add endless flavour and high potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and folate vitamins to our diet, but onion is one of the worst foods your dog can ingest.
Dog consumption of onion can cause anaemia. Onions contain a chemical compound toxic to dogs called N-propyl disulfide which causes red blood cells to break down through oxidative damage. This can lead to anaemia.
According to the American Kennel Club, it only takes “100 grams of onion per 20 kilograms of a dog’s body weight to cause toxic effects.”
Similar to onion, garlic also contains N-propyl disulfide. If your dog ingests garlic, it can also cause gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration. To keep your dog safe, keep them away from the allium family. This includes onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, chives, and shallots.
As humans, we know that chocolate provides free therapy, and we often wish we could share a piece with our beloved canine companions. However, chocolate is toxic to dogs.
Chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine which is also present in caffeine. This compound, though okay for humans, cannot be metabolized by dogs as well.
As a rule of thumb, the darker and more bitter chocolate is, the more of a threat it poses to dogs.
A common artificial sweetener, xylitol, is wildly toxic to dogs but gaining popularity among humans for its low-calorie content compared to sugar. It is so toxic for dogs that even minimal amounts of the sweetener can lead to hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and worst of all, even death.
Xylitol poisoning in dogs occurs when it’s first absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, a dog’s inability to metabolize xylitol leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia. When left untreated, it can cause liver failure and death.
Keep your pup away from xylitol at all costs and be sure to always double-check ingredients on low sugar foods in your home, as xylitol is a common alternative to sugar.
It’s no secret that avocado is an absolute superfood to humans as it’s one of the best healthy fats we can consume. However, avocado contains a compound called persin which can lead to death in many animals. Though dogs are slightly more resistant to persin than other animals, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for your dog to consume.
Keep your dog away from guacamole and avocado toast, as high amounts of avocado can cause gastrointestinal upset and heart damage.
Alcohol isn’t necessarily great for humans, but it is certainly toxic to your dog. Though it’s rare your dog would go for your margarita, even alcohol present in dough and other recipes can cause toxicity. Similar to the way excess alcohol can cause issues to humans, alcohol can cause vomiting, disorientation, diarrhoea, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, nervous system damage, muscle tremors, seizures, and even death in dogs.
Caffeine also contains theobromine, like chocolate, a toxic and hard to digest substance in dogs. Since caffeine is also a stimulant, most dogs can’t metabolize it and experience the nasty side effects. Cardiac issues are a common threat of caffeine to dogs. Keep it away from your pup at all costs – especially caffeine pills.
Though dogs can enjoy some nuts, like peanuts, macadamia nuts are one of the most toxic foods they can ingest. Though it isn’t known exactly why macadamia nuts specifically pose a threat to dogs, they can cause vomiting, ataxia, weakness, and hypothermia and depression.
While regular bones can provide enrichment and a yummy treat, avoid giving your dog cooked bones at all costs. Cooked bones can splinter and can cause dental damage and perforation of vital organs if swallowed.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Toxic Foods
Keep your dog safe from toxic foods by keeping them locked away in secured, unreachable areas of your house.
Always be sure to double-check ingredients on food packages and labels if you have any doubts or questions about whether or not food is safe for your dog.
A simple Google search or consultation with your veterinarian can not only help your dog avoid toxic foods, but give you an idea of what they should be consuming instead!
Dogs are omnivorous creatures and can eat plenty of the foods we know and love. While there aren’t a ton of foods that are toxic to your dog, there is plenty that they can eat. Foods like honey, peanut butter, yoghurt (unsweetened), bread, milk, and fish are some of the foods that are perfectly safe for dogs.
What to Do if Your Dog Has Ingested a Toxic Food
If you’re worried your dog has ingested food that’s potentially fatal or toxic, call your country’s poison pet hotline or take them to the nearest 24-hour pet hospital immediately. Take no chances, as your dog’s life could be at serious risk.