As with much dietary advice, there is often confusion and sometimes conflicting advice about what is and what isn’t good for us to consume. Food for dogs also falls into this zone as people are often unsure what foods are suitable for dogs and what foods aren’t.
Veterinarians advise that it is better to give dogs only food and treats designed for dogs. In real life, many dog owners give their pets scraps from the table or use human food as a treat. So how can we be sure that what we are giving our dogs is not doing more harm than good? In an attempt to make things a little clearer for dog owners, the following is our guide showing what NOT to feed your dog and the reasons why.
A superfood for humans, but not for our canine friends. Avocados contain a substance called persin, which causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
Not just restricted to beverages, this also includes food that contains alcohol. Never give alcohol to a dog as this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death.
This is an ingredient used in beermaking and just like the alcohol itself, is toxic for dogs, causing panting, an increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and can result in death.
Onions and garlic
Not only do these vegetables cause gastrointestinal upset, they can also damage red blood cells in dogs. This can be fatal. It should be noted that garlic in very small doses could be OK for dogs, but larger quantities are dangerous. Because of this, it is recommended to steer clear of garlic.
Coffee, tea, caffeine, and chocolate
All of the above items contain methylxanthines, specifically caffeine in coffee and theobromine in chocolate. These cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, arrhythmia, seizures, and can also result in death. Even though these products have different levels of methylxanthines, it is best to avoid any kind of chocolate and caffeine entirely.
Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure. Experts do not entirely understand why this is the case, but it is simply advised that dogs do not consume these fruits because of that potential outcome.
Milk and dairy products
Dogs do not produce large quantities of the lactase enzyme, so are unable to break down the lactose in dairy products. Although small amounts of dairy products can be tolerated, larger quantities are likely to result in gastrointestinal upset.
Macadamia nuts are particularly problematic. Although excellent for humans, these nuts cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, and hyperthermia. Not all nuts are bad for dogs, but the high fat content can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and can ultimately lead to pancreatitis.
Although this may sound like a good idea, stick to raw bones. Never ever give chicken bones, as these are too fragile for your dog. Cooked bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard for dogs.
Feeding your dog with these can result in pancreatitis in dogs, so should be avoided.
Liver contains a lot of vitamin A, which although good for humans can adversely affect a dog’s muscles and bones.
Although it is ok to eat small amounts of the actual fruit, other parts are toxic to animals. Keep peel, leaves, and stems away from dogs as the oils can affect the central nervous system.
Corn on the cob
Although dogs can tolerate some vegetables, corn on the cob is not well digested in a dog’s stomach. If your dog eats a large amount of the cob itself, look for signs of gastrointestinal upset or constipation as there may be an intestinal blockage.
Persimmons, peaches, and plums
The seeds of all these fruits can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. The pit of a peach is particularly dangerous to a dog’s health as it degrades to hydrogen cyanide when metabolized.
Coconut and coconut oil
Small amounts of the flesh may be eaten, but this can sometimes result in vomiting and diarrhea. Never give your dog coconut with the shell still on, as this can result in choking or even abdominal obstruction.
Raw meat and fish
Consuming raw fish on a regular basis can actually lead to a vitamin B deficiency in dogs. This may shows as a loss of appetite initially, followed by seizures, and possibly death.
Just as with humans, consuming large amounts of salt leads to excessive thirst in dogs. It can also result in sodium ion poisoning, so salty snacks should be avoided.
Raw dough can continue to rise inside the dog, causing bloating and intestinal discomfort. It can sometimes result in a twisted stomach, which is a life-threatening condition.
If they are store bought mushrooms, chances are that your dog will not have an allergic reaction. Do not attempt to give your dog wild mushrooms as there is a higher potential that these may be toxic.
Used as a sweetener in many different applications including gum and candy, xylitol can cause insulin release, which leads to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia. Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. These symptoms can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days. Avoid this product entirely.
What to do if your dog consumes these items
If your dog consumes any of the above foods, but currently shows no symptoms, call your local poison control center straight away for advice. The ASPCA poison control number is (888) 426-4435 and there may be a fee applied for a consultation. For all other cases take your pet immediately to an animal emergency hospital or your local veterinarian.
As always, if in doubt about what is best for your dog’s health and welfare, consult with your veterinarian.