The world today is all about less waste. With that in mind, it can be tempting to give your dog your food scraps or trimmings. After all, they’d surely love the new, delicious treat. Unfortunately, many human food items are a big no-no for your dog.
It’s also important to remember that our dogs are hunters. They are designed to sniff out their food source. Keep that in mind when leaving your dog unattended. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much for Fido to hop onto the kitchen counter or scavenge in your purse. And there may be some unknown toxins lurking there!
Think twice. Before indulging your dog with leftovers or leaving the house, consider “Should my dog eat that?” The likely answer here is “No,” but let’s review some food items that dogs commonly get their paws on.
Don’t feed your dog…
You’ve likely heard of this dog no-no. Chocolate is considered poisonous to our dogs due to the toxic component, theobromine. Since dogs’ bodies are unable to efficiently break down this ingredient, the levels grow until reaching a toxic level.
If your dog consumes chocolate, there are a few different factors that may affect your dog’s reaction. The darker the chocolate, the higher the quantity of theobromine, so bitter chocolate like cooking chocolate and dark chocolate are more likely to cause an issue. It’s also important to keep in mind the amount of chocolate. If your dog ate a small amount of chocolate, they may just experience some mild stomach upset. Finally, your dog’s size plays a factor here. You can use Veterinary Clinic’s Chocolate Toxicity Calculator to get a better idea of the danger level, but remember to keep a close eye on your dog regardless. Every dog is different, so it’s important to safely observe them for some time.
Caffeine can be found in a lot of human drinks and food. Some common sources of caffeine include tea, coffee, soda, and energy drinks. Don’t forget about any pre or post workout supplements or weight loss supplements, too!
Think about caffeine’s effect on your body, and imagine that same response in your dog’s. Ingesting caffeine can lead to hyperactivity, restlessness, stomach upset, elevated heart rate, hypertension, hyperthermia, and even seizures.
Grapes and Raisins
It may come as a surprise that grapes and raisins can be toxic to our furry companions. According to petMD, grape or raisin toxicity can lead to severe kidney damage. Symptoms your pet may experience if they’ve consumed grapes or raisins include, vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, abdominal pain, cessation or urine, seizures, and coma.
Interestingly, the toxic ingredient found within grapes and raisins has still not been identified. Scientists are also unsure as to why certain dogs seem to be affected more than others. Regardless, keep your precious pup away from both grapes and raisins, and you will be in the clear!
While avocados are a great source of healthy fats for humans, our pets don’t get to enjoy this yummy fruit. According to Pet Poison Helpline, avocados present mild toxicity in our cats and dogs. Eating avocado can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, obstructed bowels, and if consumed in large quantities, pancreatitis.
Xylitol is a sneaky substance. It can be found as a food additive, in drinks, and even in some household items. It is a sugar alcohol commonly found in sugary beverages, candy, baked goods, cough syrup, vitamins, gum, and toothpaste.
When consumed by your pup, Xylitol enters the bloodstream and prompts a huge release of insulin. This release causes hypoglycemia, a condition that, if untreated, can be life-threatening.
If you suspect your dog has consumed a Xylitol-containing product, look for the following symptoms: vomiting, weakness, tremors, depression, difficulty walking or standing, seizures, or coma.
Here’s a toxin many dog owners don’t know about! Similar to grapes and raisins, scientists don’t quite understand how and why macadamia nuts affect dogs. Despite this, macadamia nuts can cause one of the most severe reactions, and the smallest quantity can have drastic effects.
If you suspect your dog has gotten into something containing macadamia nuts (very common in baked goods), keep a watchful eye. Common signs are weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, and fever.
Dogs chew on bones. It’s a tale as old as time, but the truth is, dogs can chew on some bones.
You may be surprised to learn that cooked bones are the problem here. Once bones are cooked, they become brittle and are susceptible to breaking off and splintering. As you can imagine, this is a huge problem for your dog’s intestinal tract. If a cooked bone were to splinter in your dog’s tract, their digestive system risks being punctured.
So the next time you cook bone-in meat, think again about offering the bones to your pooch. Instead, exercise extreme caution by immediately placing the bones in a garbage bag and removing them from the premises. Why risk it?
Corn on the Cob
This one may be confusing. It’s important to note that dogs can certainly eat corn (non-GMO, of course!) on its own. It’s a good energy source due to its high carbohydrate content.
The problem arises when you feed your dog corn on the cob. The cob itself presents a problem when dogs consume the whole thing or chew off large chunks. Once consumed, the cob is extremely difficult to digest, and more often than not, will become lodged in your dog’s system. Sometimes, dogs are able to pass the corn without an issue. Keep an eye out for signs of trouble like vomiting, trouble defecating, loss of appetite, whimpering, and restlessness.
While this guide contains some popular human food and drinks, it does not cover all doggy toxins in their entirety. When in doubt, always exercise the utmost caution. Refer to your vet with any questions or call the 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center at (855)764-7661.