Most dog owners have been known to share “people food” with their pooches. After all, they are excellent at begging and pulling on our heart strings. What’s the hurt? Well, other than reinforcing the negative behavior of begging, there are some very real health risks for your pet with certain foods. Some can really hurt them or even kill them.
Increase your knowledge so you know how to protect your dog from inadvertent harm. Here is a list of foods that you will want to know about. Don’t panic if you have given one of these to your pooch at one time or another, as the effects can vary depending upon your dog’s size, breed and other unique characteristics.
Raw potatoes, particularly green raw potatoes
Cooked potatoes are not dangerous for dogs, and actually they can be found in many dog foods. However, both humans and dogs should avoid green, hence not ripe, raw potatoes as it is toxic to both species. If your dog gets into raw green potatoes, the effects would be nausea and vomiting, seizures, and heart rhythm irregularities. Be sure to keep these away from your pooch.
These seem like they should be a harmless snack, and some sources often will even talk about using them as treats. However, there is a toxin that is present in grapes, and hence also in raisins, that can attack the kidneys and liver of dogs. It can cause severe liver damage, and even kidney failure. It doesn’t take much, just a small bit to affect your dog’s organs. The reaction you would see in a dog affected by this is: vomiting, particularly repeated vomiting, then in the next day or so, lethargy and depression as the organ failure progresses.
These also have a particular toxin, persin, that is harmless for humans. It takes large amounts to be problematic for dogs, but it needs to be avoided altogether. And not just the avocados themselves, but all parts of the plant contain persin, so you certainly don’t want your dog digging in your garden where you grow your avocados.
Plums, peaches, persimmons
The seeds or pits of these fruits are the dangerous parts for your dog as they will cause intestinal obstruction, or inflammation of the small intestine. Humans seem to know not to eat these. The pits of peaches and plums have cyanide in them and obviously can cause poisoning in any creature that eats them, humans and dogs alike.
Similar to the situation with the fruits above, the pit of the cherry is bad for dogs. There is cyanide in the plant as well as the pit, which will initially affect the respiratory system, and then cause death. The fruit itself, the pulp, is not problematic, but be sure there are no pits in at all when your dog is snacking.
Unlike potatoes, cooking onions and garlic will not render them safe for your dog. Whether in powder form, dehydrated form, raw or cooked, they are toxic. They attack your dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. It is entirely possible that your dog may be exposed to tiny amounts if the dog gets into your baby’s food. Generally you won’t see a problem in such small amounts, but if your dog were to regularly consume it, even in small amounts, or if they were to get a large amount one time, poisoning could be the result. If your dog becomes anemic, you might see weakness, vomiting, refusal of food, shortness of breath and just an overall dulling of reactions.
Macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts
While some nuts are not a problem, macadamia nuts are extremely poisonous to canines. Keep them away all together. If your dog gets into macadamia nuts you can see vomiting, fever, inability to walk, overall fatigue, and nervous system damage. Similar but not quite as intense are pecans and walnuts.
These are not a poisoning risk to dogs, but instead are a risk of choking, entirely blocking the throat, and if not chewed up enough, could cut the tissues in the throat. As with people, dogs with heart disease should not have salted almonds as the salt will increase water retention. This can be fatal to an at risk dog.
Salt altogether is harmful to dogs, even more so to dogs than to people. So, avoid sharing your snacks that contain salt as they could lead to sodium ion poisoning. Your dog will be very thirsty, will show increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, shaking, fever, and even seizures or death.
We know alcohol can cause damage in humans, but for our dogs, it takes much less exposure to do the damage on the brain and liver. If your dog shares your beverage, you will likely see vomiting, diarrhea, poor coordination, difficulty breathing, central nervous system depression, coma, and death. The smaller the animal, the less alcohol it takes to cause significant damage. No alcohol for canines.
Dairy products, milk, ice cream
Dogs are notoriously lactose intolerant. They are unable to digest dairy foods as they don’t produce the enzyme that is used to manage them, lactase. You will likely see diarrhea, vomiting, stomachache, itching due to food allergies. It is possible for them to consume things that don’t contain lactose, so feel free to share your lactose free snacks. Don’t share ice cream or cheese with your dog and he will be grateful, even if he doesn’t realize it. If you want to share a cool creamy treat with your dog, check out frozen yogurt, or freeze fruits that are okay for your dog, in order to give him a refreshing, cooling treat.
Chocolate, while delicious, has some parts that are dangerous to dogs – notably theobromine and theophylline, which is present in all different kinds of chocolate. If a dog gets chocolate, and is hurt by it you would see vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, shaking, seizures, and even death. This can occur from what seems like an innocuous amount, such as he might get from licking out a mixing bowl. The most dangerous chocolate sources are the dark chocolates, unsweetened baking chocolate, and even the chocolate mulches you find in cacao mulch in gardens.
This is a very common ingredient in gum, toothpaste, candy, and diet foods as a sweetener. It will cause a increased release of insulin, which will cause his blood sugar to drop, produce vomiting, lethargy, in-coordination, seizures and liver failure. Liver failure onset can be rapid, within a few days.
Sugary drinks or foods
The consequences of too much sugar are the same in dogs as in humans, in other words, weight gain, dental issues, and increased risk of diabetes. Avoid this.
Coffee, tea, coffee grounds and coffee beans are all bad for your dog. Caffeine is also found in cocoa, energy drinks, chocolate, cold medicines and pain killers. If your dog gets caffeine, you may see excessive energy or restlessness, increased respiration, twitchy muscles, and it can even be fatal.
While we may love cinnamon, and even the health effects that it can give us, you should avoid it for your dog. The oils in the cinnamon can hurt your dog’s mouth, and a known attribute of cinnamon in dogs is that it can lower blood sugar – possibly too much for a dog, cause diarrhea, vomiting, altered heart rate, and possibly liver disease. Because of the proximity of a dog’s nose to its mouth, powdered cinnamon can be easily inhaled which will cause breathing issues, choking, and coughing.
You love the smell of baking bread, and the smell of the yeast rising and doing its work in the dough is indescribable. The work that the yeast does in the dough, it would also do inside your dog’s tummy if he ate dough. Imagine the growth of the dough, it can swell and stretch the dog’s tummy and give it quite the tummy ache. Make him wait for the finished product, all baked up and yummy.
We know that raw eggs can cause food poisoning, and raw meats and raw fish contain that same bacteria with the same result. Fish can also have unique parasites that can give them a specific poisoning that is termed “fish disease” or “salmon poisoning disease”. If your dog contracts this you will see vomiting, increased body temperature, and swollen lymph nodes. The good news is that it can be treated, but it needs to be caught early. Your dog can have fish, but always cook it completely before sharing it with Fido.
Raw meat, cooked fat trimmings, bones
When you finish that lovely steak, it seems a waste to throw away the flavorful fat that your dog would love. But, this should be avoided as it is a cause of pancreatitis, whether the fat is cooked or not. Raw meat can cause food poisoning, just as it can in humans. Bones, while commonly thought of as an excellent treat for dogs, can break up into sharp bits and cut up the insides of your dog’s throat and stomach, or even the further digestive system. Or it could cause choking if it gets stuck a particular way. So, better to avoid it all together in order to keep your dog healthy.
Baking Soda, baking powder
Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents that are common ingredient in baked goods as they produce a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Large quantities need to be ingested for toxic effect. This reaction can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.. Fortunately, dogs do not generally find these types of leavening agents very appetizing.