Human Foods Toxic to Dogs — From A-Z
Even if they ain’t too proud to beg…
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When you say, “I really shouldn’t eat that,” what you mean is it’s probably not the healthiest choice. Well, there are a lot of foods (and drinks) that may not be good for you but are downright deadly to your dog. We asked Dr. Elizabeth Shines, DVM, to help us compile a list of grub that you should never bring home in a doggie bag. So if you’ve been tossing your pup table scraps, read this...
Alcoholic beverages (and foods cooked with them) can pose serious health risks for dogs. Alcohol poisoning can lead to drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and body temperature. In severe cases, it can even cause seizures or respiratory failure.
Sorry, pup, no avo toast for you. Avocados contain a toxin called persin, though it’s the pits that pose a real problem: if swallowed, they can cause intestinal blockage.
Caffeinated drinks can cause hyperactivity in humans and animals. But in dogs it can also induce vomiting and tremors, elevate the heart rate, and in severe cases, lead to seizures or death.
Chocolate contains toxins that can cause pretty much all of the above. Of note: the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs. “Chocolate is especially dangerous during the holidays,” warns Dr. Shines. “While people may know in general to keep it away from dogs, they may not realize that an eager dog can sniff out — and help themselves to — the chocolate treat that is wrapped up under the Christmas tree.”
Feel free to share bread with your dog, but keep unbaked dough well out of their reach. It can expand in a dog’s stomach and cause an emergency called bloat. To add insult to injury, when the yeast from the dough starts to ferment, alcohol is released into the bloodstream and can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are vegetables of the allium family — all of which have the potential to be dangerous to dogs. Certain breeds, such as Shiba Inus and Akitas, are particularly susceptible to the toxins found in them. If you’ve done your research, you may be confused because many dog foods contain garlic, not to mention garlic is considered an all-natural flea repellant (as it changes the taste of a dog’s skin). In large enough doses, though, garlic can cause intestinal upset or anemia, so all in moderation.
Grapes and Raisins
Even small traces of grapes, raisins, and currants can cause severe kidney failure in dogs. “I always warn people about the dangers of grapes and raisins,” says Dr. Shines. “They seem like they would be a harmless treat but are one of the more common poisons, especially when you consider they find their way into juices, trail mixes, breads, and more.” Take care not to let one roll off your charcuterie board.
As the popularity of homebrewing has increased, so too has the occurrence of hops poisoning in dogs. Malignant hyperthermia, vomiting, abnormal clotting, coma, and death are all very real risks. Greyhounds, retrievers, Saint Bernards, pointers, Doberman pinschers, border collies, and English springer spaniels seem to be more sensitive than other breeds to hops.
A healthy fat for humans, macadamia nuts can cause pancreatitis, hyperthermia, depression, vomiting, joint stiffness, and lethargy in your pup.
“The leaves, stems, and seeds of stone fruits such as apricots and peaches contain cyanide,” says Dr. Shines, so rethink the fruit bowl centerpiece if you’ve got a counter-surfer.
Xylitol is a sweetener that can be found in everything from gum to soda to some brands of peanut butter. It also happens to be highly toxic to dogs, causing a swift drop in blood sugar and acute liver failure. PB can be a great treat for your pup, so remember to always shop organic and read the label.
If your dog has ingested any of the above, call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center ASAP: 888-426-4435 (heads up: there is a fee).
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Kate Sheofsky hails from San Francisco, where she developed a love of writing, Giants baseball, and houses she can’t afford. She currently lives in Portland, OR, and works as a freelance writer and content strategist. When not typing away on her laptop, she enjoys tooling around the city with her two rescue pups searching for tasty food and sunny patios.