Toxic Foods For Dogs
Dogs maintain quite a reputation for being able to eat anything. You may have seen your pup eat anything from trash he dug out of the dumpster to pieces of his own poop if you left it in the yard for too long. However, dogs actually CAN’T eat anything and everything. There are certain foods that are genuinely toxic for dogs and could easily cause serious health issues or death when eaten by your pet. Keep an eye out for these toxic foods and make sure to keep them as far away as possible from your dog. That way, you can ensure your dog’s health and safety throughout their lifetime as your pet.
The Most Common Toxic Foods For Dogs
Here is a list of some of the most common toxins that you should watch out for when it comes to protecting your dog.
- Balsam pears
- Blue cheese
- Cat foods
- Coffee grounds
- Fatty, fried foods
- Green potatoes and potato leaves or stems
- Household products
- Human medications
- Macadamia nuts
- Milk products
- Mushrooms (of a toxic variety)
- Popcorn and other salty snacks
- Raw meat
- Rhubarb leaves
- Tomato leaves and stems
- Yeasted Dough
Why Are Certain Foods Toxic For Dogs?
It’s a pretty extensive list, so after looking over the list of toxic foods for dogs, you may be wondering why these things are harmful to your pet’s body. While some things, like human medicines and household products, may be obvious, others may not make a lot of sense at first.
There are a variety of reasons that foods are toxic to dogs, but let’s take a look at some basic rules about your dog’s diet that can help you understand a little better.
Alliums such as onions, chives, garlic, and any foods flavored with such items can cause a disorder in dogs called hemolytic anemia. This disorder can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause symptoms such as fatigue, listlessness, disorientation, a rapid heart rate, and pale gums.
Vomiting, jaundice, and dark urine can also be symptoms of hemolytic anemia, especially as the disorder progresses. This illness can be fatal, so it’s important to keep your dog away from these foods and get them to the vet if they start showing any symptoms and you suspect they’ve eaten something that includes onion, chives, or garlic.
Certain fruits, such as grapes, raisins, and currants, can cause kidney failure in some dogs, according to the FDA. Other fruits such as apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, and persimmons have pits and seeds that include small amounts of cyanide, which can be harmful to your dog.
Rhubarb stalks are not inherently dangerous, but the leaves of a rhubarb plant can be fatal to dogs, so you probably want to avoid feeding them this plant. Tomato and potato plants are also part of the nightshade family and can be toxic to your dog as well.
Lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits have chemical compounds and essential oils that will likely make your dog sick, so it’s best to avoid feeding them citrus. Fruits that dogs may enjoy include bananas, apples, and some berries.
In some respects, dogs are not all that different than humans. If your dog eats too many fatty foods, rather than just feeling sick like a human, they may get pancreatitis from the inflammation caused in the pancreas.
This illness can lead to severe vomiting, dehydration, and even death, so keep an abundance of fatty foods away from your dog. Don’t try and make up for it by offering the “healthy” fat of an avocado, either, because avocados contain a toxin called persin that can be incredibly fatal to dogs.
Macadamia nuts are probably the most well-known as being dangerous for dogs, but, really, dogs don’t do well with most nuts. Macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and acorns are all difficult for dogs to digest and contain compounds that could cause illness or death if consumed in large amounts.
Just as you wouldn’t eat raw meat yourself, you don’t want to feed it to your dog. Bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli could be present in any type of raw meat, and while dogs might be less likely to get sick from such parasites, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
While your dog can eat salt in moderation, most likely they’re getting plenty from their dog food. Too much salt can cause dehydration and hypernatremia, which can lead to a dog’s muscles and tissues losing liquid and failing.
While a salty snack here and there won’t hurt, don’t allow your dog to regularly eat chips, pretzels, popcorn, or other salty treats that you and your family may consume.
Yeast is highly toxic to dogs. Yeast can rapidly rise in a dog’s stomach, causing severe bloating. It can also cause alcohol poisoning as it produces ethanol. Don’t allow your pet to go anywhere near yeasted dough (or alcohol, for that matter) if you want to prevent severe health issues and even death.
In most cases, small amounts of dairy won’t hurt your dog. However, some dogs are actually lactose intolerant, and eating dairy products can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
In addition, dairy products are generally high in fat, and too much fat can lead to pancreatitis, weight gain, and other health issues for dogs. That’s why it’s not the best idea to feed your dog much dairy.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in tons of human products, from mouthwash and face care products to protein bars and gum. Because it is lower calorie and not technically real sugar, humans may consider it “healthy.” But to dogs, xylitol can be fatal.
When ingested, xylitol causes a dog’s pancreas to increase insulin production and leads to a severe drop in blood sugar. If you notice your dog is acting lethargic, weak, and sick to their stomach or is exhibiting symptoms like seizures and pale gums, it’s likely that they are suffering from xylitol poisoning.
Chocolate and Coffee
Chocolate and coffee are both dangerous to dogs. Both contain caffeine, which can cause an elevated heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, high blood pressure, and severe agitation in dogs.
While very tiny amounts of these substances won’t hurt, if your dog gets into a bag of chocolate, the jar of coffee grounds/beans, or a cup of coffee, they will likely need immediate medical attention.
Protecting Your Dog From Toxic Foods
When you read a list like this, it can be a bit overwhelming. But it’s really not too hard to protect your dog from toxic foods. A few good ways to keep them safe include:
- Feed them a well-balanced, satisfying diet
- Keep foods around your house put away as much as possible
- Lock up unsafe household products that contain xylitol or other chemicals
- Keep dangerous foods out of reach
- Feed your dog treats that are safe for them to help reduce the temptation to eat more
If you’re careful, you should be able to easily protect your pet from any toxic foods and keep them happy and healthy for many years to come.
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