When it comes to safety and health, raising a dog is very much like raising a human baby - every decision depends on you.
An important decision is which foods to feed.
Keep in mind that not all foods and products commonly found in your refrigerator and kitchen shelves are dog-friendly.
In fact, some human foods can be toxic or poisonous to hounds, while others can wreak havoc on the dog’s sensitive digestive system.
Here is a list of human foods toxic to dogs, or otherwise dangerous.
In a hurry, here's the short list. Scroll down for details:
toxic or dangerous foods for dogs
- Grapes & raisins
- Coffee & tea
- Certain nuts (details in the article)
- Onion & Garlic
- Mushrooms (not all)
- Bread dough made with yeast
- Stone fruits' pits
- Unripe tomatoes
- Dairy products
- Corn & popcorn
- Raw, undercooked meat & eggs
Foods That Are Toxic Or Dangerous For Dogs
Listed on the top ten most dangerous human foods, avocados are a no-go for dogs. Avocado contains a fungicidal toxin called persin.
Persin is present in the avocado’s leaves, pit, and pulp, which means all parts of the avocado are toxic to dogs.
The consequences of ingesting persin depends on its dose. In smaller amounts, it causes gastrointestinal upset; in larger amounts, it triggers inflammation of the mammary gland, and in extreme amounts heart failure.
Grapes & raisins
Dog parents often wonder whether grapes are bad for dogs, or if they’re poisonous.
Well, the toxicity of grapes and raisins is puzzling. While some dogs can safely munch on these sugary fruits, for others, even one grape or raisin can be fatal. There is no scientific explanation for this peculiarity.
The working theory is that some dogs genetically lack the enzymes necessary for metabolizing grapes and raisins.
The toxicity is not affected by the dog’s age, size, or breed – only the individual genetic makeup.
In sensitive dogs, grapes and raisins can cause:
- appetite loss
- abdominal pain
- renal failure
Considering you cannot know whether your hound can metabolize grapes or raisins, it is advisable to stay on the safe side and never offer them to him.
It may sound like a punishment, but dogs must not eat chocolate.
Chocolate contains a group of chemicals known as methylxanthines, which, if ingested, cause:
Chocolate can cause
- decreased body pressure
- increased heart rate
- smooth muscle relaxation
Methylxanthines have the same effect on humans, but we can break them down faster. Consequently, they have no time to exert their adverse effects.
Dogs break them down slowly, thus giving their side-effects enough time to kick in.
Usually, darker and bitter chocolates contain more methylxanthines than milk and white chocolate varieties. Therefore, chocolate poisoning in dogs is more likely to occur because of eating darker varieties.
Coffee & Tea
Dogs must not drink coffee and tea for the same reason they cannot eat chocolate: the presence of methylxanthine chemicals. Having a lick or two from your cup is not much to be worried about.
However, eating few coffee grounds or beans, a tea-bag, or a diet pill containing caffeine is enough to cause intoxication in smaller dogs.
The general rule of the thumb is that dogs and nuts are not a good fit. Some nut types are incredibly toxic to dogs, while others are not directly toxic but too salty, too sugary, or simply unsuitable for dogs.
not toxic but rich in fat
TOXIC NUTS FOR DOGS
- Black walnuts
- Macadamia nuts
Pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and almonds are not poisonous but are rich in fats and, in the long-term, may cause pancreatitis.
All nuts have a high tendency to get moldy. Molds produce mycotoxins which have potentially life-threatening consequences.
On top of that, nuts pose a choking hazard (if inhaled) and can cause an intestinal blockage (if swallowed).
With nuts being covered, it is time to ask are acorns poisonous to dogs?
The answer is yes.
Generally, for a dog to experience the poisonous effect, it needs to consume around 6% of its body weight in acorns.
The acorns’ toxicity is because of its tannins content which causes gastrointestinal upset, or in extreme cases – life-threatening kidney disease.
Also, because of their size, acorns can cause choking or intestinal obstruction.
The medical term for acorn poisoning is Quercus poisoning, and it can also be caused by eating oak leaves.
Onions & Garlic
Garlic, onion, chives, and leeks, as members of the Allium family, are toxic to dogs.
This is because they contain N-propyl disulfide and thiosulphate substances, which damage the hemoglobin (the red blood cells’ component responsible for carrying oxygen).
As soon as the haemoglobin is damaged, the red blood cell ruptures and is removed from circulation.
If too many red blood cells are dysfunctional and removed from circulation, the dog develops anaemia.
Instead of anemia, if eaten in smaller amounts, the Allium family members cause digestive upsets manifested with:
Onion and garlic can cause
- temporary appetite loss
- abdominal pain
Lately, non-conventional canine nutritionists claim garlic is beneficial for dogs and recommend adding cooked garlic to the canine menu. The cooking is supposed to deactivate the toxic compound.
However, no scientific data is backing up this claim. Until future discoveries prove the opposite, all Allium members are classified as toxic to dogs.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many human food products, such as peanut butters, candies, juices, jams, and even chewing gums.
Sadly, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs.
In dogs, xylitol makes the blood sugar levels to drop suddenly and dramatically.
common signs of xylitol poisonin
- lack of coordination
If ingested in larger quantities, it can cause liver failure.
Some mushroom varieties (like the Portobello) are safe to dogs, while others (Amanita and Galerina species) are dangerous and may cause problems ranging from simple impaired digestion to something as hazardous as liver and kidney failure.
Another problem with mushrooms is their high allergen potential.
Keep in mind that these issues occur with store-bought mushrooms. It goes without saying that wild, picked mushrooms are always a risky business.
Just like humans, dogs are not immune to the alcohol’s intoxicating potential. The substance responsible for causing alcohol intoxication is ethanol.
A dog with alcohol poisoning will experience:
alcohol poisoning symptoms
- lack of coordination
- increased body temperature
- muscle tremors
In extreme cases, organ failures and death are possible.
Although most dogs are repelled by the alcoholic beverages’ smell, it might tempt them to drink if the particular drink is sweet.
Therefore, keep your liquor cabinet closed and out of dogs’ reach.
Just like bread dough made with yeast rises in the oven, it rises in the dog’s stomach. The surge can cause the dog’s stomach to bloat and eventually twist, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Things get worse if the bloat pressures the lungs and result in impaired breathing.
Additionally, yeast digestion is accompanied by ethanol production. Ethanol is the compound responsible for alcohol poisoning.
In simple words, eating yeast dough or warm, freshly baked bread will make a dog drunk.
All citrus plants are dangerous fruits for dogs because they contain a specific combination of citric acid and essential oils that together cause gastrointestinal irritation.
In higher amounts, they can also cause severe depression of the central nervous system.
All parts of the citrus are packed with citric acid and essential oils, including the fruit, seeds, peel, stem, and leaves.
With stone fruits (peaches, plums, persimmons, apricots, cherries), the actual fruits are not the problem. The problem is the stone fruit’s pit.
If swallowed whole, the pit can easily cause choking or block the intestines. Both scenarios are emergencies and can have fatal consequences.
Alternatively, if the dog chews on the pit, it can fracture her teeth. The pit shards can damage the oesophagus and stomach.
Finally, the pit contains cyanide, which is released into the body only if the pit is chewed or broken. Even small amounts of cyanide can be lethal.
Cyanide poisoning develops in just a few minutes and manifests with:
Cyanide poisoning in dogs
- impaired breathing
While ripe tomatoes are generally safe, their leafy parts, stems, and unripe tomatoes are toxic to dogs.
The tomato’s toxicity is derived from its chemical component: tomatine. Tomatine belongs to the group of solanine toxins that cause:
- digestive upset
- heart issues
- muscle weakness
Separating the tomato’s toxic from non-toxic parts is challenging, so tomatoes are generally classified as dangerous to dogs.
Milk and milk products are not suitable for dogs.
They are not toxic, but they are related to several risks.
Firstly, dogs don’t have enough lactase: the enzyme necessary for digesting the milk’s sugar called lactose. If the lactose is not digested correctly, it causes severe bouts of diarrhea.
Secondly, many dogs are allergic to lactose and, once exposed, develop skin rashes and secondary issues triggered by excessive scratching.
Finally, milk and most milk products are high in fat and salt.
There is a popular misconception that cranberries are beneficial for dogs with stubborn, recurring urinary infections.
While this concept is true for humans, there is no scientific data claiming the same effect in dogs.
On the contrary, if eaten in larger amounts, cranberries promote the formation of certain types of bladder stones.
What is more, cranberries are hard to digest and often cause digestive upsets. Dried cranberries are also not recommended because of their high sugar content.
Unlike most leafy greens, celery is not safe for dogs. The celery’s danger stems from its stringy texture and chewy consistency.
Even these features would not be an issue if dogs took their time and slowly munched on celery.
However, since most dogs are voracious eaters and gulp down food, the stringy celery can easily end up in the wrong pipe (windpipe) and be a choking hazard.
Even if the celery goes down the right pipe (esophagus), its strings can curl up and block the intestines.
Corn & popcorn
Corn is not just a popular cereal for humans. Because of its low price, it is a frequent ingredient in most commercially available dog food formulas.
However, the corn used in these foods is processed and then pulverized.
Unlike the processed and pulverized version, raw and cooked corn is hard to digest. If you give your dog corn, chances are it will come through the other way looking the same.
Plus, the cob poses a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.
Finally, the popcorn’s kernels can get between the teeth or scrape the gums, causing pain and discomfort.
If you think bones and dogs go along, think again!
Contrary to popular belief, bones are not a natural food choice for dogs, at least not for modern dogs.
Bones are prone to splintering, and the shards can easily cause severe internal damages. If inhaled, the fragments pose a choking risk.
The danger level depends on the preparation method and type of bone.
Usually, raw bones are less likely to splinter than cooked bones, but they carry an infection risk as they can contain potentially harmful bacteria.
Besides posing internal damage and choking hazards, table scrap bones contain too many fats and are heavily spices, which are also dangerous.
Finally, the bone’s splintering depends on the type. For example, chicken and turkey bones almost always splinter, while beef bones are tougher and more challenging to splinter.
However, accidents can happen with all types of bones.
Raw or Undercooked Meat & Eggs
Raw and undercooked meats and eggs can contain many potentially harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.
Although dogs are more resistant to these bacteria than humans, the risk is still present.
Raw eggs contain avidin – an enzyme that disables biotin (vitamin B7) absorption. The lack of biotin results in skin and coat issues.
Finally, unless well-cooked, the egg white is extremely tough to digest and likely to trigger a severe gastrointestinal upset.
Dogs must not eat spices and heavily spiced foods.
All spices hold the power to trigger serious gastrointestinal upset manifested with:
spices can cause
- appetite loss
In extreme cases, spices can cause stomach ulcers and make the dog produce bloody diarrhoea.
Some spices, like cinnamon, can cause mouth irritation or, if inhaled – coughing, sneezing, and even impaired breathing.
Some spices are actually toxic to dogs. For example, nutmeg contains a toxin known as myristicin.
Myristicin is toxic for both people and dogs, but dogs are more sensitive.
There is such a thing as salt poisoning. In fact, eating around 4 grams of salt per kilo of body weight is enough for dogs to experience this issue.
Overeating salt causes
- severe dehydration
- increased body temperature
Salt poisoning can occur by licking salt or, more frequently, by eating salty foods like pretzels, chips, and other heavily salted snacks.
According to many lists, the number one human food toxic to dogs is the avocado. Other foods include chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and alcoholic beverages.
Naturally, dogs are carnivores. The domestication process messed with their diets significantly.
The reason so many human foods are toxic to dogs is because dogs aren’t equipped to digest them.
There are many human foods that are dog-friendly. For example, dogs can safely eat lean, cooked and plain meats, rice and other grains, peas, carrots, pumpkin, cooked eggs, cooked and de-boned fish meat, and certain fruits.
However, just because these foods are not toxic, it doesn’t mean we can feed them without a limit.
Well, the answer to this question is a mystery. It is believed that some dogs lack the enzymes necessary for digesting grapes and this enzyme deficiency is what makes grapes poisonous to some dogs.
Yes, both acorns and oak leaves can cause a so-called Quercus poisoning.
Education and awareness are crucial when keeping your canine baby safe and healthy.
Most of the time, what your dog eats depends on you. Therefore, before adding a new item to your dog’s menu, check its safety. If unsure, talk to a vet or a licensed canine nutritionist.
However, it should be accented that no matter how much you try, you cannot control your dog’s environment at all times.
There are many foods poisonous to dogs and accidents happen. If that happens, reacting adequately and timely can be lifesaving. Therefore, keep your trusted vet’s number on speed dial.
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