Let’s face it, dogs (especially puppies) will eat or chew on almost anything, especially if they think that it smells good. They can’t help but be curious, but as their owners, we can help keep them safe by watching them carefully, closing or locking cabinets, keeping our house clean, and taking action when they’re about to do something they shouldn’t. No matter how much your dog begs for these foods, do NOT give them even a little bit, because it could either get them very sick or kill them. If they somehow manage to eat these foods, then either call or bring your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Chocolate is the most common food that people know to avoid giving your dog. Chocolate intoxication is mostly seen near the holidays, especially around Halloween, Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. Never give them any products that contain chocolate, even if it’s just a small amount! The compounds in chocolate that cause toxicosis are caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines. Symptoms from ingesting chocolate can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, to seizures and death.
Onions and Garlic
Anything that comes from the onion family (onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, etc.) contains compounds that can cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells if ingested in large quantities. Be more careful with garlic since it is more toxic than onions. Though your dog will have to eat a few onions or garlic to get seriously ill, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of toxicosis. The damage to the red blood cells caused by onions and garlic usually goes unnoticed until three to five days after a dog eats them. Affected dogs may become weak and tired. Their urine may be orange-tinged to dark red in color.
When raw dough is swallowed, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach may be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall, resulting in the death of tissue. Additionally, the expanding stomach may press on the diaphragm, resulting in breathing difficulty. As the yeast multiplies, it produces alcohol that can be absorbed, resulting in alcohol intoxication. Yes, your dog can get intoxicated by ingesting bread dough. Signs that your dog may have swallowed bread dough include a swollen abdomen, lack of coordination, disorientation, in and out of consciousness, and vomiting. In extreme cases, coma or seizures may occur that could lead to death from alcohol intoxication.
Alcohol ties into the previous food listed. Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than the lightweight that we all know and make fun of. Even ingesting a small amount of alcohol can cause intoxication. Dogs may be exposed to alcohol through consuming alcoholic drinks, alcohol-containing elixirs and syrups, and raw yeast bread dough. Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, and disorientation just like we do when we’re drunk. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur.
In addition, hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs that have ingested them. Both fresh and cooked hops have been known to poison dogs. Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature, which results in damage to multiple organs. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures.
Anything with caffeine, such as tea, coffee, soda, and energy drinks can be fatal to your dog. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. Some caffeine is also used in some cold medicines and pain killers, so be careful where you leave your drinks and medicine!
Dairy might not seem that dangerous since you would think that it’s natural, but it’s not safe for your dog’s consumption. Just like a lactose intolerance person, dogs that consume a bit of dairy can get diarrhea, an upset stomach, and a skin rash. This does not mean that you can give them Pepto-Bismol to relieve their symptoms!
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs can eat these fruits without getting sick while others become very sick. Until the cause of the toxicosis is known, the safest way to avoid getting your dog sick is by not giving them either grapes or raisins. After ingestion, usually within 12 hours, symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, or diarrhea.
Avocados contain persin, which is a fungus found in avocados. Varieties of avocado can have different levels of toxicity. In some dogs, mild stomach upset may occur if they eat a significant amount of avocados. Ingestion of the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which requires urgent veterinary care. Avocado is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit, so be careful which pet food you choose to buy!
Moldy or Expired Foods
Would you want to eat moldy food? I personally wouldn’t, so let’s not give them to our dogs! Some molds that are found in expired foods (and road kill) can produce toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins. The signs of tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to very coarse full body tremors and convulsions that can lead to death.
It is worth mentioning that there are a lot of other foods out there that your dog shouldn’t get its paws on. This includes peaches, plums, persimmons, bones, fat trimmings, candy, gum, raw eggs, certain uncooked meat and fish, salty, and fried foods. You shouldn’t give anything to your dog that isn’t cooked (it might have bacteria on it), can’t be digested properly, could cause an obstruction in their GI tract, or something high in sugar. However, it is worth mentioning that some pet owners give their dog’s raw meat, and they never see their dog’s get sick due to digesting uncooked meat.
If your dog consumes something that they shouldn’t, then you should call your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, or you can call the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) animal poison control center at 1-888-426-4435.
Let’s Hear From You!
Can you think of another type of food that dogs shouldn’t eat? What do you think is the most dangerous food for dogs? Have you had a dog that constantly ate everything around you? What did you do to stop them from eating foods they shouldn’t eat? Have you seen a dog get sick off something? If so, then what did you do to help them?