Loving and caring for a furry four-legged friend means more than a life of snuggles and chew toys. Dog ownership comes with a level of responsibility that is reasonable and will inevitably keep veterinarian and hospital bills at the bare minimum. That includes guarding what your four-legged friend eats.
Most dog owners have at least a vague idea of common culprits, but knowing exactly why you should not allow Fido to slurp up that spilled Starbucks beverage means a better future for both of you. What follows is a list of foods listed alphabetically that are not harmful to humans but could land both of you in a very expensive health crisis when ingested by your pet.
NO. 1: ALCOHOL
Dogs metabolize alcohol differently than humans, making even a tiny amount of beer potentially toxic to them. The American Kennel Club warns that ingredients like xylitol, chocolate, coffee and spices commonly found in alcoholic beverages compound the dangers.
NO. 2: AVOCADOS
Beyond the pit’s potential choking hazard, avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin. While small amounts are generally not a problem, the high fat content can lead to health problems. It’s best to avoid avocados in your dog’s diet.
NO. 3: CANDY
Sugary and high-fat candy can be harmful to dogs. Treats containing xylitol or chocolate can be particularly dangerous, potentially leading to serious health issues or even fatal outcomes.
NO. 4: CHOCOLATE
The presence of theobromine and caffeine makes chocolate toxic to dogs. The Merck Veterinary Manual emphasizes that the type and amount of chocolate ingested determine the severity of the reaction, ranging from mild to life-threatening.
NO. 5: COFFEE
Caffeine affects dogs more intensely than humans. An overdose of caffeine can lead to hospitalization or, in extreme cases, prove fatal, causing rapid or irregular heartbeats.
NO. 6: DAIRY PRODUCTS
Lactose intolerance is widespread among dogs, making dairy products a source of food intolerance. While small amounts may be tolerable for some dogs, why take the risk? You’ll be better safe than sorry when you avoid feeding your dog any dairy.
NO. 7: FATTY FOODS
Consistently feeding dogs foods high in fat can lead to pancreatitis. The American Kennel Club notes a surge in cases around holidays like Thanksgiving, attributing it to fatty food scraps.
NO. 8: GARLIC, ONIONS, LEEKS
These vegetables contain compounds like n-propyl disulfides and thiosulfates, which can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to poisoning and potential fatality. It’s crucial to be aware of these ingredients’ presence in raw and cooked foods.
NO. 9: GRAPES
Even small amounts of grapes or grape products can induce kidney failure in dogs. WebMD advises pet owners to avoid grape-related products, including raisins and juice.
NO. 10: NUTS
While some nuts, such as peanuts, are safe in moderation, others, such as macadamia nuts, can cause vomiting, tremors and increased body temperature. The American Kennel Club emphasizes that all nuts pose a choking hazard and can contribute to weight gain and pancreatic issues.
NO. 11: RAW BREAD DOUGH
The uncooked yeasted dough can continue to ferment in a dog’s stomach, leading to alcohol poisoning and aspiration. Immediate veterinary attention is required to address these potentially life-threatening complications.
NO. 12: STONE FRUITS
While fruits like peaches and nectarines aren’t toxic, their pits present a choking hazard and contain a compound that turns into cyanide when digested. Opting for safer fruits like apples, bananas and blueberries is advisable.
NO. 13: TEA
Like coffee, tea contains caffeine, which can raise a dog’s blood pressure and cause heart arrhythmias and seizures. VCA Animal Hospital underscores the need to keep dogs from caffeinated beverages.
NO. 14: XYLITOL
The famous sugar substitute xylitol, found in various sugar-free products, can lead to a rapid and life-threatening release of insulin in dogs. Given its potency, keeping dogs away from items like gum, mints, desserts, vitamins, cough syrup and toothpaste that may contain xylitol is crucial.
Being vigilant about what your dog consumes is a cornerstone of responsible pet ownership, contributing to their overall health and longevity. Prompt action is crucial if you suspect your dog has ingested any of these harmful substances. Contacting your local vet, an emergency clinic or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 can provide timely guidance and help mitigate potential health complications or fatalities.