When it comes to looking after our dogs, we know that it is essential to provide them with the right food, keep their minds and bodies active, give them plenty of love and attention, and protect them from danger. The trouble is, a lot of those dangers can be found right at home, and many dogs have a nose for trouble. Most dog owners will be aware of the more common potential poisons on our list, but others might come as a surprise. Some of these may cause severe gastrointestinal upset, while others are deadly. ALL require immediate veterinary attention. To help you be the best dog parent you can be, I've put together a list of the most dangerous foods your dog should never eat.
Most dog owners will be aware of the more common potential poisons on our list, but others might come as a surprise. Some of these may cause severe gastrointestinal upset, while others are deadly. ALL require immediate veterinary attention. To help you be the best dog parent you can be, I've put together a list of the most dangerous foods your dog should never eat.
To help you be the best dog parent you can be, I've put together a list of the most dangerous foods your dog should never eat.
This artificial sweetener is most commonly found in sugar-free gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, peanut butter, protein shakes, and many other "sugar-free" foods. Xylitol is the worst of the bunch, as it can kill a dog in two ways.
We all (should) know that grapes of all varieties, including the dehydrated forms, are toxic to dogs. What we still don't fully understand is why. Recent studies suggest that the toxic component may be tartaric acid, which is also contained in Cream of Tartar and tamarinds, which are also toxic to dogs.
The other uncertainty of grape toxicity is the dose. A single grape has been known to cause renal failure, whereas some dogs have eaten a whole punnet (small basket used for fruits and vegetables) with no signs of ill-effects. This may be due to a genetic component, but it may also be to do with how resilient the kidneys are.
The kidneys can function at just 25% capacity. What this means is that 75% of both kidneys can be damaged, and there will be no clinical signs of damage, so owners may think that their dog has got away with no effects. However, we have a ticking time bomb. It could be months, even years later that the dog succumbs to kidney failure.
For a dog that already has some damage or a congenital problem with their kidneys, a single grape may be enough to tip them over the edge. The take home message? Don't let your dog eat grapes.
These delicious ingredients might make our meals more tasty, but they can be fatal for our dogs. Onions, garlic, and chives all contain a substance that causes a specific type of oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia.
The clinical signs of this anemia include weakness, collapse, rapid heart & respiratory rate, pale or jaundiced mucous membranes, even death. These signs may take several days to occur, by which point, there is already significant damage.
Arguably the most delicious item on our list, chocolate contains substances called Methylxanthines, which are toxic to our canine friends. These include Theobromine and Caffeine, which can cause potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias and central nervous system damage.
The toxicity of chocolate is very much dose dependent; the darker the chocolate, the more severe the effects. If your dog has eaten chocolate, it is always best to contact your vet or poisons hotline for advice, particularly if there are other ingredients involved. When dealing with plain chocolate, a chocolate toxicity calculator can be a useful tool.
As mentioned above, caffeine is a methylxanthine, which can cause agitation, hyperactivity, vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, arrhythmias, hyperthermia, seizures, collapse, even death. Although a few licks of some coffee or cola will unlikely have any effects, a teaspoon or two of coffee grounds could be fatal.
We know that macadamias are toxic to dogs, but the mechanism of that toxicity is currently unknown. Even small amounts of macadamia nuts can cause tremors, hyperthermia, inability to walk, muscle stiffness and spasms, even seizures. Although rarely fatal, the ingestion of large amounts of macadamias, or any nut, could also trigger pancreatitis.
Capsaicin is the chemical that makes chillies hot, and is found in all types of peppers, apart from (ironically) the capsicum! In milder cases, capsaicin can cause mouth irritation (drooling), gastrointestinal upset, with vomiting, diarrhea, and discomfort.
In more severe cases, with particularly strong chili varieties, your dog could be at risk of gastric ulceration, even perforation. Blood in your dog's vomit should always be treated as an emergency.
Most dogs will enjoy gnawing on a nice raw bone, and these can be great for their teeth, but you should never feed your dog cooked bones.
When cooked, bones become brittle, making them more likely to splinter and break. The sharp fragments can be a choking hazard, cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, or even perforate the walls of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
Although not strictly toxic, the seed or stone of these fruits are the perfect size and shape to become lodged in your dog's intestines, causing a dangerous obstruction. Because these stones can hang around in the stomach for some time, the signs of an intestinal blockage may not appear for at least 24 hours, sometimes even longer. Those signs include abdominal pain, inappetence, vomiting, not able to keep water down, and passing no, or a small amount of watery, feces.
Although not technically a stone fruit, the popular avocado is another fruit to consider.
The skin and leaves of the avocado contain high levels of the substance persin, which can be toxic, but the flesh of the fruit (the yummy part) has much lower levels, so toxicity is relatively uncommon in dogs. The stone in the center, however, poses a risk of obstruction, so these are best kept out of your dog's reach.
White potatoes belong to a family of plants called the Nightshades. This group contains some pretty deadly members, including Belladonna (deadly nightshade) and Hemlock. It also contains the tomato, eggplant (aubergine) and peppers.
The toxic substance in these plants is Solanine, and raw potatoes contain high levels of it, as do unripe tomatoes. Fortunately, your dog would need to eat quite a large amount of raw potatoes to suffer any toxic effects, and are more likely to suffer from an upset, painful tummy first.
We might be tempted to share our Sunday roast or BBQ sausages with our begging dogs, but these moments of weakness can have detrimental effects.
Not only can a lot of fatty foods lead to canine obesity, they can also trigger the condition known as pancreatitis. This is when the pancreas releases its digestive enzymes prematurely, resulting in the inflammation and digestion of the pancreas itself.
In mild cases, this can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, with most cases needing hospitalization to manage pain and fluid loss. Severe cases, where the pancreas suffers major damage, can be fatal.
Although not foods, these are some common household items that are also extremely dangerous if your dog were to ingest them; all of them requiring emergency veterinary treatment.
If your dog has eaten ANY of the above items, do not wait for them to show signs of toxicity. Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poisons Hotline immediately.
There are many foods and other items in our homes and gardens that can cause our dogs severe harm, or even be fatal, so it is always a good idea to be familiar with these potential hazards and restrict access to them.
Even the most careful dog owners may find themselves faced with a delinquent dog that manages to steal something they shouldn't, and when that happens, do not hesitate to call your vet - better a wasted phone call than losing precious, life saving time.