Let’s face it, dogs absolutely love food and they are always trying to grab a bite of whatever their owners are eating! Whilst the occasional table scrap will not do them any harm, it is essential that owners are aware of the fact that some foods can be extremely toxic to dogs. Even if you refuse to give your dog leftover food, care must still be taken as there is always the possibility that they may sniff out some leftovers on the kitchen counter or in the trash can.
A mistake that many owners make with their dogs is to assume that they can handle ‘people food’ just fine. However, dogs have a metabolism and digestive system that differs greatly from humans, and foods that are delicious and nutritious to us may be seriously bad news for our four-legged friends. Whilst some foods may cause little more than mild digestive upset, there are other foods that can cause severe illnesses and sometimes lead to death. Below is a collection of some of the most common household foods that are toxic to dogs.
Raisins and Grapes
Most owners are unaware of the fact that both grapes and raisins are dangerous for dogs as they contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure and liver damage. The damage that these fruits can cause to the liver is irreversible and may result in death. Although the exact dosage will vary from dog to dog, just four to five grapes have the potential to be poisonous to a dog who weighs 20 pounds.
Symptoms – Abdominal pain, decreased urine production, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea and weakness in the legs that can cause difficulty walking.
Chives, Onions and Garlic
Dogs who consume chives, onions or garlic may suffer from the destruction of red blood cells. This is a form of hemolytic anemia that is known as Heinz Body Anemia. This reaction can be caused by chives, onion or garlic, whether cooked or raw. Powdered and dehydrated forms are also toxic to canines. Owners should make sure that their dog is kept away from these foods or any that use them as an ingredient, such as Spaghetti sauce.
Symptoms – Enhanced heart rate, vomiting, bloody urine, pale gums and lethargic behavior.
Perhaps one of the most well-known of foods that are toxic to dogs, chocolate in all of its forms contains theobromine. This is a compound that belongs to a group of chemicals that are otherwise known as methylxanthines. Dogs who consume chocolate can suffer from kidney failure, abnormal heartbeats and in the worst case scenario, death.
Symptoms – Vomiting, severe agitation, muscle tremors, seizures, high body temperature, restlessness, increased thirst and diarrhea.
In most cases, the consumption of macadamia nuts will not cause death in dogs, but it will cause them to become extremely ill. The toxin in the nuts that causes sickness is currently unknown. When dogs eat macadamia nuts, it will likely cause issues with movement, and may appear to be ‘drunk’ as they walk. Evidence of the toxicity will appear somewhere between 6 to 24 hours after consumption.
Symptoms – Difficulty walking, joint or muscle pain, lack of energy, weakness, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, abdominal pain and depressed behavior.
Uncooked bread dough that was prepared with live yeast is very dangerous when ingested by dogs. The moist, warm environment of the canine stomach provides the yeast with the perfect environment to expand and multiply. Depending on how much yeast is consumed, it can expand to the point at which it cuts off the blood flow to their stomach wall, which causes the death of the tissue. In addition, as the yeast is expanding it produces alcohols that will be absorbed by their stomach, which can lead to alcohol intoxication.
Symptoms – Lack of coordination, seizures, abdominal pain, vomiting and tremors.
Candy and Chewing Gum
Owners should do their best to make sure that all candy and chewing gum is kept far out of reach from their dogs. Most of these sugary treats are loaded with an ingredient that is known as xylitol, which can cause a number of health issues, including the over-release of insulin and kidney failure. Liver failure, which can be fatal, may also develop in dogs that consume large amounts of xylitol.
Symptoms – Tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and abdominal pain.
Cultivated hops that are used for the brewing of beer have been linked to several life-threatening illnesses in dogs that have consumed them. Whether cooked or raw, hops can poison dogs. In a number of cases, affected dogs developed an uncontrollably high body temperature- in some cases, higher than 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Unsurprisingly, this has severe negative repercussions for health and the severe increase in temperature can cause permanent damage as well as the failure of several of their organ systems.
Symptoms – Restlessness, excessive panting, seizures and muscle tremors.
Similar to the toxic chemicals that are found in chocolate, caffeine can do severe damage to a dog’s kidney, central nervous system, lungs and heart. Veterinarians have stated that a lethal dose of caffeine is about 70 mg per one pound of their body weight. Whilst your dog would have to consume a considerable amount of caffeine in order for it to cause death, even the smallest amounts can cause extreme abdominal discomfort as well as vomiting, irregular heart rhythm and high body temperature.
Symptoms – Hyperactive behaviors, vomiting, excessive excitement and restlessness. These can be followed by convulsions, joint weakness, muscle tremors and trouble walking.
If your dog is ever exposed to any of these toxic foods, it is important to act quickly. Take them to the veterinarian as soon as you realize they have consumed any of these potentially toxic foods so that they can receive proper treatment. Minutes count so do not hesitate contact your veterinarian.
If you are ever uncertain as to whether or not a food is safe for dogs, it is best to simply keep it away from them because in the end, it is much better to be safe than sorry!