As pet owners, who among us can honestly say we’ve never fed our dog a food scrap from our dinner plate? (Let’s leave aside for a moment whether you should feed your dog from your dinner plate – particularly in front of a loved one who may have spent hours in the kitchen preparing a delectable feast.)
The odd bite every so often isn’t typically going to pose a significant problem for your dog’s overall health, but there are certain foods which are highly toxic for canines even though they are completely safe for humans. In this article, we’ll cover the main food items that your dog should not – under any circumstances – consume.
Garlic and Onions
Some humans avoid garlic for the effect it has on their breath; all dogs must avoid garlic for their effect it has on their immune system.
Garlic belongs to the allium family, which also includes onions, leeks and chives. Alliums contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. The consumption of any of the foods in the allium family can cause red blood cell damage in dogs, which in turn can result in hemolytic anemia (this occurs when a dog’s immune system creates antibodies which attack and destroy the red blood cells).
Even a small amount of garlic can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues for your dog.
Can my dog eat garlic bread?
Your dog will probably notice the aroma of garlic bread drifting through your home (who wouldn’t?), but your dog should not eat it. Aside from the obvious risks we’ve already covered, garlic bread usually contains copious amounts of butter, oil and cheese which have no nutritional benefit for your pooch.
Many sugar-free products contain xylitol, with health practitioners emphasizing the benefits for humans. There are no benefits for your dog, however.
Humans and dogs process xylitol in different ways. In humans, xylitol causes little increase in insulin release or blood sugar levels, but for dogs, the opposite is true. It causes a sharp rise in your dog’s insulin release and a drop in its blood sugar. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs – at its most minor, the consumption of xylitol will cause weakness or trembling, but xylitol can quickly result in total liver failure and death.
The xylitol level considered to be toxic to your is 0.1 gram per kg of your dog’s body weight.
Which products contain xylitol?
Common products which include xylitol include toothpaste, chewing gum, peanut butter, fruit drinks, and many sugar-free products. Before feeding anything to your dog, check if it contains xylitol or if it is labelled as “artificially sweetened” – the latter means there is a very good chance it contains xylitol.
Grapes are a handy, bite-sized snack for humans, and it would be easy to consider throwing a couple from the bag to your dog – but you shouldn’t.
This is a topic where the research doesn’t tell us why grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs. Whilst scientists have yet to discover the exact substance causing the adverse reaction, we do know that consumption can cause vomiting, diarrhea and in the worst-case scenario, acute kidney failure.
It isn’t yet known how much or how little is toxic for your dog, so the advice is to keep them away from grape-derived products altogether.
Are other fruits poisonous to dogs?
Cherries are also known to be bad for dogs, and citrus fruits such as lemons and limes may cause an upset stomach. Most other fruits should be fine for your dog, but they need to be rinsed and have seeds and pits removed. Be certain to check individual fruits specifically prior to feeding.
Humans may choose to reward themselves with a bar of chocolate after a job well done, or enjoy the endorphin releasing effects of dark chocolate after a romantic breakup, but a dog should never receive a similar treat.
Many dog owners have probably heard of the serious dangers that chocolate poses to to their canine companions. The primary toxic component is theobromine, which dogs are unable to metabolize. Consuming chocolate can result in your dog suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst, and an increased heart rate. It can also cause cardiac arrest in older dogs or those with pre-existing heart conditions.
Dark chocolate is likely to put your pooch at greater risk than milk chocolate, and smaller dogs can tolerate less chocolate than larger dogs. Consuming even small amounts of pure cocoa can quickly result in death.
Is caffeine harmful for dogs?
Chocolate also contains caffeine, which acts as an accelerant and a stimulant. For this reason, dogs should not consume coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks.
Usually found in baked goods or trail mix, macadamia nuts are recommended to humans to improve heart health – but your pooch needs to stay away from them.
As with grapes, researchers have yet to discover what makes this food so bad for dogs. However, even a small amount of macadamia consumption can cause symptoms of vomiting, weakness and even hypothermia – in some instances, consuming as little as 0.1 oz per two pounds of your dog’s body weight could prove harmful.
If a dog eats macadamia nuts, it is likely to become lethargic and show signs of weakness, although it should make a full recovery after a few days.
Are other nuts harmful to dogs?
According to PetMD, dogs can eat unsalted peanuts, almonds and cashews without any issues. Watch out for xylitol in some brands of peanut butter.
A photo of a dog with a glass of wine or beer may get you countless Likes and Shares on social media – but your dog definitely won’t enjoy the effects of alcohol as much as many humans do.
You probably already know your dog shouldn’t be drinking alcohol, but take special care if you brew your own wine and beer at home. We’ve already covered grapes and their toxicity, and one of the main ingredients in beer – hops – can induce sickness and diarrhea in dogs. If you brew your own wine or beer at home, keep it out of reach of your pets.
Can dogs get drunk?
In short, yes, but giving alcohol to your dog has serious consequences – they are smaller and are far more prone to alcohol poisoning – so getting a dog drunk is not funny, it can be deadly.
Dogs are incredible creatures who many people think of as their children, but their dietary requirements are different from our own human needs. If your dog isn’t eating properly, it could pose health issues and even lead to psychological problems which may require behavioral modification. Be sure to watch our video that lists the Top 10 harmful foods and drinks for your dog.
Avoiding all of the foods on this list is the absolute minimum a responsible dog owner should be doing. It is vital to monitor your dog’s food intake to ensure it is getting a balanced diet which is correct for its size and breed – this way, you are helping to optimize your dog’s physical health while ensuring that both you and your pooch are happy and living with peace of mind.