Most of us know that dogs can’t eat chocolate or grapes, but are there other human foods that they should avoid? As a nod to National Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21), we’re looking at some common human foods that can be dangerous or potentially toxic to our canine companions.
It can be hard to say “no” to those pleading puppy eyes, but if you want to keep your dog healthy, you’ll need to keep him away from a number of ordinary kitchen staples.
Read on to discover which foods you may need to be more careful with around your dog.
1. Onions and garlic
While beloved by most home cooks, members of the onion family are off the table for dogs. Alliums like chives, leeks, onions, and garlic can severely damage your dog’s red blood cells. Even onion powder or juice can be dangerous. The most toxic of these plants is garlic, which can cause anemia in dogs. The AKC points out that symptoms of garlic or onion poisoning in dogs may be delayed, so it’s important to be extra vigilant if you suspect your dog may have helped himself to a little garlicky snack. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, stumbling, loss of appetite, and dark urine.
2. Raw bread dough
If you have an avid baker in your household, make sure Fido doesn’t have easy access to any raw bread dough. According to WebMD, if a dog consumes raw yeast dough, the gas that’s produced could yield some serious health complications. Keep any raw dough out of reach, as it can expand and essentially twist or tear your poor pup’s stomach.
If you suspect your dog has eaten raw dough, watch out for the following symptoms: a swollen belly, yelping when you touch his stomach, loss of appetite, or a dog who avoids lying down.
3. Macadamia nuts
While nuts may be nutritious and sustaining for us humans, for dogs it’s a much different story. The American Kennel Club warns pet owners of the dangers Macadamia nuts pose for our canine companions stating, “these are some of the most poisonous foods for dogs.” This nut can cause vomiting, a spike in temperature, lethargy, and most alarming—an inability to walk. The AKC also warns that Macadamia nuts can wreak havoc on a dog’s nervous system.
4. Ice cream
Ok. So maybe this one doesn’t exactly qualify as “surprising.” Nevertheless, ice cream warrants a place on this list. Because in the dog days of summer, nothing’s more tempting than a creamy, cold vanilla custard (or chocolate…we all have our favorites.) How can you not want to share a spoonful or two with your furry friend? It’s tough, I’ll be the first to admit. But, unfortunately, ice cream is a big no-no for dogs. All that sugar is no good for your pup.
Interested in an alternative? Refresh and reward your dog with some frozen fruits like berries or pineapples as a special treat. It will cool him down while satisfying his sweet tooth.
There’s nothing more familiar than a dog enjoying a bone. But experts warn: don’t give your dog leftover chicken bones from last night’s roast. Because they can easily break into sharp pieces, bones pose a serious risk for dogs. Keep your pooch safe from painful broken teeth, bloody mouth injuries, and esophageal or stomach problems. Besides, there’s plenty of safer alternatives out there to satiate even the most enthusiastic chewer. Give your dog a safe chew toy to satisfy his urge to gnaw.
6. Raw Fish
Sushi, anyone? We may love this Japanese delicacy, but our dogs—not so much. Or at least, not their stomachs. If your dog gets his paws on a raw salmon filet, he could be looking at some unpleasant side effects including vomiting, seizures, and in the worst case—death.
7. Artificial Sweeteners
Dog owners beware: the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can trigger a host of health complications for your dog. This sugar substitute, found in sugar-free gum, mints, candy, and even toothpaste, can mess with your dog’s blood sugar levels, and may even cause liver damage. If you think your dog may have ingested xylitol, monitor him for weakness, clumsiness, and seizures.
Your dog may be the life of the party, but she’s definitely unwelcome at the bar. Alcohol, no matter the amount, is super dangerous for your furry friend. Fortunately, most pets balk at the taste, but you should still practice caution by keeping open drinks out of your dog’s reach.
9. Apple cores
The fact is, apples are marvelously nutritious—and yummy—for your pup. They provide him with vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and phosphorus, and he’ll love the fruit’s sweetness and crunch.
It’s an apple’s core that’s the problem. For one thing, it’s a major choking hazard. And if your dog consumes too many of them, he could be at risk for cyanide poisoning, as the seeds contain small traces of the chemical. If you want to treat your dog to a healthy snack, stick with small apple slices and discard the core.
It’s not the skin or the pulp of an avocado that’s iffy for your dog. It’s the pit that’s off-limits. Your dog’s digestive system will have a hard time breaking it down, and there’s always the risk that it will become lodged in his intestines.
Snacking on too many avocados could also leave your pooch with a serious bellyache. This fruit contains a compound called persin, which can upset your dog’s stomach if eaten in large quantities.
Some dogs who are sensitive to the fruit can even develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), a condition that can be fatal. Play it safe and keep your avocados to yourself.
For most of us, caffeine is an essential part of our morning routine. But even though it gives you a boost of energy, it could send your dog’s heart into overdrive. Keep your beloved pets away from coffee, tea, soda, and caffeine pills.
Do you have a dog who scarfs down food without really chewing it? Mixing this behavior with almonds poses a serious choking hazard for dogs. While they’re not exactly poisonous like macadamia nuts, almonds can tear your dog’s windpipe if not chewed properly.
It may be a baking staple in your pantry, but cinnamon is an unwelcome guest in your dog’s digestive system. While not technically a toxic substance, cinnamon can irritate your dog’s mouth or cause vomiting or diarrhea.
14. Moldy Food
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but your dog shouldn’t be eating moldy food. The ASPCA instructs pet owners to watch for the following symptoms if their dog has gotten into something rotten: vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, and an elevated body temperature are all things to look out for. The easiest way to avoid this? Bolster your trash can’s security, and don’t let your dog roam, as he’s liable to come across some tempting trash bins.
Emergency vet visits are never fun, so exercise caution with food storage and disposal. It’s the easiest—and most effective—way to keep your dog safe.