Food and plants and household items, oh my! When it comes to dogs, there are plenty of ways for them to get into trouble – and sometimes with dangerous results. As their human companions, knowing about foods not safe for dogs and what not to feed your dog can help keep them safe and healthy.
Which Human Foods Are Not Safe for Dogs?
If you’re like many dog owners, it’s hard to resist slipping your furry friend a bite or two of what you’re eating. With some foods, this isn’t problematic. In fact, vets often recommend human foods such as sweet potato, rice, and boiled, boneless/skinless white meat chicken for dogs that have sensitive stomachs or that are trying to lose weight.
Some other people foods aren’t so healthy, however, and they can cause problems ranging from tummy troubles to serious distress. Here are various types of human food that should be kept away from dogs (or only fed in small amounts).
Long-held knowledge says that raw eggs are a good source of protein and can help give your dog a shiny coat. If you feed your dogs raw eggs, however, you should be aware of the potential risks. Raw eggs can carry salmonella – a disease that dogs can contract just like humans can. Feeding your dogs too many raw eggs can also cause a biotin deficiency. Most vets recommend cooking eggs before giving them to Fido, just to be safe.
While raw meat won’t necessarily make your dog sick, organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association have spoken out against feeding it to pets. Like raw eggs, raw meat carries the risk of pathogens that can make dogs and owners sick.
Onions, Garlic, and Chives
This trio makes up another dangerous group of foods for dogs. On the mild side, they can cause stomach upset, but they also have the potential to damage red blood cells and cause anemia. These three foods are also highly toxic to cats.
Dogs love scarfing down a piece of cheese or lapping up a bit of milk, and in small amounts, these kinds of dairy treats are ok. Problems arise when they eat or drink large amounts of dairy. This can cause stomach problems in lactose intolerant dogs. High fat cheeses or milk can also cause pancreatitis in dogs that are prone to attacks. Ice cream is never a good doggie treat, as it’s very high in sugar.
Nuts can be confusing to sort out because certain ones (like cashews and peanuts) are safe for canines while others can be toxic. The kind of nuts to keep away from your furry friend include macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans. They contain toxins that can make dogs very sick, and symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea, loss of coordination, increased body temperatures, and lethargy. They can also impact the nervous system.
Yeast dough makes a tempting target for a dog, especially when it’s left on a counter unattended. Should Fido manage to snatch the dough and eat it, he can get deathly ill. The dough can expand within a dog’s stomach, ferment and cause alcohol poisoning, or cause bloat and a potentially deadly twisting of the stomach.
Grapes and Raisins
Experts aren’t exactly sure what chemicals in grapes and raisins cause them to be toxic to dogs; they only know that they can cause kidney failure. Because of this, it’s always best to avoid feeding them to your dog in any amount.
Even in small amounts, chocolate is extremely bad for dogs. A little bit of chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In larger amounts, chocolate can elevate a dog’s heart rate, cause tremors, seizures, and even death. Levels of chocolate poisoning depend on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate (with cocoa powder and darker chocolates being more toxic than milk chocolate). Because of this, it’s best to keep chocolate away from dogs.
An artificial sweetener that tops many lists of what not to feed your dog, xylitol is particularly dangerous because it’s included in so many different products. You’ll find it in some baked goods, gum, candy, as well as toothpaste. It can cause a loss of coordination, lethargy, a dangerous drop in blood sugar, seizure, and liver failure.
Avocado is another human food that can be given to dogs in very small amounts. It does contain a chemical called persin that’s not good for dogs in large amounts, so be careful! Symptoms of consuming too much avocado include vomiting and diarrhea.
Which Plants Are Toxic to Pets?
While they aren’t necessarily foods, your dog may view certain plants as food and try to have a taste. Here are the most dangerous poisonous plants to keep out of reach of your pup.
Every part of the sago palm is poisonous, from the leaves to the nuts. Sago palm nuts are especially toxic, however, and it’s easy for a dog to pick one up and swallow it before an owner can stop them. Sago palms contain a chemical called cycasin that can cause liver failure, so avoid planting them in your yard if you have dogs that roam there.
Another plant that’s commonly found in yards everywhere, azaleas can also be dangerous to curious dogs. If a dog chews on the plant, it can irritate their mouth and cause diarrhea and vomiting. When a dog consumes azaleas, the plant can create a drop in blood pressure, coma, and death.
Another popular flowering plant, oleanders can also spell trouble for Fido. When eaten, they can cause fatal heart issues, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, and stomach upset.
Tulip bulbs are especially poisonous to dogs, which means that dog owners must be careful to prevent their pets from digging them up and eating them. The entire plant is toxic, however, so plant and display them well away from your dog.
Which Essential Oils Are Toxic to Pets?
A final non-food item that can be toxic to your pets if ingested are essential oils. While some people use essential oils on their dogs, many veterinarians recommend keeping them away from pets entirely. If you do use essential oils on your canine, keep in mind that the following are particularly dangerous for dogs:
- Sweet birch
- Tea tree (melaleuca)
- Ylang ylang
Essential oil poisoning in dogs can cause drooling, fatigue, difficulty breathing and walking, muscle tremors, and vomiting, among other symptoms.
While it’s not always possible to keep your dog from ingesting dangerous items, knowing what items and foods are not safe for dogs is half the battle when it comes to keeping them healthy and happy!