With the Holiday Season upon us, there may be more than the usual temptations in the kitchen ready to entice even the best dogs into raiding the trash, or surfing the counter tops. It’s important to understand that foods that have no effect on us humans can be poisonous to dogs. Some of the most commonly used ingredients can have adverse effects on your dog’s health so make sure you know what they are early on when you introduce a furry friend to your family.
Chocolate – This is probably one of the most common food items that pet owners are familiar with as harmful to their pets. And from Halloween through the New Year there’s probably a higher concentration of these delights in the home. Large amounts of cocoa can kill your dog, due to the theobromine in the chocolate. The darker the chocolate the heavier the concentration of this component.
Xylitol – This artificial sweetener can be present in gum, candy, toothpaste, and even some peanut butters as well as other processed foods. This substance is extremely toxic to dogs and even small amounts can cause seizures, liver failure, or death. It’s important to check the ingredients of packaged foods and keep them away from your pets.
Grapes (and raisins) – While it’s still a mystery as to what exactly the toxin is in this popular fruit, even small amounts of grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs, the fact remains that some dogs experience kidney damage and even kidney failure. The reasons why some dogs are affected and others are not, is a topic of research.
Garlic, Onion, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Leaks – With soup season warming up, these are so common in cooking, and easy for a dog to get into when browsing through your trash. More than .5% of your dog’s body weight (Cats are even more sensitive) can be toxic to your dog. It can cause anemia, pale mucus membranes, and weakness.
Coffee, Tea, Coffee Grounds, and Tea Bags – The caffeine present in these substances is toxic to dogs and is a cousin chemical to the toxicity found in chocolate. Even 1-2 diet pills can easily cause death to small dogs and cats. It’s important to keep all these away from your fur babies.
Salt – Another common component we use every day in our foods can be harmful to dogs in large quantities. Too much salt can cause sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.
Walnuts – While it’s best to stay away from all nuts because of their fatty content. Black walnuts native to the Northeastern US and Canada are especially toxic to dogs and horses. Old walnuts from a tree can cause dogs to develop tremors and seizures from walnut hulls that are moldy and contain penitrem A.
Macadamia Nuts – These are also a toxic nut that your dog should stay away from also causing tremors, lethargy and hyperthermia.
Alcohol – Tis’ the season to be merry, and that can come with alcohol. A dog’s liver is much more sensitive than our livers, and thus the effects of alcohol can be much more severe
Apple Seeds, Apricot Pits, Cherry Pits, Plum Pits, and Peach Pits – These fruits themselves are not harmful to dogs, though too much natural occurring sugar, as is found in fruit, can cause weight gain in your pet. It’s the seeds and pits you need to stay away from. With the pits, there are obvious dangers such as choking hazards and bowel blockage. But there is also poison contained in these seeds and pits. Amygdlin, which is a form of cyanide is found in the seeds and pits, and in large quantities can cause acute poisoning, or in small amounts over time, your dog can suffer from chronic poisoning. Cyanide prevents the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body.
The leaves and stems of many vegetables in large quantities such as potato, rhubarb, tomatoes, peaches, peppers, and others. For more information check out the Solanaceae family. These plants contain Solanine which can cause sever gastrointestinal distress.
There are lots of foods that are actually beneficial to your dogs. When in doubt it’s best to research whether something is going to be helpful or harmful to your dog. We hope this list is helpful.