We love our dogs. They are a part of our family. They work their way into our hearts, and tug at our heartstrings when they want something — especially when they want what we are eating. It can seem almost impossible to resist the pathetic looks our dogs give us when they're begging for food. After all, most dogs will eat almost anything, and they never seem to be full. But as responsible pet owners, we owe it to them to know what is safe for dogs to eat, and what could make them sick. And, we need to limit the amount they eat to prevent obesity and other health concerns.
It's also important to know which human foods are safe for dogs. There's a vast spectrum — some foods are actually good for them, some are okay in moderation, and there are also foods that are safe for humans but toxic to dogs. Poisonous foods should never be given as treats and instead should always be stored out of reach or your pet, and never left out on a counter or table where a curious pup could get a hold of them.
While some of these toxic foods might cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, others can cause issues with a dog's nervous, circulatory, muscular, cardiovascular, or respiratory systems, and, in severe cases, can lead to death if untreated. So, this is serious stuff, and you shouldn't take it lightly. Consider how available all of these foods could be to your dog, and make sure you do right by your dog by keeping them far, far away from your your pet's reach. In addition, make sure anyone who comes in contact with your dog knows what your dog can not eat. This applies especially to small children who might want to share with your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? Absolutely Not!
Chocolate is the human food most commonly responsible for pet food poisoning. All chocolates are toxic to dogs, that means milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and anything containing cocoa should be kept away from dogs. Symptoms of poisoning will occur in two to four hours. They may include restlessness, thirst, vomiting, and incontinence. Because the compounds in chocolate can effect their nervous system as well as their heart, they might also appear excited or have a rapid heart rate. Immediate treatment is essential for recovery. Sadly, delayed or no treatment can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
Can Dogs Eat Xylitol? Definitely Not!
This sweetener is very toxic to dogs and it is becoming more popular for human consumption. It may be found in gum, sugar-free candies, toothpaste, mouthwash, gummy vitamins, and other sugar-free foods, as well as some over-the-counter medications. So be sure to look for it in list of ingredients on anything you might feed your dog, including peanut butter. The symptoms for xylitol poisoning in dogs appear within 10-60 minutes. Because xylitol is absorbed so quickly, the dog's body releases too much insulin into the bloodstream, causing a dramatic drop in blood sugar level, which, untreated, can lead to seizures, liver failure, and in some cases death.
Can Dogs Eat Caffeine? Never, Ever!
It's very simple: Never give your dog anything with caffeine — it can be fatal. This includes coffee grounds and used tea bags. Keep anything with caffeine far from your dog's potential reach. Symptoms may appear within one to two hours of ingesting, and can include mild to severe hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, as well as abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, fever, seizures, and collapse. Seek treatment for your pet immediately if you think they've ingested caffeine.
Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts? No Way
Macadamia nuts are another food which can make your dog seriously ill. Although they have not been linked to death in dogs, they can make them very sick, with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, fever and inability to walk. These symptoms may develop within 12 hours of eating this nut. So keep these treats for yourself, and well out of reach of your pup.
Can Dogs Eat Grapes? Certainly Not!
Grapes and their cousins — raisins, currants and sultanas — are all potentially toxic to dogs. Look out for raisins in a variety of foods such as trail mix, snack bars, and baked goods. It is not fully know why grapes are toxic to some dogs, since some dogs reportedly experience no symptoms from eating them. But why would you take a chance with your fur-baby, since they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy. In the most severe cases, eating grapes or raisins has caused kidney failure in dogs. It's best to consider grapes as a toxin and keep them away from your beloved pet.
Hops are used to brew beer. Now that home brewing has become more popular, some people are even growing their own hops. So, dog owners need to be aware that hops are toxic to dogs. All parts of the plant are poisonous to dogs, but they may not be very appetizing anyway due to the bitter flavor. Once the flowers have been boiled for brewing they are less bitter, and are therefore more likely to be consumed. Symptoms may appear quickly, the most common being elevated body temperature, heavy breathing, and restlessness. They may also experience abdominal pain and vomiting. Some dogs will have seizures and abnormal blood clotting. Death can occur in as little as six hours after ingesting, meaning immediate treatment is essential for recovery.
Can Dogs Eat Onions? Never
Any and all members of the onion family are toxic to dogs, including onions, garlic, shallots, chives, and scallions, whether raw or cooked. And, they are found in many of the foods we commonly eat, including soups, sandwiches, pizza, and tomato sauce — they may even be found in baby food! The compound in onions called thiosulphate can cause a dog's red blood cells to burst. The symptoms of poisoning can appear a day or several days after consumption, and vary depending on how much is ingested. Signs your dog has ingested onions include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Because the dog can develop anemia, they may show symptoms such as weakness, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, and reddish or brown urine. Partial paralysis and muscle weakness are symptoms of onion poisoning too.
Just say no when it comes to giving alcohol to your dog. You or someone you know might think it's funny to give a dog some booze, but alcohol poisoning in dogs is real. It can come from beer, wine, or a cocktail, but it can also be a result of ingesting rotten apples, uncooked bread, or uncooked pizza dough. Symptoms occur quickly, and can include vomiting or nausea and dizziness. They may also experience excessive thirst and urinating. The more they ingest and the smaller the dog, they also might experience muscle tremors, paralysis, difficulty breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
Nutmeg should not be given to dogs. It can cause severe stomach upset and can agitate their nervous system too. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound that is very toxic to dogs. While a large dog would probably not ingest enough to make them terminally ill, if you have a small dog, even a seemingly small amount of this spice could be enough to make them very ill.
Can Dogs Eat Salt? It's A No-No
Your dog might think your chips and pretzels look delicious, but they are very high in salt. And your dog is probably smaller than you, so consuming these salty foods could actually harm your dog. Not only can too much salt make your dog thirsty, it can lead to sodium ion poisoning in the most severe cases. So, keep salty treats away, no matter how much they beg.
Can Dogs Eat Bones? Probably Not
Contrary to what you might think, it's not a good idea to give your dog bones, raw or cooked. Poultry, pork, and cooked bones are a definite no. If you do give your dog raw beef bones, do so only under supervision, and make sure the bone is large enough your dog can't swallow it whole. Limit the length of time the dog has the bone and once they start to break it down and can potentially swallow large chunks, take it away. Swallowing big pieces can cause choking or intestinal blockages. Like anything, use common sense and err on the side of caution.