For millions of dog owners, their pet is a beloved member of the family. Many owners welcome their dogs into bed, take them along on car rides, and share meals with them. And that’s where things can unexpectedly turn deadly. Some people think that just because they love chocolate, their beloved dog should share the joy, not realizing that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Some foods humans take for granted can be poisonous or even deadly to man’s best friend.
A couple of nuts are fine for dogs, while others can cause serious health issues. As a rule, a few raw and unsalted peanuts (shelled) and cashews are OK for your dog. Yet just like some people, dogs also suffer from nut allergies. Also, if you’re thinking about sharing a scoop of peanut butter, bear in mind that some brands contain a sweetener known as Xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs (see No. 5 below). Nuts to avoid include almonds, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts and walnuts. Some of these nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis. Some pose a choking hazard. Macadamia nuts are especially toxic, and can lead to several problems, including tremors and hyperthermia. Given the dangers posed by nuts, the American Kennel Club’s AKC.org notes, “a general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to dogs and human food is to avoid nuts entirely.”
5. Sugar-Free Gum and Diet Foods
These gums often contain the sweetener Xylitol. Humans have no problem metabolizing this substance, but in dogs it can create a surge in insulin, leading to dangerously low blood sugar levels. Liver damage is also possible. The same ingredient can be found in breath mints, diet foods, certain candies and even toothpaste.
There is plenty of conflicting information on this one. Part of that might stem from the fact that many people have shared videos showing them sharing beer with their dog, who laps it up like a frat boy and seems to be no worse off afterward. But the dog experts say dogs should avoid alcohol. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says, “Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.” According to the American Kennel Club, “Their kidneys — which are unaccustomed to alcohol — can’t easily filter the stuff; the consequences can range from weakened motor functions to more dangerous effects such as kidney failure, heart failure, or coma.”
3. Onions and Garlic
The culprit is a substance known as thiosulfate, which is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause damage to red blood cells, rapid breathing, lethargy and jaundice. Many dog lovers might scoff and think, “What dog owner would feed their dog an onion?” As the pet health website SimpleWag.com notes, “Many homemade dog treat recipes call for onion or garlic powder, and many other foods, such as potato chips may contain them too. Due to having a higher concentration, the powdered forms are especially dangerous.” Simple Wag also has a comprehensive list of foods that are safe and unsafe for dogs.
This treat you love could literally kill your dog, thanks to a chemical known as theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to a dog. So while your dog might be OK after stealing a small milk chocolate candy out of your child’s Easter basket, just a few ounces of dark chocolate or baking powder could be fatal. According to AKC.org, “Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death.”
1. Grapes and Raisins
These tasty treats seem perfectly harmless, but can be deadly to dogs. According to PetMD.com, “dogs should not eat grapes and raisins because even small amounts can prove to be fatally toxic for a dog.” No one seems to know exactly why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, but they can cause kidney failure.
Pet Poisoning Symptoms
Symptoms of pet poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea or upset stomach, seizures, abnormal behavior excessive thirst or urination and weakness. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog is in trouble.
Slideshow photo credit: © Georgie Pauwels