We’ve had the same vet for more than 25 years and she’s become a member of our family. As such, she has no problem yelling at me when she thinks I’m doing something wrong with our dogs. I remember when she discovered I made a plate for each of our dogs at Thanksgiving and Christmas. At the time we had five dogs and she told me we’d have five very sick/dead dogs if I kept doing it. Ouch. There are many foods we, as people, can eat that are very unsafe for our dogs. Without knowing it, you may be risking your dog’s life!
Starting with a food that dogs (and many cats) seem to enjoy but isn’t very good for them; popcorn. The high levels of fat and salt can lead to dehydration and, eventually, obesity. Since we don’t really tend to make unsalted, unbuttered popcorn our dogs are exposed to high levels of sodium and fat. And popcorn isn’t really digestible so they can make for a very unpleasant experience on the way out. And on the way in the hard kernels can hurt teeth and gums and can you imagine having those little kernel skins stuck between your teeth when you can’t floss?
Although it’s an ingredient in many dog treats and a canine favorite, cheese can give your dog problems. Constipation or diarrhea are the short term issues but obesity and long-term gastrointestinal issues can occur. While some dogs are more sensitive than others it’s best to give your dog cheese in moderation. It’s the same for all dairy products.
Although it’s an ingredient in many dog treats you need to be aware of the skin and leaves of avocado. They contain on oil-soluble toxin called persin which can cause respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death! You also need to be careful in disposing of avocado pits as they pose a serious choking hazard. Avocado is safe if you don’t feed the skin, leaves, and discard the pit where your dog can’t get at it.
One of my favorite treats is extremely dangerous for dogs. Macadamia nuts can cause the loss of bodily control (ataxia), depression, and weakness. Although the actual toxin in these nuts that affects dogs hasn’t been identified they’re a risky treat for your pup. Normally dogs recover fully but, if your dog gets into them, he’ll be quite sick for a while.
Some of the most toxic human foods for dogs are grapes, raisins, and grape juice. Because of their concentrated form raisins and grape juice are the worst. Dogs can suffer kidney failure and even death after eating any grape form. And, since there, no way to know which dogs are susceptible, it’s best to keep grapes and dogs separate!
In any form, fresh, cooked, powdered or dry, onions and garlic are toxic for dogs. Any member of the Allium plant family should not be fed to dogs. They damage the dogs’ red blood cells which decreases oxygen and can lead to anemia. This can lead to organ damage.
While a ripe tomato or potato won’t hurt your dog an unripe tomato and the green parts of the tomato plant and green potatoes can. Unripe tomatoes and the green parts of the tomato plant contain the toxin solanin that can cause confusion, gastrointestinal distress, lethargy and weakness. Green potatoes have the same effect.
Most of us don’t want to face the day without coffee but caffeine is really dangerous for dogs. Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated substances can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, and increased heart rate. If your dog gets into any caffeinated substance get him to a vet right away. And don’t forget chocolate is toxic as well!
Some people give their dogs chewing gum but sugar-free gum or anything sweetened with Xylitol is deadly for your dog! This substance causes dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in dogs. Xylitol is one of the most toxic substances your dog can ingest and it’s found in gum, candy, and other foods. Be sure you know if anything you want to feed your dog contains this ingredient!
Everyone knows dogs love bones but cooked bones are extremely dangerous. They splinter easily and can cut or puncture your dog from mouth through stomach, intestines, and rectum.
Generally speaking it’s best to feed your dog only foods and treats specifically made for him. And if you choose to feed your dog human food please check for foods you must avoid. The ASPCA has a great list of foods and their effects on dogs.