It's no secret that dogs love to eat. In fact, many dog owners have to be careful about what they leave lying around because their furry friend will gobble it right up! While most foods are safe for dogs to eat, there are a few that can be harmful - or, sadly, even deadly. In this article, we'll discuss some of the most common toxic foods for dogs.
Dogs Metabolize Food differently than Humans
It's important to realize that dogs metabolize food differently than humans do, so what might be a healthy snack for us could actually be toxic or dangerous to our furry companions. Whether it's a special treat off the table or their regular daily kibble, it's essential that we understand the risks of feeding our pets certain foods. Even giving a different dog food than what your dog is used to should be introduced slowly, as sudden changes can cause stomach upset.
Foods That are Toxic to Dogs
Certain human foods can be extremely toxic for dogs and should never be fed to them, including:
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death. Dark chocolate is especially potent, so it's best to keep that and all chocolate products away from your pup.
- Grapes & Raisins: These small fruits contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure in dogs. If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment.
- Alcohol: Just like us, dogs can suffer from alcohol poisoning if they ingest too much. Keep all alcoholic beverages far away from your pup to be safe. The same goes for marijuana which is toxic in all forms to dogs.
- Xylitol: This artificial sweetener is commonly found in sugar-free gum and other products and can lead to seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs. Make sure you check the ingredients in any treats you give your pup.
Foods Bad for Dogs' Liver
Since dogs have considerably smaller livers than humans, certain foods can be particularly damaging to their liver health. These include:
- Avocados: Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs when consumed in large quantities.
- Onions & Garlic: These members of the Allium family contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can cause anemia and other problems if consumed in large quantities.
- Raw meat: Feeding your pup raw meat may seem like a healthy option, but it can actually lead to bacteria growth due to the high moisture content. Some raw meat has parasites, too, so be sure to cook it to the same recommended temperature for humans.
Human Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs
Many human foods can be toxic for dogs, so it's important to keep them away from your pup at all times. These include:
- Macadamia nuts & walnuts: While these nuts are safe for humans, they contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, lethargy, and even paralysis in dogs. You should talk to your doctor about nuts because some can cause stomach upset, even if they aren't toxic. Brazil nuts are one example.
- Caffeine: Coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine which can cause vomiting, restlessness, and cardiac arrhythmia in our furry friends.
- Milk & dairy products: Dairy products can be difficult for dogs to digest due to the lack of an enzyme called lactase, so it's best to keep milk and other dairy products away from your pup.
Foods to Give Sparingly to Dogs
While the foods listed above should be avoided, there are a few that can be given to your pup in moderation. These include:
- Peanut butter: Peanut butter is high in fat, so it shouldn't be given too often. It's best to look for brands without added sugar, hydrogenated oils, or artificial sweeteners.
- Cheese: Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium for dogs, but it should also be given in moderation to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal distress.
- Cooked meat: Cooked meat can make a great treat for your pup, just make sure you don't overcook it or add too much seasoning. It's also important to feed your pup meat that is free of bones, as these can splinter and cause choking.
- Store-bought treats: Store-bought treats can be great for training, but make sure you choose ones that are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Don't overdo it either, as these treats can be high in fat and calories.
Holiday Foods That Are Bad for Dogs
The holidays are a time for indulging in delicious treats – but not for our canine friends! Here are some holiday foods that are bad for dogs:
- Fatty meats & poultry skins: Trimmings like bacon, fatty meats, and poultry skins can cause pancreatitis and other digestive issues.
- Stuffing: The bread and add-ins in stuffing are difficult to digest, so it's best not to feed your pup any of this holiday favorite. Add a little cooked, fresh sweet potato to their dog food if you want to give them something special for the holiday.
- Chocolate desserts: Brownies, cookies, and other chocolate desserts should be kept away from your pup because, as mentioned, the chocolate can be toxic.
Can Training Help with Your Dog's Diet?
Training is an important tool to keep your pup safe and healthy, especially when it comes to their diet. Teaching your pup the “leave it” command can help with keeping them away from potentially dangerous foods or items, while positive reinforcement can also be used to reinforce good behavior and discourage bad habits like stealing food off the counter. Still, it's best to err on the side of caution and keep any potentially harmful foods away from your pup.
Feeding your pup healthy and nutritious food is important for keeping them happy and healthy. To make sure your furry friend doesn't get into any dangerous human foods, it's essential to keep all potentially harmful food items far away from them. It's also important to discuss any dietary concerns with your veterinarian. With a little bit of knowledge and some extra care, you can help keep your pup safe!
(Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian immediately.)
About Regis Regal
Regis Regal is a German Shepherd Breeder of merit in the Chicago, IL area. Our mission is to breed healthy, intelligent and loyal German Shepherds with excellent temperaments. We also provide Schutzhund Training to German Shepherd Dogs, which is a sport that focuses on the dog's physical and mental strengths. We provide a safe and loving environment for all of our dogs, from puppies to adults. At Regis Regal, we strive to produce German Shepherds that are true companions, family members and service animals. Contact us today at (847) 721-1908 to learn more about adopting our puppies or older dogs!