Many dog owners know that chocolate is bad for their dog but did you know that there are a lot of other “human” foods that won’t agree with your dog's digestion or are potentially dangerous to their health? Below we’ll look at 9 foods you should avoid feeding your dog….
1. Raisins and Grapes – While some dogs may be fine with the odd grape, it can potentially cause dangerous levels of toxicity in others. This can lead to severe kidney damage leading to sudden kidney failure. Instead, consider giving them piece of apple (without the seeds or core). A good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and dietary fibre, they also help keep a dog's teeth clean.
2. Fatty or Fried foods – Who doesn't like a good burger? but fatty food such as pork, beef, and some other human food not only cause stomach ache, but can lead to pancreatitis. The is when the pancreas releases enzymes and other substances into the surrounding area of the abdomen causing inflammation that damages the pancreas. Big Macs are best left to us humans.
3. Mouldy Leftovers – Sounds like an obvious no no, but some dog owners think that old or mouldy food won’t do their dog any harm! Tremorgenic mycotoxins which can be found in mouldy bread, pasta, cheese, nuts, or other decaying matter like compost can cause toxicity in dogs and lead to vomiting, agitation, walking drunk, tremors and seizures.
4. Onions & Garlic – Even in powdered form, these are poisonous to your dog. They cause a type of red blood cell destruction called Heinz body formation and result in anaemia. It doesn’t take a lot either, Ingestions of onions or garlic of more than 0.5% of dog’s body weight are potentially toxic.
5. Don’t go Nuts – Even though Peanut butter is one of the most popular treats for dogs, there are some nuts that need to be avoided;
a. Almonds: While not toxic, almonds are not easily digested and can give your dog an upset stomach.
b. Walnuts: Those pesky tremorgenic mycotoxins again, these can also cause seizures.
c. Macadamia nuts: Very rich in fat so pancreatitis become a real risk. To make things worse, they are reported to contain an unknown toxic element that may be linked to neurological symptoms.
d. Pecans: Can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction.
e. Pistachios: Another food rich in fat so can cause stomach problems and lead to pancreatitis.
6. Chocolate – While we may love the stuff, there is no doubt that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. The danger level will depend on the amount consumed in relation to their size and the type of chocolate eaten. It contains a stimulant called theobromine, which we can easily break down but dogs process it very slowly.
A small amount of theobromine in the system will most likely cause sickness and diarrhoea but higher amounts produce seizures, an irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, internal bleeding or even a heart attack.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate have low levels but still do your dog no favours. Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate all have a much higher percentage and means it takes only a very small amount can be very dangerous.
7. Caffeine - Caffeine is a stimulant and our canine friends are much more sensitive to the effects than people. Small amounts are unlikely to do much harm but if you dogs manages to chew up a number of tea bags or a handful of coffee beans, you should contact your vet for advice
8. Artificial Sweetener – This one is not as well-known as chocolate but just as dangerous. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener and often found in diet foods, sugar free sweets and gum. While it fine for us to consume, in some animals it cause a spike in the level of insulin in the body.
This leads to hypoglycaemia, which is a dangerously low level of blood sugar and can affect neurological function. Disorientation, lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination are all symptoms of this type of poisoning and dogs are extremely sensitive, even small quantities. If you think your dog has eaten any food containing xylitol seek urgent veterinary advice.
9. Blue cheese & Dairy products - Milk and cheeses contain enzymes dogs struggle to break down and digest properly. They also contain high level of fat which as we talked about earlier can cause sickness and diarrhoea.
Blue cheeses are particularly dangerous. Varieties such as stilton and Roquefort can contain a substance called roquefortine C, which dogs are especially sensitive to and may cause diarrhoea, vomiting, tremors and seizures.
Any thoughts on other foods we should avoid giving our Dogs? Leave a comment below...