Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat
Our four legged pet friends love all kinds of treats and will eat pretty much anything they can get their little paws on… including stuff that isn’t good for them.
As a pet owner, it is important for you to be aware of the types of food your pet can safely consume. Because, while most things that are consumable by humans can be given to pets, others can cause severe harm.
As we all know, over the centuries, what can be fed to pets has evolved drastically. Earlier, meats were the major food component for our canines – it was a high protein based diet. However, this led to other deficiencies such as poor coat condition, malnutrition, metabolism imbalance, weak immune system and excessive hair loss.
As a result, the food groups recommended today are based more on an omnivore’s food table and balances meats as well as vegetables along with other non-meat foods that are essential for the long and healthy life of your dog. This, too, is very specific as dogs cannot eat everything a human does. As mentioned earlier, some of the food groups consumed by humans can have adverse effects on pets. And while there is a general list of foods to avoid, there is also another set that varies according to the breed, age, the weight of the dog among other factors.
Why can’t dogs eat the same food as humans?
Often, it may seem that foods suitable for human consumption can be perfectly suitable for dogs as well, but this often isn’t the case. Some foods can lead to severe toxicity in canines even leading to fatalities.
The difference in the foods suitable for humans and dogs mainly varies due to the different rates of metabolism, which is essentially the process by which food is broken down by the body and converted into energy.
If you are unaware of the foods that should be avoided by dogs, you must research the food groups that you can feed your pet. That being said, if you are worried about something that your pet has consumed, reach your vet at the earliest.
FOODS TO AVOID
Here is a typical list of foods that cannot be fed to dogs as they are capable of causing severe toxicity in animals, especially when consumed in large quantities.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Seeds From Apples
- Baby Foods
- Cooked Bones
- Dairy Products
- Onion Or Garlic
- Raisins And Grapes
- Uncooked Yeast Dough
- Macadamia Nuts
- Foods Containing Xylitol
- Persimmons, Peaches, And Plums
There is a good chance that your dog can get to a patch of spilled alcohol from a glass or a bottle when at a party or even around the house. However, this is not advisable for dogs as it can lead to high levels of intoxication at a very quick pace. Watch for signs of poor coordination, improper or lack of breathing, abnormal acidity, etc. which can potentially lead to coma and death.
Seeds From Apples
Apple seeds are known to be toxic to dogs as when digested they release a natural chemical called amygdalin that releases cyanide into the blood stream. Smaller quantities do not cause harm. If the dog does not end up chewing the seed, it does not cause harm. However, just to be safe, whenever you are feeding your dog apples, ensure that the seeds are cored before the dog consumes it. In addition to apples, pits and cores in fruits such as plums, peaches, pears and apricots also cause similar symptoms. Keep a lookout for dilated pupils, salivation, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and hyperventilation.
Consumption of avocado leads to congestion of the heart in canines. Symptoms are vomiting, and diarrhea as Avocado contains persin which cannot be digested by dogs.
Baby food isn’t bad for pets. However, you must keep an eye for ingredient compositions to check for any foods that are not advised as consumable by dogs.
Cooked bones — whether chicken, pork or beef — are often used as a treat for dogs. However, it is advised to start with smaller quantities of bones as most dogs face difficulty in consuming cooked bones — sometimes, bones can get lodged in the throat area or even the intestinal tract requiring surgery or sometimes even leading to death. This is the case especially with chicken bones as these are often swallowed whole or partly chewed and can result in intestinal perforation. Uncooked bones, on the other hand, are less likely to splinter. However, there is always the risk of bacteria which can lead to digestive distress. While many maintain that bones, whether cooked or uncooked, are good for canines, the fact remains that annually there are thousands of dogs that end up in emergency care as a result. This, however, does not stop pet owners from feeding their dogs bones as the pros outweigh the cons. If you are one of those pet owners that believe that dogs must have their bones, why not try tossing them a rawhide bone instead.
Chocolate — whether in small or large proportions– can be extremely lethal to canines. Just to give you some perspective, chocolate as little as 2 ounces is enough to cause lethal damage in a 16-pound dog. Why? Theobromine which is present in chocolate belongs to the alkaloid class of molecules known as methylxanthines. Xanthine is absorbed a whole lot slower in dogs leading to high toxicity with deathly effects like increase in heart rate, stimulation of the central nervous system and also the constriction of arteries. Cocoa powder has the highest amount of theobromine content and is the most lethal of the different types of chocolate. Other forms include baker’s chocolate (unsweetened), semisweet, dark and also milk chocolate. Reactions occur as early as four hours from ingestion, and common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and seizures. In extreme situations, it can also lead to cardiac arrest and death.
Dairy Products Such As Milk And Cheese
Consumption of milk can lead to diarrhea in dogs that are lactose intolerant – usually, applies to nine in ten dogs. This is because the enzymes to break down milk sugar aren’t present in dogs thus resulting in vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress. The same goes for cheese. High in fat, consumption of cheese can lead to inflammation of pancreatitis which proves deadly in a very short time span. The occasional cheddar cheese or swiss cheese does not cause any significant damage unless consumed in large quantities. Similarly, yogurt can also be fed to dogs as it is low in calories and is available in a variety of flavors.
Onion Or Garlic
Plants that belong to the Allium species are known to be harmful to dogs as they can cause damage to blood cells even leading to death. In addition to garlic and onion, this group of foods also include leeks, shallots, scallions and also chives. Common symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting. Regular consumption leads to anemia, weakness, and lethargy. Whether cooked or raw, onion is far more dangerous than garlic as it contains thiosulphate that causes a condition called hemolytic anemia in dogs as well as cats. It does not cause harm in smaller quantities. However, there can be severe effects with regular consumption or use in large quantities. Garlic comparatively causes less damage in comparison, but it too leads to damage to red blood cells. Garlic causes toxicity only when consumed in large quantities.
Raisins And Grapes
While small sized dogs or pups run the risk of choking on a grape, grapes and raisins can cause severe damage to dogs of any sizes. Gastrointestinal discomforts, diarrhea, and vomiting are the most common symptoms experienced. Grapes also affect the renal system and can also lead to kidney failure. Although the toxicity agent present in grapes is yet to be identified, dogs experience discomfort symptoms within 24 hours.Early symptoms such as appetite loss, weakness or lethargy, decreased urination or tremors are also noticed.
Uncooked Yeast Dough
Bread dough prepared using yeast if fed to dogs (uncooked) will result in the yeast fermenting in the stomach thus producing alcohol which leads to toxicity in dogs. Another effect is that the dough begins expanding in the stomach or intestines causing them to produce a significant amount of gas. This can cause severe pain to the animal while and also has the potential of rupturing the stomach and intestines. Common symptoms include abdominal discomfort and lethargy.
Caffeine has a similar stimulant to chocolate which is unsafe and unhealthy for dogs. An immediate condition after consumption of caffeine is vomiting, restlessness and heart palpitations which are mainly caused due to methylated xanthine that stimulates the central nervous system within a few hours. Ensure that your coffee is not within your dog’s reach when left on the table or in your kitchen.
Bacon is a high-fat food which is similar to foods such as cheese which must not be fed to canines as it can lead to pancreatitis which is a fatal condition. Bacon is also high on salt which makes it a bad choice for a treat. When consumed in large quantities, it can lead to bloating and even severe fatalities.
The particular chemical that causes harm to dogs is unknown in this case; however, research does suggest that macadamia nuts and dogs don’t mix. The adverse reactions of dogs being fed macadamia nuts are well-documented though, and common symptoms include hypothermia, tremors, weakness, lethargy, and vomiting.
Foods Containing Xylitol
These including things such as toothpaste, baked goods, etc. which are sweetened with xylitol. This can result in liver failure in animals. Early symptoms that are exhibited are vomiting, lethargy and also coordination issues.
Persimmons, Peaches, And Plums
Besides being a choking hazard, persimmons, peaches, and plums contain amygdalin which is sugar as well as one of the compounds for cyanide. During metabolism, these degrade into hydrogen cyanide. Seeds in pears are also dangerous as these contain traces of arsenic which causes harm to dogs. Permissions, peaches, and plums are also known to cause intestinal obstruction and also enteritis.
Other foods that must be kept out of reach even though they are not as fatal as the foods mentioned above groups are old foods, leftovers, human snacks, etc.
Just like humans, dogs too cannot consume old and moldy food as the bacteria in spoiled food contains numerous toxins. Similarly, while leftover food may be a great feast for dogs, this will not provide them with a balanced diet.
As far as human snacks are concerned, always check the ingredients on the label to avoid feeding your pets foods that contain sugar, caffeine, chips that may contain onion powder or garlic, cookies which often contain chocolate, raisins or even macadamia nuts.
If your dog has been experiencing even minor symptoms such as weakness, lack of coordination, vomiting, and diarrhea you should consider taking your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you possibly can.
Complete and Balanced Diet
Now that we’ve covered the topic of what your dog cannot be fed, here is a list of foods that are safe and healthy for dogs to consume. That being said, keep in mind that a balanced diet is essential to keep your dog in the best of health as too much of anything can cause adverse effects.
- Lean Meats
- Baked Potatoes
- Pasta and White Rice
- Peanut Butter
These are meats with excessive fat removed and without bones. For meats such as turkey and chicken, the skins must be peeled off as it too contains plenty of fat. Ideal lean meat is the white meat from chicken and turkey which is an excellent source of protein and nutrients. These can be served raw or cooked.
Another source of protein is eggs. Many dog owners tout the power of a raw egg to the diet of the dogs; the risk that you run here is salmonella. Eggs which contain the Avidin enzyme and the yolk are rich with vitamin B.
Excluding the fruits listed above, your dogs can safely enjoy fruits such as bananas, apples, watermelons and strawberries. Seeds from fruits such as watermelon should be removed to eliminate the risk of consuming arsenic which is poisonous and to dogs. Fruits work best during the summers as they help cool down the body of the animal.
Vegetables are among the healthiest and natural treats that you can provide your dog. Vegetables such as carrots sticks, green beans, slices of cucumber or even zucchini slices can be safely fed to your dog.
Vegetables are a great replacement for commercially available dog treats if you are looking to get your dog to lose some weight. As treats, veggies are extremely low in calories and make excellent training tools too.
Most dogs can safely enjoy an occasional baked potato, as long as it is not on a regular basis. These make for great treats as well. Instead of a whole potato treat, mix it up with other vegetables we recommended above.
Pasta and White Rice
White rice and pasta can regularly be fed to most canines along with boiled chicken to help firm up the stools. Besides being extremely nutritious, this is an excellent meal choice for dogs who are suffering from an upset stomach.
Peanut Butter can be consumed by dogs preferably without the bread as it makes for a tasty snack. Peanut butter is easily digestible, and dogs also enjoy its creamy and nutty taste. A natural brand that does not add sugar to its composition is recommended.
Omega 3 fatty acids present in salmons are excellent for maintaining a healthy and shiny coat and also help in strengthening the immune system.
Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber and also consists of beta-carotene or vitamin A which helps with digestive issues.
Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber needed for senior dogs that have irregular bowel movements. If your dog is allergic to wheat, oatmeal is an excellent substitute.
Oatmeal needs to be cooked before feeding and sugar, and other flavors additives should be avoided.
Just like us, dogs too need supplements in their diet to improve their health and to overcome certain deficiencies.
This is the case when you are not able to feed the dog a variety of foods leaving some of the food groups that are essential. Also keep in mind that if you are feeding your dog frozen food, it contain far fewer nutrients as compared to those present in freshly cooked food.
Most homemade diets require some supplementation. Most canines require 800-1000 mg of calcium per pound of food which can be in any form. Egg shells are a favorite source; these can be crushed into a powder in a coffee grinder and then mixed with the meal. ½ a spoon of crushed eggshells equate to 1000 mg of calcium
A rich source of EPA and DHA, Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent to improve the immune system and also reduce inflammation. The recommended intake for dogs is approximately 300 mg EPA, and DHA combined for every 20-30 pounds of body weight.
Cod Liver Oil
An excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin D along with EPA and DHA cod liver oil is recommended with fish as a minimum in the dog’s diet.
Essentially the food you feed your dog must be able to provide energy, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and other essential micronutrients. By incorporating fresh whole foods in the daily diet of your dog, you increase your pet’s health and longevity.
Just like humans, our furry friends are the healthiest when they consume a wide variety of minimally processed foods. Home prepared food is the most recommended as you can incorporate all the minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients needed for your dog.
There are plenty of health problems seen in cats and dogs due to poor nutrition or improper food habits. Many veterinarians often suggest dietary upgrades to either eliminate or improve common conditions such as allergies, runny eyes, infected ears, fleas, worms, digestive problems, etc. As the dog’s nutritional needs are met, it gives its body the ability to repair itself.
Often dog owners are not aware of the right food that dogs need to consume. But follow the proper diet, and you will find your pet is a whole lot healthier and energetic. Keep in mind that a balanced diet is the foundation of health which is why it is essential to continually evaluate the needs of your dogs feeding them food that is more species appropriate and nourishing.
That being said, ensure that what you are feeding your pet consists of high protein as well as plenty of moisture. Little moisture or hard food can lead to mild dehydration which further leads to stress on the organs. As foods have the ability to heal as well as to harm, therefore what you are feeding your pet does have significant effects.
Food types must be able to meet your pet’s essential protein, vitamin and mineral levels which can be achieved through a balanced diet. If you are guessing, there is a good chance either your dog’s nutritional levels are not met, or unknowingly you are feeding your dog that which he shouldn’t consume.
Keep in mind that your dog is a carnivore. Therefore, his genetic makeup remains almost similar to his wild carnivorous ancestors. Dogs also have very short digestive tracts which mean that the digestive system is designed to get foods in and out quickly and is not intended to ferment foods like vegetarians.
Dogs enjoy gulping down foods that you enjoy but being aware of what foods are right for them and what isn’t is critical to your dog’s health.