Many of us find it very hard to not feed our dogs some human food here and there, myself included! It’s difficult when they look up at you longingly, wishing that food would just fall out of your hand. Sometimes, we as veterinarians even “prescribe” human food for certain illnesses, such as boiled chicken and rice during times of stomach upset.
The good news is there are many safe and low-calorie options (think green beans and carrots) for us to indulge our healthy dogs with. The bad news is that there are many foods sitting in our kitchens that are NOT safe for our dogs. While some may just cause stomach upset, others are toxic to dogs, causing problems as severe as liver, kidney, heart, and neurologic disease.
It’s important to remember that dogs are not small people. What is safe for us may not be safe for them! Below is a list of the most common foods toxic to dogs that we may have in our households. Take a look and be sure none of these are in your pets’ reach!
Top 7 Human Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs
1. Chocolate and Coffee
Chocolate and coffee can cause stomach upset (vomiting, diarrhea), elevated heart rate, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and death. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most toxic to dogs, but any chocolate ingestion should be reported to your veterinarian so that the ingested dose can be calculated and determined if it is a toxic level.
Alcohol can cause stomach upset, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, coma, and death.
3. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins (dried grapes) can cause kidney failure, even in very small amounts.
4. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia.
5. Onions, Garlic, and Chives
Ingestion of onions, garlic, or chives can cause stomach upset as well as red blood cell damage that can lead to anemia.
The sweetener xylitol is used in many gums, candies, baked goods, toothpaste, and now peanut butter. It causes insulin release resulting in liver failure and extremely low blood sugar. Signs include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures.
7. Yeast Dough
If ingested, yeast dough can rise and cause excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract. This is not only painful but can cause the stomach to bloat and twist, a life-threatening situation. In addition, yeast releases ethanol which can result in the toxic effects of alcohol ingestion.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these toxins, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435), or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680).