Feeding your dog from the table may seem like a nice treat for your best friend, but many human foods can be toxic for canines, leading to unexpected trips to the veterinary emergency room.
Here are five different food items that can be toxic for dogs and should be avoided:
Five Foods that Make Dogs Sick
- Grapes and Raisins. Are grapes bad for dogs? Yes! Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to certain breeds of dogs, often resulting in kidney failure. Though it’s unknown which breeds are specifically affected, grapes should be avoided for all pups, and the warning signs of toxicity include lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and increased or decreased thirst.
- Macadamia Nuts. These nuts, often found in cookies, chocolates, and candies, are highly toxic for dogs. Signs of toxicity can begin in 10 to 12 hours after ingestion, and symptoms include rear-leg weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and tremors. Fortunately, most dogs improve in one to two days with treatment.
- Peanut Butter, Gum, and Other Xylitol-Containing Foods. Xylitol is a sweetener used in gum, pastries, candy, toothpaste, and mints, as well as certain formulations of peanut butter. Ingesting xylitol causes a release of insulin that leads to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and liver failure in some dogs. Prevent exposure by taking time to read ingredient labels on peanut butter jars and low-calorie foods, or by purchase peanut butter for dogs that removes xylitol and promotes canine health. Signs of xylitol toxicity may include weakness, lethargy, and lack of coordination. Progressive weakness, vomiting, and lack of appetite may also develop as liver damage occurs.
- Raw Meat. Many believe that a raw meat diet is healthier for dogs, but this is a controversial topic among the veterinary community, since raw foods can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as salmonella.
- Highly fatty foods like bacon or fried chicken skin. Although not specifically toxic, there are many dog breeds that are prone to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be triggered by eating a highly fatty treat, so be careful with giving this to your dog. Dog breeds predisposed to pancreatitis include Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and other small terrier breeds.
Safe Treats for Dogs
The best treats for your dog are low in calories and make up less than 10 percent of your dog’s daily food consumption. If your dog has dietary restrictions, discuss giving any new food or treat with your veterinarian. All treats given should be appropriate for your dog’s size and cut into reasonable portions.
Safe and healthy treats for your dog include:
- Vegetables, specifically small pieces of cooked or cleaned cut green beans, carrots, or peas.
- Rice cakes.
- Canned dog food of the same brand and flavor your dog currently prefers.
Preventing Poisoning in Dogs
The best way to prevent poisoning is to ensure that your dog isn’t exposed to toxic foods and toys.
Here are some tips for keeping your pup safe:
- Do not feed your dog human food. That is the best way to prevent exposure.
- Encourage guests not to give your dog food or treats without your permission.
- Keep cupboards closed, purses out of reach, and food sealed and out of reach on countertops.
- Pay special attention during parties where grapes may be on the table or included in fruit baskets.
- Feed high-quality, Association of American Feed Control Officials-approved food to your dog.
- Monitor your baby or toddler carefully when they are eating foods around your dog. Consider a baby gate or placing them in another room when they are eating potentially toxic foods.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten or potentially ingested a toxic food item, please contact an animal poison control service, your veterinarian or a local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.