Most people know not to feed chocolate to dogs. But did you know many other common foods in your fridge and larder are equally poisonous to canines? Everything from orange peel to toothpaste has the potential to make your dog seriously ill — in the wrong circumstances, it could even kill them. With that in mind, here are 25 everyday foodstuffs and other consumables that you should avoid feeding to your dog at all costs.
There was a time that we as pet parents had no clue what was healthy and not-so healthy for our dogs. However, that has all changed since science has taken a greater interest in our family pets. Many of the prohibited foods below have been identified by petMD.com, the world’s largest digital resource for pet health and wellness information.
While many of these foods have no ill effect on dogs when consumed in small quantities, they can still cause severe illness and are best avoided for that reason. Without further ado, here are 25 items to put on your pet's no-no list.
- Grapes & Raisins: Science has yet to identify why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. What we do know is that when ingested (even in small amounts) they can cause sudden, acute kidney failure and a lack of urine output. Not all dogs will be affected by the eating of one grape or raisin, but don't take the chance: keep Fido away from this fruit.
- Citrus: Although, the "meat" of citrus fruits can cause stomach upset in dogs, the main toxicity is found in the peel, stems, leaves and seeds. These all contain high levels of citric acid and essential oils that can harm your pet's central nervous system; the brain and spinal cord.
- Cherries: It's not so much the cherry itself that is toxic to dogs (although, it can cause digestive troubles); it's the pit. This seed contains trace levels of cyanide that will be harmful to your dog if chewed or swallowed. Not only can the pit poison your pooch, but it can also become lodged in its throat, posing a choking hazard.
- Currants: This small round fruit comes in the white, purple or red variety. They are usually found in baking, but can be used in a variety of prepared meals. Just like raisins, currants can cause acute renal failure in your dog. In addition, your pet can have severe vomiting and diarrhea. If you have a currant bush in your yard, be sure to always pick up the fallen fruit to ensure your dog's safety.
- Apricots: All parts of the apricot fruit is toxic to dogs. This includes the stems, leaves and pits. As with other pitted fruits, the large apricot seed contains enough cyanide in it to do serious harm to your canine. Ingesting seeds that contain cyanide can lead to the breakdown of the important enzyme that is responsible for oxygenating your dog's cells. This can result in your dog having difficulty breathing, dilated pupils and even death.
- Apple Seeds: The same cyanide properties found in other seeds and pits are also found in apple seeds. If you want to feed your dog the occasional slice of apple, be sure to remove the seeds, stem and core.
- Peaches: Another pit-fruit is the peach. As with other fruits with these large seeds, they do contain cyanide. And, of course, the larger-nature of the peach pit could easily choke your dog.
- Plums: This (again) contains a pit which does have cyanide in it. Avoid the plum seed as it can also cause a choking hazard and an obstruction in the digestive tract of smaller dogs.
- Persimmons: Although the persimmon berry (yes, it's technically a berry) is not toxic to your dog, it can cause stomach upset. Plus, once again, the seed is the dangerous culprit. The persimmon pit can pose a choking hazard and may inflame your dog's small intestine. Plus, it too is filled with cyanide
- Raw and green potatoes: The toxic ingredient found in raw and green potatoes is called "solanine." This is the same property found in the Nightshade plant. It is used by the plant as a natural defense against insects; however, when consumed by a dog it can cause blurred vision and a decrease in heart rate.
- Mushrooms: There are several species of mushrooms that grow naturally in the wild. According to PetMD, these are categorized as; liver toxic, hallucinogenic, toadstool, muscarinic agents, false morel and intestinal upset mushrooms. Any of these fungi can cause severe to fatal symptoms in your dog.
- Onions: This veggie contains an ingredient called, thiosulphate, which is where the danger lies for your dog. The ingestion of onions causes the red blood cells in your canine's body to burst. This serious issue is called hemolytic anemia, which will not allow your dog to produce enough red blood cells to keep it healthy.
- Garlic: The debate whether garlic is harmful to dogs is a heated one. However, vets are now saying that only garlic consumed in massive quantities is dangerous to dogs. If you decide to feed garlic to your dog, be sure it is fresh from the peel and only in small amounts.
- Asparagus: This veggie isn't toxic to dogs, but you need to know that it can (and most likely will) produce very smelly urine and gas in your dog. Feed with caution and only in very tiny bits.
- Xylitol: Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in some species of tree bark, berries, corn, oats, mushrooms, plums and lettuce. It is now used as a sugar substitute in many products like gum. However, the biggest culprit of Xylitol is toothpaste. Even a small amount of this ingredient can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) liver failure, seizures and even death in dogs.
- Alcohol: The main ingredients in some alcohol is grapes and hops, which are both toxic to dogs. In addition, the dog's body is not built to break down alcohol of any kind. Giving your dog this "hard" beverage can lead to ethanol toxicosis. According to PetMD, this can damage your pet's central nervous system and cells, as well as slowing your pet's heart rate and even causing a heart attack.
- Chocolate: Chocolate not only contains caffeine, but it also contains an ingredient called theobromine. This is an alkaloid that resembles caffeine and is found in higher quantities in dark chocolate. If your dog eats too much chocolate it can result in extreme hyperactivity, increased and irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, internal bleeding and even a heart attack.
- Coffee/Tea/Caffeine: Dogs cannot tolerate caffeine. In fact, the ingestion of coffee ground or tea bags can lead to toxicity in your canine. This can present itself as hyperactivity, restlessness, elevated heart rate, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Keep all caffeinated products away from your dog.
- Milk or Dairy Products: Although, some dogs can handle the occasional treat of a dairy product, others cannot handle the lactose found in these types of foods. Lactose is two chemically linked sugars that can cause severe stomach upset in dogs. Symptoms of too much lactose can be vomiting, diarrhea and gas.
- Macadamia Nuts: Although, veterinarians are not sure exactly what ingredient is in the macadamia nut that causes toxicity, they do know the signs. Dogs that has eaten this snack can show signs of weakness, fever, ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements) tremors and depression. Depending on the amount of nuts eaten, your dog may be able to recover from this toxin.
- Fat Trimmings & Bones: Just like too much fat for humans is bad, so is it for dogs. Large quantities or a steady diet of fat trimmings can lead to obesity and an inflammation of the pancreas in the canine species. Chicken, pork and fish bones are also not recommended at these can splinter and do damage to both your dog's mouth/gums and its intestinal tract. In addition, bones can also become lodged in your pet's throat, posing a choking hazard.
- Salt: Salty foods like pretzels and potato chips are not recommended for dogs. Too much salt in your pet's diet can lead to excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, an increase in body temperature, tremors and even death.
- Sugar: Just like in humans, giving a dog too much sugar can lead to obesity, tooth decay and even diabetes. Avoid any people treat that contains high amounts of sugar as it can also cause your dog to experience the same sugar-crash that we experience. This can include being tired, irritable and moody.
- Yeast Dough: Bread doughs can smell heavenly, but if ingested by your canine, it will continue to rise in its belly. This can cause severe bloating, stomach pain and can even block off your pet's stomach. Yeast will also convert into alcohol in your pet's gut, which can lead to ethanol poisoning.
- Human Medications: It's never a good idea to give your dog medications made for human use. Many drugs can be deadly to animals and you may not have time to react before it becomes fatal. Keep your medications well away from snooping pooches.
In addition to the above, several common species of plant are also toxic to canines - click here to see what you should be avoiding in your garden!
This article originally appeared on NolongerWild. It's been updated since its original publication.