Our waggy friends are renowned opportunists, frequently keen to get their paws on a slice of whatever you’re having. Once they’ve worked their way into your heart, chances are you’ll find it hard to resist those gorgeous puppy eyes looking up at you imploringly.
However, before you cave and let your dog have a snaffle of anything, find out about the types of toxic food for dogs, the foods that are ok in moderation, and what you need to look out for.
The Big No No’s
Toxic food for dogs come in a variety of different disguises, and is frequently A-OK for humans, making it confusing. These are the worst contenders:
- Chocolate: Yes, it’s well known, but you need to keep your chocs away from your pooch and not just because you want them all to yourself.
Chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine which can make your dog extremely poorly with kidney failure.
If you’re desperate to share your love of the chocolate stuff then buy some dog-friendly chocolate treats instead.
- Onions and their relations: So this includes not only onions but also garlic, leeks and chives. Regardless of whether they are cooked or raw, they will cause nasty tummy irritation and damage to the dog’s red blood cells.
What’s worse is that the symptoms aren’t apparent immediately and can take a few days to show. Keep this toxic food for dogs away from them.
- Macadamia nuts (also walnuts and pecans): Macadamia nuts are dangerous for dogs causing weakness, tremors, swollen limbs, vomiting and raised body temperature approximately 12 hours after ingestion.
- Avocado: The substance persin which is in avocados is considered poisonous for dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Xylitol – Artificial Sweetener: This sweetener can cause hypoglycaemia in dogs. It’s typically found in diet drinks and treats. However, you should check the labels of any food you are offering your dog (including peanut butter) in case it contains xylitol.
- Alcohol: He might be man’s best friend, but your pooch shouldn’t be your drinking buddy – even in the tiniest amount. Damage from even a small amount of alcohol can occur to the dog’s nervous system, along with sickness and diarrhoea due to alcohol.
- Grapes and raisins: Often lurking innocuously in our cakes and tea time treats, you need to make sure your dog doesn’t get hold of raisins or grapes. They contain a toxin which can cause kidney failure and severe liver damage.
- Mouldy food: If your hound has a habit of raiding your bins then you’ll need to take steps to stop them getting their chops around any mouldy food waste. The mould toxins can make your dog really quite poorly.
- Medicines: Human medications should NEVER be given to dogs or any pets under any circumstances, may that be baby Calpol or anti-anxiety meds. You should always go to your vet for the most appropriate treatment.
Let’s Be Wary
While some foods aren’t necessarily toxic, they are only ok in moderation or with certain precautions in place. These foods include:
- Corn on the Cob: Your dog may enjoy the kernels but you mustn’t let them ingest the cob. Therefore, remove the corn first.
- Bones: Cooked bones are a big no-no, but if you want to give your dog a bone then you can choose a raw one and keep a watchful eye.
- Caffeine: While it’s not poisonous to dogs as such, dogs are far more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than humans. A few slurps of your coffee mug that you left within reach are unlikely to cause a problem. However, if they ingest coffee beans or tea bags, then you’ll need to pay a visit to your vet.
- Bread: Yeast in large quantities is harmful to dogs, but the odd bit of bread will be fine, albeit not particularly nutritious, just make sure it doesn’t contain raisins.
- Milk: Dogs can’t process dairy milk as efficiently as humans so feeding a dog cow’s milk can cause tummy upsets. The same applies for yoghurt, although some dogs love this.
- Cheese: Many dogs are eager cheeseboard fanatics but you need to take care here. A small amount of plain cheese such as cheddar is likely to be fine. Blue cheese is particularly a bad idea and can cause sickness and diarrhoea.
- Nuts: While macadamias are the main nuts to avoid for dogs you should also avoid almonds as they can block their throat due to the shape. They can enjoy a couple of cashews if you like. Coconut is technically not a nut and can actually be good for dogs, boosting their immune system and taking care of their skin. However, don’t let them near the husk.
- Peanuts: Dogs can eat peanuts and this includes peanut butter which is actually a brilliant source of protein, vitamins B and E, and healthy fats for dogs. However, do check the ingredients that there’s no xylitol snuck in there.
- Eggs: Eggs are considered safe for dogs as long as they are fully cooked and in fact can be useful if your pup is recovering from a stomach upset.
- Fish: Dogs often love a good chomp on some tasty fish which is great as it is jam-packed with amino acids and vitamins (particularly salmon). However, it needs to be fully cooked, has all the bones carefully removed, and be no more than a twice-weekly
- Ham: Ham is ok as an occasional titbit but shouldn’t be a regular occurrence as it is high in salt.
- Ice Cream: Again, being a dairy product, you should avoid sharing your ice cream with your dog. It could give them quite an upset tummy, made worse by the high lactose content. Who wants to share, anyway?!
What Should I do if My Dog Eats Something Toxic?
If your dog has, to your knowledge, consumed one of the items from our list of toxic food for dogs then you need to act quickly to get them examined by a vet. Some of these toxins, even in a tiny amount, can cause fatality, so it’s always best to be on the safe side. Remember that it is possible for there to be a long time between ingestion and becoming unwell.
By knowing what it is safe for your dog to eat you can enable them to enjoy some treats without the fear of making them poorly.