Starting off with the most notoriously toxic foods, we’ll take a look at chocolate. Dogs can’t efficiently break down one of the key naturally occurring substances found in chocolate: methylxanthines.
Dogs are far more sensitive to methylxanthines than humans, making it more difficult for them to digest. If a small amount of chocolate is consumed, depending on the size of the dog, they might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. As they consume more, the worse the effects become. Seizures and even death can occur if a dog eats too much chocolate.
It isn’t entirely clear why macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. While macadamia nut poisoning in dogs doesn’t typically require a trip to the vet, your pup will likely suffer from ataxia (loss of coordination), muscle weakness, and vomiting. If symptoms worsen, do not hesitate to contact your vet about possible treatment options.
Garlic is one of the worst culprits and should be handled with care in homes with dogs. Belonging to the Allium family, garlic is poisonous to dogs because it contains thiosulfate, which kills dogs’ red blood cells. Along with chives and onions, garlic consumption can lead to anemia. Symptoms include lethargy, rapid breathing, and vomiting.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs as well, with the underlying reason for this still unknown. Be very cautious with grapes and raisins around your dog, because they can be fatal. Even in small doses, grapes are dangerous for dogs to eat. Early symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Rapid kidney failure potentially leading to death is the most serious side effect.
While milk isn’t the most toxic of food for your dog to consume, it is not recommended beyond small doses. It truly depends on your dog, because many are actually lactose-intolerant. Drinking too much milk can potentially lead to your dog producing loose stools and being gassier than usual. As a small treat, milk is relatively harmless, but make sure to limit their consumption in order to avoid disrupting their digestion.
Lemons and dogs do not mix at all. Not only do dogs not enjoy lemons and limes, to begin with, due to their citrusy and sour flavor, but they also contain psoralen, a substance that can cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested. Your dog likely won’t be tempted by lemon, but in the event that they do decide to try one, monitor their symptoms, and make sure they don’t get their paws on anymore.
Avocados are another fruit that dogs should avoid. While persin is a toxin found in avocados and is dangerous to many animals, dogs are fairly resistant to it. In large quantities, however, persin could have some adverse effects like vomiting and diarrhea.
Additionally, avocados are high in fat which can be a health concern if a dog ingests too much of it. Depending on the number of avocados your dog has eaten, pancreatitis can occur.
Whether coming from tea, coffee, or any other caffeinated beverage, dogs ingesting caffeine is a major health concern. Dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine, and even a small amount of it can prove dangerous to dogs. Side effects include elevated heart rate, hyperactivity, and even seizures. If seizures are a result of caffeine ingestion, get your dog to a vet immediately; seizures suggest a high volume of caffeine ingestion which can lead to death.
Dogs do not respond well to alcohol. Similar to caffeine, it doesn’t take much to cause painful side effects. A dog that consumes even a negligible amount of alcohol will not only become intoxicated and lose coordination but could also slip into a coma and die. This goes for anything that has alcohol in it, not just beverages. Keep mouthwash and hand sanitizer far away from your pup if they seem tempted to try it.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in chewing gum and candy and it should never be ingested by dogs. It is extremely toxic to dogs and can result in some unpleasant side effects. When xylitol is ingested by a dog, it causes a drop in blood sugar levels – which can ultimately lead to seizures and even death.
Dogs have a natural curiosity when it comes to human food, and sometimes it’s hard to resist giving them a taste, but it’s important to be wary of what food they get their paws on because they aren’t all safe for dogs to eat. Keep your furry friends safe by avoiding giving them or making accessible foods that are harmful to them.