Through many years of dog ownership I’ve learned what is good and bad for my canine companions. Some of the most surprising discoveries come in the form of people food. We all know not to feed table scraps, but did you know that some fairly common “people” food could be dangerous and potentially lethal to your dog? It’s become evident that a large number of people are unaware of these foods so I’ve compiled a list in hopes of educating fellow dog owners.
CHOCOLATE: Best to remember – dark chocolate, especially baker’s chocolate, is the worst when it comes to this type of “poisoning”. Chocolate contains a substance called Theobromine (similar to caffeine), which in toxic doses can cause heart attacks. As little as 2 oz baker’s chocolate can be fatal for a small dog. If you suspect your dog has gotten into chocolate call your vet immediately.
ONIONS: A substance in onions, disulfide, is harmless to humans but toxic to
not only dogs but cats, horses, sheep and cattle. It causes hemolytic
anemia, and as little as 2 slices a week can damage red blood cells,
impairing their ability to carry oxygen.
LIVER: In small amounts liver is very good for your dog (less than 3 servings a week). Large amounts cause vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). This can lead to bone problems, weight loss and anorexia. Also, never feed liver if your dog is taking vitamin A supplements, and always cook it before feeding.
Sterilized bones that are purchased aren’t the problem. Raw meaty bones and
chicken bones are prone to splinter and lodge in the throat, or worse, the
intestines, in which case they can perforate the lining causing internal
bleeding and possibly death. This doesn’t mean “no bones” – ask the butcher
for soup bones, bring water to a full boil then cook the bones for
approximately 20 minutes (depending on size).
RAW EGGS: Cooked eggs are a very healthy treat for dogs, raw egg whites contain a protein called Avidin. This protein depletes your dog of B vitamins, specifically Biotin, which is essential to growth and coat condition. Also, raw eggs may contain bacteria, such as Salmonella.
MEAT/POULTRY: Once again
bacteria are the main problem – Salmonella and Clostridium, both can be very
serious and costly to treat. Just remember, if you feed meat, cook it
MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS: FYI, 50% of dogs are lactose intolerant (just like people!) – they don’t produce the enzyme Lactase, therefore they are unable to break down Lactose (milk sugar). This can cause gas, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
Walnuts can cause gastroenteritis and are considered poisonous to dogs.
Macadamia nuts contain an unknown compound, which can cause muscle tremors,
weakness and paralysis of the hindquarters – luckily these symptoms last a
short time. In general, nuts are high in phosphorus and may contribute to
the formation of bladder stones.
POTATO: Cooked and mashed potatoes are good for dogs. However, poisonous
alkaloids (Solanum) are present in green sprouts and green potato skins.
Stems and leaves contain oxalates, which can cause bladder stones.
RHUBARB: This plant (especially the leaves) also contains oxalates.
TURKEY SKIN: Known to cause acute Pancreatitis in dogs.
PIPS: Found in the seeds of apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots – ALL CONTAIN ARSENIC!
NUTMEG: Is a hallucinogen in dogs.
BABY FOOD: When I worked as a veterinary assistant we commonly gave chicken baby food to dogs and cats that wouldn’t eat. Just be careful that the baby food you are feeding doesn’t contain onion powder – some do. See onion poisoning for more information.
MUSHROOMS: In all honesty, any wild growing mushroom scares me, and if my dogs are anywhere near some, I go the other way – you just don’t know. Store bought mushrooms are fine, but do you really want you’re dog to develop a taste for them?
BROCCOLI: There has been a bit of confusion where broccoli is concerned.
Broccoli is very good for dogs, however, if the daily intake exceeds more
than 10% of the animals diet – problems can occur. The toxic substance is
isothiocyanate and can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
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