Admit it: you know exactly what you should eat to stay healthy, but sometimes (or often) find yourself elbow-deep in a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos, wondering how you got there. You might decide that—after just one more chip—you’re swearing off junk food for good. You might have gone through this process a few times, eating very healthfully sometimes, eating more junk than you care to admit at others. The fact is, you have a choice about what you feed yourself. You can choose what, when, and where you eat. Your dog, on the other hand, doesn’t have this choice.
You, the pet owner, are solely responsible for your dog’s health and wellbeing. This means, along with feeding him a healthy and balanced diet, that you make sure he isn’t eating the wrong things. Sometimes it’s easy to think that a food that is healthy for us humans (take avocado, for example) would make a healthy treat for our dogs. But there are a lot of toxic “human” foods out there, and it’s up to us to make sure our cherished pets don’t get ahold of them.
Here’s a list of tens things your dog should never eat:
- Chocolate. Chocolate contains a very toxic substance called methylxanthines, which are stimulants that can stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death.
- Avocados. Every part of the fruit has a strain of fatty acid called persin, which is toxic to your pup in large quantities. Avocado may be good on nearly everything, but it’s not good on your dog’s puppy chow.
- Onions and Garlic. Staples in the human diet, these beloved veggies can cause anemia in your dog by killing her red blood cells. Even a little bit can be detrimental to her health.
- Grapes and Raisins. Eating this seemingly innocuous fruit (in either the fresh or dried form) can cause kidney failure in dogs. Yikes!
- Milk and other Dairy Products. While dogs can drink milk from their mothers, any other type of dairy (cow, goat, etc.) could make them sick. There are sugars and fatty acids that dogs don’t have the enzymes to digest properly.
- Macadamia Nuts. While it’s still unknown just what it is about these nuts that is poisonous to dogs, the fact is, they are. Your pup may be eyeing your macadamia nut cookie, but don’t give in to his puppy-dog eyes. He’ll thank you later—well, maybe.
- Sugary foods and drinks. Speaking of cookies, don’t let your dog eat anything high in processed sugars. The same thing will happen to her that happens to people when they ingest too much sugar: weight gain, tooth decay, and even diabetes.
- Caffeine. It contains a stimulant that is toxic to dogs. While you may enjoy a morning cup of joe, your dog should stick to tried-and-true water.
- Yeast dough. If eaten raw, this can rise and ferment in your dog’s stomach. The fermentation can cause alcohol poisoning, and the rising will stretch your pup’s stomach to the point of pain. So the next time you make a homemade pizza, avoid giving those leftover dough bits to your pooch!
- Salt. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and even sodium ion poisoning. While a little bit of salt is fine, be aware of how much your dog ingests, to keep the quantity at a minimum.
With this list in mind, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the foods that can make your dog sick. But just as certain foods affect people different ways, the same happens with dogs. Signs of poisoning or an allergic reaction include vomiting, muscle shakes, fever, intense scratching, weakness in the limbs, diarrhea, breathing problems, and sluggishness. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, get him to the vet immediately.
By avoiding these foods, your dog will automatically be happier and healthier. And with an overall healthy diet and regular exercise, your pup will definitely thank you. Even if she is a bit put-out that she couldn’t have a piece of your macadamia nut cookie.
(Note: This article is not meant to be a list of ALL foods that can be harmful to your dog’s health. If you have any questions about specific foods not mentioned in this article, please call us. If your pet is experiencing signs of poisoning or allergic reaction, seek emergency care immediately.)