20 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Your pooch may beg for a bite of what you’re having for dinner. Perhaps you feed them scraps because you don’t want to see them going to waste. While you may believe that you’re giving your dog a treat, the truth is that some of the foods that we eat are dangerous to your dog’s health.

We spend money on our pets to ensure that they are properly vaccinated, have regular checkups at the vet and eat the very best pet food formulas available, but we may be causing them harm by giving them food off of our plates. Dogs have a unique digestive system and there are some things that could make them sick or cause injury.

Here are 20 foods you should never feed your dog.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is healthy for humans, but could be deadly to your dog if he or she eats a large amount. This vegetable contains a compound called isothiocyanate. While it doesn’t affect people, it can be harmful to your dog. Don’t freak out if your dog steals a bite of broccoli because a small amount is not likely to do any damage but if you see a considerable amount ingested you should call your vet immediately.

2. Avocado

Avocados are dangerous for your dog, even in small amounts. They contain a compound called persin that is very toxic to animals. It causes diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration, organ damage and in severe cases, death. If your pet ingests avocado call your vet immediately for instructions on how to treat.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine contains methylxanthines. These can cause diarrhea that may be fatal. Other symptoms include vomiting, fast and irregular heartbeat, seizures, coma and death. There are many foods and beverages that have caffeine as an ingredient so you’ll need to check your labels regularly.  It can be found in chocolate, coffee beverages and some popular soft drinks. Keep all foods with caffeine out of the reach of your pets to ensure their safety.

4. Alcohol

While some pet owners think that it’s novel to let their dogs lap up a spilled beer, the results can be devastating for their health. Alcohol can lead to weakness, low blood pressure, vomiting, coma and eventually death. Keep all alcoholic beverages away from your pet to avoid accidental ingestion.  This one might be obvious but you’d be surprised just how many owners ignore this.  Also be careful of sweets that contain alcohol as well.

5. Raisins and Grapes

You’d think a fruit as healthy as a grape might have benefits for your K9 but you’d be very wrong.  And remember, a raisin is the same thing as a grape but can be even worse because of the added sugar.  Raisins are grapes which have been dried so they contain the same compounds but possibly modified in a worse way for dogs.  Eating raisins or grapes may cause your pet to have kidney failure with fatal results.

6. Ham

Many pet owners save a ham bone with ample fat and a little meat left over as a treat for their pets. Ham has high fat content as well as loads of salt and often other preservatives. This is not healthy or recommended for any domestic pet. The consequences of eating large amounts of ham or scraps on a regular basis can be pancreatitis which is a disease that is potentially fatal. If you have any leftover meat, throw it away.

7. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are frequently used in baking and in some meal recipe preparations. The nut contains an unidentified compound that is toxic for dogs. Upon ingestion, it can cause weakness, joint pain and inflammation and vomiting.  As a rule of thumb you should be keeping nearly every nut away from your dog but when it comes to Macadamia nuts be especially vigilant in keeping it away.

8. Dairy Products and Milk

Some dogs have sensitive digestive systems and they can develop an intolerance for lactose as easily as humans can. Milk and dairy products may cause gas to develop as well as diarrhea. In addition to milk, avoid allowing your animals to eat anything that has yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese or scraps that may contain any dairy ingredients.

9. Mushrooms

While humans can tolerate certain varieties of mushrooms, it is quite different for animals. There are some types of mushrooms that contain toxins that can cause you dog’s liver and kidneys to fail. They may also cause diarrhea, vomiting, hallucinations and even damage to essential red blood cells. At a minimum your pet may become very ill or the consequences may even be fatal over time.

10. Plum, cherry, apple and apricot pits/seeds

All of these fruits have seeds or pits that contain cyanide, which in high doses can be lethal. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, fast and irregular heartbeat, seizures, coma and death from toxicity. This toxin also prevents red blood cells from carrying oxygen to cells in the body with fatal results. Puppies are the most susceptible, although adult dogs sometimes get into the trash. Keep all pits and seeds securely away from your pet. If you have fruit trees in the yard, consider putting up a type of barricade that will prevent your pet from having access to fruit that has fallen off of the tree and is lying on the ground.

11. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a spice that is used in a variety of dishes. It is a spice and also has medicinal properties in larger amounts. Nutmeg may cause your pet to have hallucinations and severe vomiting. Dehydration is a serious risk for dogs who are nauseated. They quickly lose body fluids which may affect the functioning of internal organs and lead to poor health or death.

12. Onions

Onions appear commonly in prepared foods and are healthy for humans. They are not for dogs. Onions cause oxidation of your pet’s red blood cells. The cells deteriorate and this leads to anemia. It’s not difficult to see how regular ingestion of scraps containing onions can lead to this potentially fatal condition.

13. Chives

Chives are in the onion family and they have the same effect on dogs and cats as onions. They have a potential for causing anemia, poor health and death.  While cooking with chives is extremely common you might want to cut it out of your diet for the sake of your dog.  Try using substitutes like powders or particular spices that are more amenable to your pets’ health.

14. Garlic

Garlic is a third ingredient that can lead to anemia in dogs and cats. While it helps humans to have a healthy heart, it can deteriorate the red blood cells in pets.  Remember that the biscuits or other dog treats you feed your dog are usually more than adequate sources of nutrition.  You might think garlic or something like it might be supplemental to your dogs health but the truth is that it can be detrimental.

15. Chocolate

Most dogs love the taste of chocolate but it isn’t good for them. It contains compounds known as methylxanthines which do not negatively affect humans, but can be fatal for pets. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion and toxicity are diarrhea (which may be fatal), vomiting, seizures and irregular heartbeat.  This is probably the biggest “no brainer” when it comes to dogs.  NO chocolate under any circumstances.

16. Salt

When people or animals ingest excessive amounts of salt, it is a health risk. Too much salt for dogs can cause the fluid balance in the body and its cells to change. Symptoms include tremors, seizures and coma. There are may foods and non food items that may be eaten by pets that contain large amounts of salt. Playdough that is made at home and rock salt are dangerous and should be kept out of your pets reach to avoid possible poisoning.

17. Yeast Dough

Raw dough that contains yeast can be a threat to the well-being of your pet. When ingested, it can swell and cause a deadly buildup of gas in the stomach. This can lead to torsion or rupture of the stomach which is potentially life threatening.

18. Tobacco

Products that contain nicotine can be fatal for your dog. Ingestion of tobacco or other nicotine laden products can cause the dog to become excited, to vomit, to have tremors and to experience paralysis that is usually fatal.

19. Sugar-free foods

Any food or candy products that contain the ingredient Xylitol are bad for your pet. They have the potential to cause the blood sugar levels in your pet’s body to drop. leading to severe liver damage and death. Any food or beverage that has a sugar substitute has the potential to be deadly for your dog. In the same regard, sugary items are not good for people or pets and should be avoided entirely.

20. Spicy Food

The digestive system of a dog is not designed to tolerate spicy hot foods. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea and/or stomach ulcers with hazardous consequences.

How pets are poisoned by everyday foods

Pet owners often innocently give a begging dog a taste of the food that they’re eating. There is less risk of health consequences in smaller amounts, but for some of the more toxic foods, it’s not worth taking the chance. The dog is most likely to become ill or die if they are given a regular helping of table scraps. Unless you know for certain that there are no ingredients in the scraps you allow, it’s best to stick with a high quality dog food that is specially formulated for the needs of your pet.

Another consequence of table scraps

Once your pet gets a taste of table scraps, they may prefer it to the traditional dog food that you’ve been feeding them. They may avoid eating the healthy food in hopes that you’ll give them more of what you’re having. This is a habit that is much too easy to fall into and very difficult for both you and your pet to break. It’s best for their health to offer only healthy types of the foods recommended for their nutritional needs.

How to prevent accidental poisoning

Some dogs are garbage hounds because they know that this is where they can sink their teeth into some tasty table scraps. While some dogs are easy to train and don’t present this problem, others are harder to break as they can’t seem to resist the temptation. Keep all garbage and food scraps in a secure place where your pet won’t have access.

Avoid leaving food out on the counter or table because some pets will jump up to steal a bite. Most garbage bags are made of flimsy plastic and tearing through them to get to the contents is child’s play for a hungry dog.

Be aware of what is in the foods that you cook. It is not recommended to feed scraps to dogs, but if this is something that you know you’re going to do, only give them foods that are free of potentially harmful ingredients. Some pet owners prepare their pet food from home using lean proteins such as chicken or lamb and grains.

So long as you’re aware of what is healthy for your pet and what is not, you can help to prevent accidental poisoning. Don’t allow others to feed your dog scraps. This is a good house rule to have because children who don’t know any better may accidentally give them a big dose of a food on the bad for dogs list.

What to do if your pet eats a food that is dangerous

The first thing to do is to call your family veterinarian. They will be able to give you advice on what to do if your pet has ingested a food that is bad for him or her. Try to find out how much they ate, when it happened and how they are acting. In most cases, a few bites won’t cause any problems, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Some vets will recommend inducing vomiting and monitoring while others may simply instruct you to watch the dog for symptoms. The course of action that is taken generally depends on what the dog ate, how much was eaten and if there are any symptoms present. Veterinary bills for poisoned pets can be expensive and if too much damage is done, they may not be able to save the animal.

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