Avoid These Pet-toxic Foods
If your dog has ingested any of these 37 foods, watch your pet for sign of poisoning; if you see anything unusual, get veterinary help ASAP.
If you call your vet and he does not seem to be properly concerned and you want a second opinion, you can call the ASPCA Poison Hotline at (888)426-4435. A $60 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
Most of the basic information is drawn from the ASPCA website, but toxic quantities and vet treatments are offered by Jenna Stregowski, RVT, on About.com., and other (credited below) authors have added other dangerous products to the original list.
- Alcohol(beverages and food products with alcohol, which contains ethanol). Overdose can cause sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia (low body temperature). It is not usually helpful to induce vomiting. Treatment must begin quickly and includes “aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.” (Stregowski, About.com)
Note that, in the event of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning, a vet may use alcohol as an antidote. (Stregowski)
- Animal fatand fried foods: Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.
- Avocados: The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark are all toxic; they contain Persin. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
- Baby foodcan contain onion powder, which can cause problems. See “onions.”
- Baking soda and baking powderin large amounts can cause an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to muscle spasm or congestive heart failure.
- Bones: cooked chicken and fish bones can splinter, causing lacerations and obstructions.
Even larger cooked bones can splinter and damage a dog’s internal organs. Raw-bone eating should always be supervised since a piece can always break off and cause problems. Try frozen oxtails or frozen knuckle bones; then take the bone away before the dog can swallow a final, small piece whole. It’s a good natural way to clean teeth, too. (treshanley.com)
- Broccoli, in large quantities, is toxic. (animalpetsandfriends.com)
- Caffeine: Coffee, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags. Drinks/foods containing caffeine cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes because they all contain methylxanthines. Warning signs include the common reactions to toxicity: vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and death. (ASPCA.org)
- Cat foodis very high in protein and fats and can cause pancreatitis in dogs. All high fat foods (including ham and bacon) can trigger pancreatitis. (Mia Carter; petcaresuite.com)
- Chocolatecan cause the same toxic signs as the caffeinated products. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous: 2 ounces can poison a 20# dog, but it would take 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause the same effect. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine, because it is not as concentrated, but it is still a dangerous food.
Once signs appear, a “vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.” (Stregowski, About.com)
- Dairy productsare high in fat and many dogs are lactose intolerant. Such products can cause gas and diarrhea, although small quantities of yogurt and cheese are usually tolerated. (animalpetsandfriends.com)
- Eggscan be ok, but raw eggs can cause salmonella poisoning and depletion of biotin in dogs. Also avoid the egg whites. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, and are less likely to suffer from food poisoning, but it is still possible. Lightly scrambled eggs are OK. It’s best to use organic eggs if you are going to offer them to your pooch.
- Fruit pits and seeds. Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and plums are OK; it’s the pits and seeds that are unsafe. The seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans.
Watch for vomiting, heavy breathing, cardiac arrythmias, skin irritation and coma. Antidotes may be available for some cases; others will require oxygen therapy, fluids and supportive care. (Stregowski, About.com)
Unlike humans, dogs do not know to stop eating at the core/pit and easily ingest them. Pits can also become lodged in the intestines and kill the dog in 24 hours without warning. (treshanley.com)
- Garlicis similar to onions; contains sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells.
- Grapes and raisinscan cause kidney failure in dogs. As few as 4 to 5 grapes or raisins can be toxic to a 20# dog. Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours and even sooner. The toxic substance is unknown.
- Hops, like that used in beer. Hops can cause intoxication, liver failure, coma, seizures, and death. (Mia Carter)
- Human vitamins, especially those with iron, can cause damage to the lining of the digestive system as well as cause kidney and liver damage. (animalpets)
- Liveris too high in iron.
- Marijuanais toxic to dogs.
- Milkcan cause diarrhea or other digestive upset. (See dairy products)
- Mushroomscan be deadly. Never let your pets chew on mushrooms found in
your yard. The only safe, “food” mushrooms are shitaki, maitake and reishi.
- Nuts. Macadamia nuts and walnuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle
tremor, depressions, vomiting, and hyperthermia. Warning signs usually occur within 6 to 24 hours and may last 12 to 48 hours. Some dogs have allergic reactions to peanuts, similar to humans.
Limit all other nuts, as they are not good for dogs in general; their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. The exception to this rule seems to be peanut butter.
However, always use salt/sugar-free, organic peanut butter because sugar encourages cancer growth. Use only organic peanut butter since regular peanut butter has lots of toxins and is full of pesticides (proportionate to the size of a small animal vs. humans)!
- Nutmegcan cause tremors, seizures and death. (treshanley.com)
- Onions, garlic and chivescan cause gastrointestinal irritation and can destroy red blood cells and cause anemia. Toxic signs are “secondary to anemia”: pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other serious signs are vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody urine. (About.com)
- Persimmonscan cause intestinal blockage.
- Potatoes. Green potatoes and potato skins can trigger tremors, seizures and heart arrythmias. (petcaresuite101.) The green part contains the toxin, solanine; but cooked potatoes are safe and nutritious for dogs. (doggiebistro)
- Raisins. See Grapes.
- Rhubarb. Contains oxalates, same as tomatoes and potatoes.
- Salmon, raw,can contain a parasite that causes illness, with a 90% mortality rate. (doggiebistro.com)
- Salt: Excessive salt intake can cause sodium ion poisoning and result in vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, depression, elevated body temperature, seizures, and death.
- Sugar and corn syrups. Can cause dental problems, just like with humans, but can also lead to the onset of diabetes.Even organic is bad for dogs! (This does not include honey or molasses, although they should only be offered in small amounts and never fed to dogs with cancer.)
- Tobaccois toxic to dogs.
- Tomatoescan cause tremors and heart arrhythmias. Green tomatoes and the leaves and plants contain “oxalates, which can trigger abnormalities in the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract.” (Mia Carter; petcare.suite) Tomatoes themselves are unsafe foods, but the plants are even more toxic.
- Turkeyskins have a high fat content and can cause pancreatitis.
- Vitamins, human; also listed under “Human vitamins.” Iron is the most problematic ingredient.
- Yeast doughwill rise and cause gas, which can be painful, and the stomach or intestines can rupture. Cooked dough, as bread, can be safe in small amounts and offered as treats.
- Xylitolis a sweetener used in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. Even a small amount can cause liver failure and death. Warning signs can occur within 30 to 60 minutes and may include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and seizures. “As few as two pieces of gum can [cause] hypoglycemia in a 20# dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage.” (Stregowski, About.com)
Although this is not an exhaustive list, dog owners should be alert if their dog has eaten toxic levels of these common foods. Some foods to avoid should be obvious: botulism from garbage can cause paralysis; rotting foods are no-noes; moldy foods can cause muscle tremors and convulsions.
People foods that are high in fats, sugars and/or sodium can cause electrolyte imbalances, obesity, indigestion, etc., just like they do in people.
If you suspect your pet has gotten a toxic dose of anything listed, get him to a vet ASAP.