While it might be tempting to share your food with your dog, it’s important to remember that some of our favourite foods are toxic and can be fatal for dogs.
Here’s a list of foods toxic to dogs - you should never give your dog these foods and always keep them safely out of reach of furry paws.
But first, what should you do if your dog eats something toxic?
If your dog eats one of these foods poisonous to dogs, get to the vet straight away. Even calling ahead so they can be prepared for your arrival is important. They’ll be able to provide the best, urgent treatment needed to prevent further sickness and long-term health complications.
So, what foods are toxic to dogs?
Sometimes fun for humans, alcohol is the total opposite for dogs. Even if your dog only drinks a small amount of your favourite tipple, they’ll still feel the effects of the alcohol but it can also lead to sickness, vomiting, diarrhoea, damage to their central nervous system, coma or death. Take care that alcohol is not within your dog’s reach and clean up any spills quickly (before someone else cleans them up for you).
While you might go on a café run together, it’s definitely no smashed avo for your pupper! Avocado plants contain persin in leave, seeds and fruits, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
If you’re a keen baker of bread at home, keep any uncooked bread dough containing yeast away from your dog. If they eat this, it can expand and bloat your dog’s stomach and intestine. Yeast also produces ethanol, which can have the same effects on your dog as alcohol.
While it's a treat for us, chocolate for dogs is definitely not a treat. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains theobromine, which can cause kidney failure. Take extra caution with your chocolate treats around Easter and Christmas time.
Coffee and caffeine
These human pick-me-ups both contain methylxanthines. In pets, rather than give them a buzz for the start to the day, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and death. Chocolate coated coffee beans are definitely out!
Cooked bones for dogs can be dangerous as they can easily splinter when they’re chewed on. If these splinters are swallowed, they can get caught in the gut and cause a blockage. A blocked GI tract will result in lethargy and vomiting initially and is life threatening if left untreated. Splinters of bones may even perforate the gut, which can also be fatal.
What about raw bones?
Raw bones, however, are OK providing that you always supervise your dog while they’re chewing away. The bones should also be about the size of your dog’s head, not in small chunks, as they could be swallowed and be a choking hazard. And while your dog might bury a bone to save for later, this isn’t a good idea and neither are frozen bones.
Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas and Currants
These fresh and dried fruits can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lead to kidney failure and severe liver damage. Unfortunately, these ingredients are often in lots of different foods, like cakes, hot cross buns, breakfast cereals and biscuits, and even in places like kids’ lunch boxes. Make sure these foods are always well away from your dog.
Macadamia nuts can affect a dog’s nervous system and muscles, resulting in vomiting, muscle tremors, swollen, weak limbs and noticeable, unusual panting.
Mushrooms can have many toxic effects from an upset the tummy through to more severe illnesses of the kidney, liver and nervous system depending on the species of mushroom ingested. This can result in vomiting, diarrohea, dehydration, seizures and more serious problems such as liver failure.
Milk and Dairy
While some dogs can tolerate small amounts of milk and dairy foods, for other dogs this can cause diarrhoea and upset stomachs, as dogs don’t have the same amount of lactase in their bodies, which is used to break down lactose in milk.
Onions, garlic and chives
Whether onions and garlic are cooked or not, they are toxic to dogs. They can damage and destroy red blood cells so you may not see the signs of toxicity until a few days later.
We often get asked "Can dogs eat peanut butter?" Some peanut butters can include xylitol (more on this below), so check the label carefully before treating your dog. Consider a dog-friendly peanut butter, which is completely safe for your dog to indulge in!
Plums and peaches
Summer stone fruit season is always something to look forward to, but not so much for dogs. The seeds of plums and peaches contain a small amount of cyanide, but given their size, they’re a common choking hazard.
Salty foods and snacks
Foods like chips, pretzels and popcorn with extra salt added need to be kept in your snack bowl only. For dogs, very high levels of salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated body temperature and seizures.
Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
In the human quest for low-fat and low-sugar foods, artificial sweetener is now added to lots of foods like chewing gum, drinks and sweet foods in the form of xylitol. For dogs, this can often cause vomiting and then hypoglycaemia, which can lead to weakness, incoordination, collapse and seizures. It can also lead to blood clotting disorders and liver failure.
The information in this article was checked by ZamiPet Veterinarian and General Manager Dr Andrew McKay, BVSc, University of Melbourne, 2000. Vet Registration No: V3985
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health.