It can be easy to get caught up in feeding your dog a good diet, that you forget about foods you need to avoid entirely. This list is a top ten of the most dangerous foods for dogs that need to be avoided.
A big no-no is chocolate. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for your dog: however, ALL chocolate should be avoided. This is because of the chemical theobromine, along with caffeine. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can take several hours to show, but they can be fatal. These include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate, panting, restlessness, and increased thirst and urination.
2. Cooked Bones
Cooked bones can be deadly because of the fragility of the bone. Even if they feel tough to you, your dog’s teeth can easily splinter the bone, creating sharp shards. These can puncture your dog’s mouth and throat, but they can also cause blockages further down the digestive system, which can be fatal.
This chemical is commonly found as a sugar substitute in a lot of human foods, but can be fatal to our furry friends. It can cause dangerously low blood sugar, liver failure, and seizures. Top foods to look out for are: peanut butter, sweets, human medications, and anything marketed as sugar-free or diabetic-friendly.
Onions and garlic are part of the same family of plants and, whilst common in human food, can cause severe problems for our pets. If your dog manages to get hold of some, they may start vomiting pretty soon after, but the most serious problems could take days to appear. These are all related to irritation of the digestive tract. Look out for: lethargy, drooling, excessive scratching or licking of their bellies (this can be a sign of discomfort), low appetite, and weakness. In severe cases, your dog may experience kidney failure, collapse, or death.
Grapes (and their dried form, raisins) are severely toxic for dogs, and can cause issues even in very small quantities. The main concern with grapes is that they can cause sudden kidney failure, which can be fatal. Other signs to look out for include: lethargy and weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, and excessive drinking and urination. If you suspect your dog has eaten a grape, get in contact with your vet immediately.
6. Wild Mushrooms
Whilst mushrooms from the local supermarket can be good for your dog in small quantities, wild mushrooms can cause a host of issues. The symptoms your dog experience will vary depending on the type of mushroom, but the common ones are: vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling, weakness/lethargy, collapse, and organ failure. Some species of mushroom also affect the brain, and can lead to swaying movements and hallucinations. If your dog eats some wild mushrooms and you have to take them to the vets, try to take the mushroom with you as it will help with getting your dog the right treatment.
The flesh of raw cherries is okay for a dog to eat, but the danger lies in the pip, stem and leaves. All of these parts of a cherry contain cyanide, which is a potentially deadly compound, and the pips can also cause intestinal blockages. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include heavy and laboured breathing, dilated pupils, and bright red gums, whilst signs of an intestinal blockage can be vomiting, constipation, low appetite, and abdominal discomfort. You should also avoid maraschino and glace cherries as, whilst they have no pips, they are heavily sweetened – which can lead to digestive upset, obesity, and even diabetes in the long run.
Avocado contains a toxin known as persin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, heart problems, and death in large quantities. This is found in every aspect of the avocado, but is more concentrated in the skin and the pit (which can also cause intestinal obstructions). However, the flesh also contains a high level of fat, which can cause digestive upset, weight gain, and pancreatitis, so it’s best to avoid avocado all together.
9. Macadamia Nuts
These nuts are highly toxic to dogs: even the smallest taste can have major ramifications for your pup. The most common symptom of toxicity is weakness in your dog’s back legs, which may mean they struggle to walk. Other signs include: vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, excessive shaking/tremors, and fever. If you think your dog has eaten any of these nuts, it’s important to get them to your vet straight away. Other nuts can also have serious effects on our furry friends, so it’s better to always check if a particular nut is safe for your dog before offering it. Bear in mind that nuts are also naturally fatty, which also causes issues if fed in large quantities.
10. Corn on the Cob
Whilst sweetcorn itself is perfectly safe for dogs, corn on the cob poses a threat of intestinal blockage, and should be kept away from our much loved pets. Signs that your pup is suffering with a blockage are: a lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal discomfort (this includes licking or scratching excessively at their bellies, or flinching when you touch it). It’s important to call your vets if you notice these signs, as they may need to operate to remove the offending cob.
Because of the dangerous nature of these foods, you should keep them out of reach of your dog. If your dog is a keen counter-surfer, make sure you keep them in airtight containers, ideally behind child-locked doors (or in the fridge). It’s also wise to invest in a dog-proof bin with a firm lid. If the foods are found outside, you may want to consider muzzling your dog on walks, or keeping them on-lead so you can control what they have access to. Make sure your garden is free of these dangerous foods for dogs too. If your dog ingests any of these foods, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately.