Our dogs metabolise food differently from the way we do. For this reason, some foods are safe for humans to eat but might be toxic and potentially deadly for dogs.
On the other hand, there are many human foods that are perfectly safe and even healthy for dogs to eat as an occasional treat.
It’s always tempting to give our furry best friends a taste of something delicious off our plate – especially when they know exactly how to turn on those puppy-dog eyes! But even though we give them treats out of love, it can be a potentially fatal mistake.
The Controversial Foods
Let’s start with some of the foods that some will say are safe for your dogs while others say they are not. Don’t ever feed your dog something that you aren’t comfortable feeding them and always speak to your vet before adding new food to your dog’s diet.
Controversial Food #1 Avocados
Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin, that can cause some serious health problems. While dogs are more resistant to persin compared to other animals, it is still not 100% safe for your dog to eat.
Controversial Food #2 Mushrooms
There is no simple answer as to whether mushrooms are safe for dogs as there is such a wide variety of them, but mushrooms sold in a grocery store are generally suitable, as long as they weren’t prepared with ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
Controversial Food #3 Peanut butter
An all-time favourite treat that has become controversial over the years. Yes, it’s okay for your dog to eat as long as it doesn’t contain xylitol, which is toxic for dogs. So, stay away from the brands that are sugar-free as these generally use Xylitol in place of sugar.
Toxic Foods for Dogs
These are the foods that definitely aren’t safe for dogs to have, and regardless how much they might beg – they can’t get that last Quality Street from the tin!
Toxic Food #1 Alcohol
Ethanol and hops (used in beer) are both toxic for dogs. Even small amounts of alcohol, not only in drinks but in syrups and baked goods, can be toxic for your dog. If you think your dog might have gotten to the glass of wine left on the table it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible, as if they are left untreated, they can suffer from organ failure, and unfortunately even death.
Toxic Food #2 Caffeine
While a small sip of tea or coffee won’t do any damage, dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine than humans are and can suffer from caffeine poisoning, which can be fatal, if they have too much.
Toxic Food #3 Garlic
Large amounts of garlic can damage your dogs red blood cells and lead to GI problems such as nausea, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. This is due to the fact that, like onions, garlic contains thiosulfate which is toxic to dogs.
Toxic Food #4 Chocolate
While rarely fatal, chocolate can cause your dog to become violently ill. The chemical Theobromine, found in both chocolate and caffeine, is the compound that causes the damage. If your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, and they start to show signs of hyperactivity – it’s best to get them to a vet as soon as possible.
Toxic Food #5 Grapes
Grapes and raisins are some of the most toxic foods out there for dogs. While not much is known as to why they are so bad for dogs, what is known is that we should steer clear of letting our dogs try them. Any amount of them can cause very sudden kidney failure.
Toxic Food #6 Leeks
Leeks, onion, chives and garlic all fall within the same family and should definitely be avoided. The toxicity targets the red blood cells, causing them to rupture, this leads to anaemia, increased heart rate, elevated respirations collapse and often, death.
Toxic Food #7 Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are often listed as one of the top human foods to avoid giving to your dog. While researchers have not identified what causes them to be toxic, the nuts result in vomiting, ataxia, weakness and depression.
Toxic Food #8 Pits and Seeds from Fruit
As tempting as it is to allow your dog to finish your apple, the pips, seeds and stones from fruit contain cyanide and can be extremely harmful.
Toxic Food #9 Potatoes
While plain cooked potatoes, in moderation, are okay for your dog to eat, raw potatoes are a big no-no. The reason for this is that raw potatoes contain solanine. Solanine is a poisonous compound found in nightshade vegetables, but it drastically reduces when cooked.
Toxic Food #10 Sugar
Granulated sugar is bad for dogs in the same way it is for humans, a diet that has a lot of sugar in it may cause weight gain, diabetes and heart complications.
Toxic Food #11 Tomatoes
Tomatoes fall into the same family as potatoes and also have high amounts of solanine. While a small amount of tomatoes won’t cause your dog any harm, it’s best to be cautious and avoid feeding them to your dog altogether.
Toxic Food #12 Walnuts
Due to their high moisture content, walnuts are susceptible to a particular type of black mould that is extremely toxic to dogs. If you think your dog may have eaten a walnut, symptoms to look out for are vomiting, tremors, and seizures, and you should visit your vet immediately.
Toxic Food #13 Xylitol
Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and even small amounts can cause seizures, liver failure, and death. Due to the recent health crazes, we have been going through, so much of our foods are now sugar-free, what this means is that many products have replaced the sugar with xylitol, so it is extremely important that we always check the ingredients list before sharing our snack with our furry friends.
While we have taken care to list foods toxic to dogs, we suggest that sharing your food with dogs is kept to a minimum and that you always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.