You’re cooking and you drop a piece of food, only to find your dog swooping in to eat it. Or you get up from your plate for a second only to turn around and find your dog munching your lunch!
You might wonder if it’s safe…after all, there are plenty of human foods that dogs can eat. But there are plenty more that should be avoided at all costs, and some of them might surprise you.
Read on to find out what foods to never feed your dog, and what to do about it if your four-legged friend accidentally has some.
We’ve all heard not to give our dogs chocolate, but do you know why? The problem is chocolate contains theobromine—an alkaloid in cacao plants that’s lethal to dogs.
Not all chocolate has the same amount of theobromine. While you should avoid chocolate for dogs in general, if your dog happens to ingest a small amount of milk chocolate or white chocolate, chances are they will be ok. The milk content in those products usually outweighs the cacao content.
Dark chocolate, however, has a much higher cacao content and is lethal to dogs—even in small doses! In fact, less than an ounce is enough to kill an average sized dog.
Signs that your dog is suffering from eating too much chocolate are vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures. Don’t risk this one! Keep chocolate away from dogs.
It’s a common misconception that frozen grapes are a good treat for dogs to help them cool down in the summer.
The truth is that grapes are extraordinarily toxic to dogs and should never be offered to them. Even just a few grapes can cause damage to your pet’s kidneys. If you are looking for a fun frozen treat for your pet try frozen blueberries instead.
Raisins are even more toxic to dogs. Even just a fun sized box of raisins can cause kidney failure in your dog.
Early signs that your dog has ingested a toxic level of grapes or raisins are repeated vomiting and increased thirst.
Many dogs love peanut butter, and certain peanut butters can be healthy for them. But that isn’t the case for all nuts. Macadamia nuts should never be given to a dog.
Even as little as 6 macadamia nuts can make your pet sick! Look for muscle weakness and trembling, dizziness, fever, and/or vomiting if your pet may have eaten anything with macadamia nuts in them.
This artificial sweetener is found in everything from sugar free gum to diet sodas, as well as other sugar free sweets. Unfortunately even the smallest amounts of xylitol are lethal to dogs.
Vomiting and diarrhea are signs of poisoning in the early stages. Eventually your dog could have seizures followed by kidney failure in as little as a day.
Onions & Garlic
Watch out while cooking if you drop food on the floor—onions and garlic are dangerous to dogs! The danger comes in any form: minced, sliced, dehydrated, whole, or powdered.
In fact, the entire Allium family that onions and garlic belong to (which includes leeks and chives) are poisonous to dogs. The most dangerous is garlic, which is five times more toxic than the others to dogs.
Even small amounts of garlic can cause anemia in dogs. Signs to look for are pale gums, weakness, and fainting. These symptoms can be delayed, so if you think your dog may have ingested some, keep a close eye on them for a few days.
Has your dog ever tried to drink your coffee or tea? Caffeine in any form (cocoa, coffee, soda, tea, etc) can be lethal to dogs. It’s not just the liquid form that’s dangerous—coffee grounds, beans, or tea bags can also cause problems.
If your dog has a tendency to get in the trash, make sure to throw your grounds in another receptacle. If you suspect your pet has ingested any amount of caffeine, call your vet immediately.
This one is tricky because we know that dogs LOVE bones! The problem is, certain kinds of bones tend to splinter. If your dog ingests bones, they can tear up the esophagus and even their intestines. If you are not sure which kind of bones your dog can have, it’s best to not chance it and forgo them completely.
While cinnamon is not nearly as risky or dangerous as some of the items on this list, it still isn’t a great choice for your dog. The oils in cinnamon can irritate the inside of your pet’s mouth and cause a great deal of discomfort.
Ground cinnamon can even cause choking and breathing problems. Other effects of cinnamon include upset stomach, low blood sugar, and if eaten over a prolonged period of time, liver damage.
While these are nowhere near as dangerous as macadamia nuts, they’re still not great for your dog if eaten whole. The problem with almonds is they are difficult to chew and often splinter, potentially damaging the esophagus.
Almond butter, however, is still a safe treat for your pet. So if you’re in a peanut-free home and you still want your pet to enjoy the perks of peanut butter, almond butter is a great alternative.
When In Doubt, Call Your Vet
We all know accidents happen with pets. Even the most diligent dog owners might find that their furry best friend got into one of these foods. If that happens, call your vet immediately. (or if it’s after hours, call a local emergency vet.) Fast action could save your dog’s life!