Human Foods Toxic to Dogs

applesThey are many potential emergencies facing your dog or cat, and although you will likely NEVER have to do anything, you should be PREPARED.  My first suggestion is that you are current on ALL the common pet toxins, then are comfortable responding IF you need to.  This will be the subject of an upcoming post.

Foods That Your Dog Should Never Eat

The following is a list of foods to avoid feeding your dog.

Avocado: Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic principle known as Persin. The Guatemalan variety is most toxic – but all have toxic potential. They cause vomiting/diarrhea – primarily gastrointestinal distress.

Chocolate (all forms): Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The toxic dose is 2 baking squares for a 10lb dog. Regular chocolate bars have little real chocolate and are seldom toxic.

Coffee (all forms): Coffee contains dangerous components called xanthines, which cause nervous system or urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation

Fatty foods: The primary concern here is severe gastrointestinal upset- and in some cases Pancreatitis. This can be fatal in some pets- and it is ALMOST always triggered by a High Fat Meal, such as gravy or bacon.

Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscles of dogs. This has lead to paralysis. A small number of nuts and even the butter can cause this.

Moldy or spoiled foods: Many molds contain a type of toxin called an Aflatoxin. This is thought to be a common cause of “compost toxicity”. Signs include GI (Vomiting/Diarrhea), muscle tremors, in-coordination, elevated temperature, excessive salivation, and liver damage. Avoid feeding ANYTHING moldy to your dog or cat. Also be aware that many commercial kibble has tested positive for aflatoxins and has sickened and killed dogs.

Onions, onion powder: Onions contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop anemia. One onion can cause this. Fortunately, ALL dogs recover once they are stopped from ingesting onions. A few cooked onions in some healthy leftovers shouldn’t be a problem.

Raisins and grapes: As few as 6 grapes and raisins have caused acute kidney failure in some dogs. The toxic ingredient is not yet known. There is no treatment for renal failure, so AVOID feeding ANY grapes or raisins to your dogs.

Yeast dough: The yeast dough/uncooked bread dough will rise in your pet’s stomach causing severe gastrointestinal distress (vomiting/diarrhea), bloating, and signs of alcohol toxicity.

Xylitol: Xylitol is a artificial sweeter found in “SUGAR FREE” Products, such as gum, candy etc. Signs relate to a sudden drop in glucose (blood sugar), incoordination, collapse and seizures. Avoid feeding any gum/candy to your pets. Also,  check labels if giving any human supplements. 

Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums (stems, seeds, and leaves): While the fruit is fine for your pet to eat, ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock. Note – it’s the seeds and stems that contain the toxic component, not the fruit itself.

Potato peelings and green looking potatoes: Potatoes and other Solanum species, including the tomato, are members of the nightshade family of plants. These plants contain solanine and other toxic alkaloids which, if eaten in large enough amounts, can produce drooling, severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, confusion, behavioral changes, weakness, dilated pupils and slowed heart rate. Don’t be concerned with leaving the peels on potatoes or sweet potatoes when cooking them up for your pet.

Nutmeg: High levels of nutmeg can be toxic, even fatal. The toxic component is unknown. Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death.

Tomato leaves & stems (green parts): The green parts of the tomato plant are considered toxic because they contain solanine, which has the potential to produce significant gastrointestinal and central nervous system effects.