Dog owners love nothing more than rewarding their four-legged friends with treats and snacks.
But feeding our pets anything other than dog food can be risky as foods that are perfectly fine for humans can be really dangerous for dogs. In some cases, they may even be fatal.
That’s why we need to be careful with what we offer, but what’s worrying is many dog owners are completely unaware that some foods are dangerous for their pets.
That’s why we decided to put together this guide to some of the most perilous foods for our dogs. While some might be more obvious, others are sure to take you by surprise.
Many dog owners know they shouldn’t feed their dogs chocolate but some are still unaware, which is why we’ve included it on this list.
The reason chocolate poses such a threat to dogs is that it contains an alkaloid called theobromine which is located in the cocoa beans used to make it.
We humans are able to metabolise theobromine effectively, which is why it doesn’t make us sick. However, dogs process it much more slowly, which results in a build-up that can be toxic.
Once this occurs, it can start to affect the central nervous and cardiovascular systems in dogs, with symptoms ranging from increased heart rate, restlessness and tremors. In particularly extreme cases the symptoms can also include seizures or even death.
Some types of chocolate are worse than others for your dogs. Dark chocolate is especially risky as it contains higher levels of theobromine than, for example, milk chocolate. Likewise, some dogs are more susceptible to illness than others, with smaller dogs more likely to get sick.
Every member of the onions family (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives) are poisonous to dogs due to the presence of compounds such as thiosulphate.
As dogs lack the necessary stomach enzymes to digest these substances, this results in the destruction of red blood cells and the potential development of hemolytic anaemia.
Even small amounts of these plants can be dangerous for your dog, with symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal distress to more severe issues like difficulty breathing or collapse.
As a dog owner, you need to be particularly vigilant with onions. Although your dog is unlikely to eat unattended onions on their own, if the vegetable is present on sandwiches or pizzas then it could be a different story!
If your dog does ingest onions, seek veterinary attention immediately to ensure the wellbeing of your pet.
Grapes And Raisins
Another food that many people know is toxic to dogs is grapes. This includes raisins, which are basically just dried grapes!
Although we’ve been aware of the toxicity of grapes to canines for quite some time, what isn’t known is why, as scientists haven’t been able to identify the exact substance in grapes that causes illness.
Some dogs have been known to develop symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and abdominal pain after consuming grapes or raisins. In more serious cases, kidney failure can occur, which poses a life-threatening risk.
Macadamia nuts are considered a healthy snack due to their abundance of vitamins and minerals, as well as their high content of monounsaturated fats, which can contribute to heart health.
But while they may be good for us, the same can’t be said for our dogs. Like grapes the exact cause of their toxicity is unknown, but Macadamia nuts are harmful to dogs as they can cause symptoms like weakness, vomiting and hyperthermia.
If your dog enjoys nuts, the good news is there’s plenty they can indulge in that won’t put them at risk. Try pistachios, hazelnuts and cashews, although be sure to limit the amount you offer as nuts are calorie-dense and may lead to weight gain if too many are consumed.
Avocados contain a chemical called persin which in large quantities can be toxic to some animals, including dogs.
The good news is most of the persin is contained in the leaves of the plant – yes, avocado plants have leaves! So with small amounts in the fruit’s flesh, it’s unlikely your dog will get enough to make them seriously ill.
But while avocado may not pose a threat to your dog’s life quite like some of the other inclusions on this list, it can still cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
Corn On The Cob
If you offered your dog corn on the cob, chances are they’d wolf it down. But this could prove dangerous as, although the corn is perfectly fine for them to consume, the cob can get stuck in their airways, making it a choking hazard.
So if you want to feed your dog corn, just make sure you remove it from the cob first.
Another potential choke hazard is cooked bones. While many dog owners assume these are fine to give to their animals as canines would consume bones in their natural diets, when cooked they can splinter.
This can cause a raft of problems for your pooch, including blockages, constipation and in severe cases they can even puncture the gut which can be fatal.
If your dog loves nothing more than chewing on a bone, you don’t need to deprive them of this pleasure. Just make sure they’re uncooked.
In their bid to market their products are low calorie, food manufacturers often add artificial sweeteners to our sweet treats.
But these can be fatal to our dogs as they can cause a range of issues including hypoglycaemia which is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders.
The most poisonous of those is Xylitol, which has a catastrophic impact on their insulin. When dogs ingest xylitol, it causes a rapid release of insulin from the pancreas, leading to a sudden decrease in blood sugar levels, a condition known as hypoglycemia.
This condition can result in symptoms such as vomiting, seizures and even liver failure. So the next time you go to offer your dog some of your sweet treats, think twice as they may contain ingredients that are potentially extremely harmful.
Microchipping Your Pet
Avoiding the foods mentioned in this post is all part of responsible dog ownership. Another part of being a responsible owner is getting your dog microchipped – not only that, but it’s a legal requirement.
A microchip is a tiny implant that’s placed under your dog’s skin. This chip contains all of your contact information, so if your pet ever goes missing and is brought to a vet or shelter, they can carry out a microchip lookup to identify the owner.
The law states that all dogs must be microchipped. It’s also your responsibility as the owner to update the details such as your home address if it changes.
With that said, many dog owners are forgetting to do this, resulting in thousands of dogs being unable to be reunited with their owners.
So if you’re a dog owner then make sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date as this will ensure you’re complying with the law, as well as giving your pet a much better chance of coming back if it’s lost.