We all know the dangers of certain foods for our dogs. Chocolate: avoid it completely. Grapes: don’t give to a dog. These words have been drilled into our heads for decades but did you know there are many other foods that are dangerous to dogs. In addition, some are even put into dog treats and dog food. Today, we are going to go through ten of the most dangerous foods you can give your dog.
Dangerous Foods Number One: Alcohol
There are tons of movies where the dog downs a beer alongside his ne’re-do-well owner. It seems like a bit of harmless fun but the fact is alcohol can be deadly for dogs.
The reason for this is because of the ingredients that go into making alcohol. Most alcohols are fermented and the ingredients create ethanol, which is highly poisonous to dogs. If your dog ingests more than one or two sips, it can be very dangerous for him.
While alcohol affects the liver in humans, it does so to a greater extent in dogs since their livers cannot break down alcohol.
Symptoms of alcohol or ethanol poisoning in your dog are:
- Slowed movement
- Loss of coordination
- Severe diarrhea
- Decreased blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Drop in body temperature
If it is not treated by a vet, it can lead to death. Avoid alcohol, even small amounts.
Dangerous Foods Number Two: Moldy Foods
It is almost a given that we shouldn’t feed our dog moldy food, however, sometimes we don’t think about it. After all, dogs eat just about everything so why would spoiled food be a problem. Other times, dogs simply sneak it from the garbage or from the composting heap and we don’t worry about it too much.
However, that should be the case. Mold is toxic to everyone, including your dog. Mycotoxins are the offending agent in mold that is deadly for everyone. Symptoms that you may see if your dog eats moldy or spoiled food are:
- Dog appears disoriented
- High Fever
- Abdominal pain
- Tremors and seizures
If you think your dog has eaten any mold, take him to the vet immediately. Treatment is through inducing vomiting and IV fluids and medications. If aggressive treatment is done, the prognosis is good. However, eating moldy foods can be lethal for a dog if treatment is not done in time.
Dangerous Foods Number Three: Macadamia Nuts
Since dogs can eat many different nuts, we don’t often think about macadamia nuts being a problem. That, combined with the fact that we don’t often eat macadamia nuts, they are often overlooked by parents.
However, the macadamia nut is a very dangerous food and is often listed as one of the top dangerous foods for dogs. The reason why, however, is not clear as scientists have not been able to identify a specific toxin in the nut.
However, it is very toxic and as little as 1/10th of an ounce for every two pounds of weight can lead to severe poisoning. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty walking
With mild cases, treatment is simply to monitor the dog. However, with severe cases, vomiting may be induced as well as IV fluids and medications. Prognosis is usually very good for dogs after treatment.
Dangerous Foods Number Four: Milk
Milk is a bit confusing since, like humans, some dogs are not lactose intolerant and other dogs are. The general rule is that puppies are not lactose intolerant. After they are weaned, they can begin developing the intolerance but not all dogs develop it.
This means that while milk isn’t life threatening when it is consumed by a dog, it can be very uncomfortable. In addition, many dogs will experience no side effects from eating milk products such as the occasional ice cream.
However, if the dog has lactose intolerance, symptoms that can occur include:
- Abdominal pain
Generally, the symptoms will clear up on their own. However, it is important to watch for dehydration if your dog is losing a lot of liquids.
Dangerous Foods Number Five: Onions
Onions are another dangerous food but they are often added to a lot of different homemade recipes for dog treats and dog foods. If you find a recipe containing onions, avoid it. In general, a small amount of onion, less than a 1/4 ounce per pound of weight, won’t have any ill effects but more can be dangerous.
Unlike other of the foods we are listing, onion doesn’t not cause poisoning. Instead, the toxin in the onion, N-propyl disulfide, leads to a breakdown of blood red cells.
This causes the dog to develop hemolytic anemia, which is the inability to carry oxygen in the red blood cells and the body destroying those red blood cells. Symptoms of onion toxicity are:
- Pale gums
- Reddish urine
- Decreased appetite
Treatment for onion toxicity is through induced vomiting and IV fluids. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary. For any case, supportive care is needed until the dog’s red blood cells return to normal.
Dangerous Foods Number Six: Garlic
Garlic belongs to the same family as onions and poses the same risks for dogs. Again, like onion, many recipes out there call for small amounts of garlic for dogs as a health benefit.
It is important to note that there are no concrete studies proving garlic is a healthy supplement for dogs and should be avoided. We also know that small doses of garlic does not lead to garlic toxicity, but it is best to avoid it all together.
In garlic, the toxin that produces the oxidative damage to the red blood cells is called thiosulfate. This, in turn, leads to hemolytic anemia.
Symptoms of garlic toxicity are:
- Rapid breathing
- Pale Gums
- Dark colored urine
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal pain
Treatment is through induced vomiting, IV fluids and, possibly, a blood transfusion.
Dangerous Foods Number Seven: Bacon
I feel like a villain for posting bacon on this list. The hard fact is that bacon is a dangerous food for dogs. It isn’t that the dog will have a toxic reaction to bacon itself and many dogs can eat it for years without any problems.
However, the more they eat it, the greater the risk of the dog developing pancreatitis. This is an extremely painful condition where the pancreas and surrounding tissue and organs become inflamed. Treatment is through veterinarian care.
To avoid this condition from occurring, leave the bacon for everyone else except your dog.
Dangerous Foods Number Eight: Raw Pork
While we are on the topic of pork, let’s discuss raw pork. With the advancements of the RAW or BARF diet, more people are switching their dogs to raw. However, in the big world of raw meats, not all are created equal and pork is one of those.
Avoid giving your dog any raw pork as it contains the parasite trichinella spiralis larvae, which is a type of roundworm. When consumed, the parasite causes an infection called trichinosis. Symptoms of trichinosis are:
- Upset stomach
- Joint and muscle pain
- High fever
Treatment is through the use of a dewormer specifically designed for this parasite. Usually it is a 2 week round of treatment and the vet may also treat the symptoms separately.
Dangerous Foods Number Nine: Avocado
Avocado is a healthy super food for humans, but not for animals.
Avocado contains the chemical persin, which is dangerous for dogs. It leads to many health problems including:
- Heart Failure
Persin is fatal without treatment. Every part of the avocado is poisonous for dogs, including the leaves and plant itself.
While small amounts of avocado doesn’t usually affect a dog, large amounts may need veterinarian care. The vet may induce vomiting and will monitor the dog for other health problems—treating them as necessary.
Dangerous Foods Number 10: Caffeine
Any food that contains caffeine is a big no-no for your dog. Tea, coffee, pop, energy drinks and the list goes on, should never be fed to a dog.
While a sip or two of the beverages won’t cause any issues, more than that, especially for smaller dogs, can lead to severe poisoning and even death.
Caffeine poisoning has many symptoms and can include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Abnormal heart beat
- Hyperthermia, which is severe fever
If your dog consumes any amount of caffeine, take him to the emergency vet immediately. Without treatment, caffeine poisoning can be fatal.
With all of our dangerous foods on the list, small amounts are usually okay for your dog to consume. It does not lead to many side effects. However, it is better for your dog to avoid giving them any quantity of these 10 foods. If your dog eats any of these dangerous foods, contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you suspect your dog has consumed any of these dangerous foods, contact either your vet or animal poison control.