Everyone has had an episode involving your dog eating the wrong food! Obviously, we won’t make a big deal out of it if he picked up the tip of the cucumber from the ground faster than you or the piece of cheese your toddler was shaking within reach. So what dog foods are bad for dogs? Beware, some foods are toxic for dogs while very safe for humans!
In this article we will discuss the 6 type of foods that are most toxic to dogs and we will look at the actions to take if your canine friend get poisoned
Why shouldn’t you give your dog chocolate or coffee?
Chocolate poisoning in dogs is probably the most common reason for being admitted to a vet’s emergency room. Chocolate and coffee contain molecules called methylxanthines which are very toxic to dogs. Indeed, the theobromine found in chocolate is a methylxanthine just like caffeine found in coffee or tea. The greater the quantity of methylxanthines ingested by the dog, the worse the toxicity level will be.
Methylxanthines from coffee will be absorbed very quickly, in 30 to 60 minutes, while it can take up to 10 hours for chocolate. Also, it’s important to know the % of cocoa in the chocolate your dog has eaten as the higher the cocoa percentage in the chocolate is, the worse the toxic effect will be. Thus, 70% dark chocolate will be more concentrated in theobromine than milk chocolate, which often times contains only negligible amounts.
Symptoms of a dog or puppy poisoned with chocolate
If your dog has eaten chocolate in any form, it will be important to contact your veterinarian to calculate the risk of toxicity based on your pet’s weight, amount and type of chocolate ingested. The first signs of toxicity are vomiting and diarrhea, then if the quantity ingested is high, your dog could be agitated, have heart palpitations, called tachyarrhythmias, and more seriously have convulsions, fall into a coma, or even die in as little as 24 hours.
What is the treatment when your dog ingests chocolate or coffee?
No antidote exists. So, if the ingestion is recent, your veterinarian can make your dog vomit and hospitalize him on intravenous fluids for 24 hours with appropriate treatments depending on his condition. When treated within 2 to 4 hours of ingestion, the prognosis is very good, so do not delay should you get in that situation!
What dog foods are bad for dogs? Onion and garlic are very dangerous!
Onion, garlic and all their derivatives in all forms (powder, raw or cooked) are toxic to animals, including dogs. Garlic is more toxic than onion, and concentrated forms such as powdered soup or powdered garlic are said to be more toxic than in raw form. The toxic reaction causes destruction of red blood cells and anemia will develop. The toxic damage can start within 24 hours, but signs of the disease may not be noticeable for 7 days after ingestion.
Garlic for dogs, a grandma’s thing?
An old grandma trick told us to give dogs garlic to treat their intestinal parasites. This practice could be dangerous! Also pay attention to any leftovers cooked with garlic or onion that you or a member of your family would like to give to your dog.
Symptoms and treatment of garlic or onion poisoning
Your dog might show signs of depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, increased breathing and heart rate and its gums may turn yellow. Its urine may also turn brown due to the destruction of red blood cells in his blood.
Again, with a recent ingestion, your veterinarian may cause your pet to vomit. Then, depending on his condition and the results of the blood tests, he may need a transfusion and be hospitalized with oxygen if the anemia is severe.
What dog foods are bad for dogs? Your dog should never eat macadamia nuts
The cause of macadamia nut toxicity is currently unknown! Following ingestion, dogs would develop clinical signs within the first 12 hours. Symptoms of poisoning will be fatigue, loss of balance, tremors, vomiting and fever.
If the ingestion is recent it’s a good idea to make your dog vomit and your veterinarian will aim at stabilizing the condition of the dog for a period of 24 to 48 hours, or until it returns to normal
Alcohol and yeast dough: why is it toxic to your dog?
The ethanol contained in alcoholic beverages and the fermentation of yeast in the dog’s stomach is extremely toxic. When your dog swallows your beautiful ball of dough, which rests as it rises, ethanol will be released from the yeasts that ferment in his stomach. Also, the amount of dough can be a concern as it will continue to expand in the stomach. It will also produce gases that can cause its stomach to expand and twist, on top of the toxic impact.
Intoxication from alcoholic beverages will be very rapid, within 30 minutes, while it can take several hours when ingesting dough while rising.
Ethanol poisoning can cause the following conditions:
- A drop in temperature
- Respiratory and heart problems
- Convulsions or even a coma
- Aspiration pneumonia (swallowing fluid in the lungs)
Treatments and possible complications with alcohol and yeast dough poisoning
Treatment consists of hospitalization with intravenous fluids, monitoring and correction of electrolyte imbalances, if any. Also, more specific drugs will be given in case of convulsions, pneumonia or coma for example. If the dog has a twisting stomach dilation secondary to the swollen dough ball, emergency surgery will be performed.
Sugar (xylitol) poisoning in dogs
Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in many commercial “low sugar” products. It contains 66% of the calories of sugar, while having a similar taste. Here is a list of products in which we can find xylitol:
- Chewing gum
- Barbecue sauce
- Peanut butter (if not natural)
- Dental care products
- Pastries and desserts
Please take special care to keep dogs away from chewing gum that can easily be left around and pay particular attention to homemade peanut butter cookie recipes for dogs.
Why is xylitol poisonous or even fatal for your dog?
Xylitol will be rapidly absorbed, within 30 minutes of ingestion, and will cause too much insulin release in dogs. Very quickly, severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) could develop. Be careful not to confuse it with canine diabetes, which is a different medical condition!
A dog that is poisoned with xylitol may see a loss of balance and go into convulsions. He may also experience liver failure, coagulation problems and could even die.
Treatment and prognosis when a dog eats food containing xylitol
As you can now easily guess inducing the dog to vomit is the first step followed by quick hospitalization to provide via intravenous ingestion, sugar supplement and drugs for its liver. If the blood test does not show too much damage to the liver the prognosis is usually good but will be worse if serious coagulation problems are already present.
What dog foods are bad for dogs? Fresh grapes and raisins are not recommended
Fresh grapes and raisins may poison your dog’s kidney, quickly leading to acute kidney failure. The toxic content in grapes is still uncertain as well as the quantity causing toxicity. Thus, it is advisable to check with your veterinarian if your dog had some.
What symptoms can we observe in a dog that has eaten grapes?
The elevation of renal parameters in a blood test will be noticeable within 6 to 12 hrs of ingestion and around the same time the dog will present signs of diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness and urinary problems will follow. The animal may have some degree of kidney disease for the rest of its life or in more severe cases may die.
Hospitalization with intravenous fluid before the onset of signs will result in very good prognosis. It is therefore important to act fast and quickly bring your dog to the vet.
What dog foods are bad for dogs? Our key take away
If your dog ever ingests any of the foods discussed above, consult your veterinary emergency center immediately. Do not wait until your dog has started to develop symptoms because it might be too late!