From The Blog, From The Expert

Foods poisonous to dogs

This article complements the How to Poison your Dog
posted under the blogs section here.

The following list is not comprehensive, but covers the most common foods.

Allium spp: Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives – Symptoms, lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite, pale gums, fainting, reddish urine.

Almonds and almond flour – not toxic but can pose potential health problems for dogs and should be avoided.

Apple core and pips – the pips contain cyanide. The flesh and skin of an apple are fine.

Avocado – have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhoea.

Brazil nuts – not toxic but long-term, eating brazil nuts can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Broccoli – the florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. The stalks are fine in moderation.

Caffeine – small amounts can lead to signs of restlessness and agitation, higher amounts can lead to cardiotoxicity.

Cherries – flesh of a cherry is good for dogs in very small amounts, but can cause tummy upsets. Like apples, the stem and pip contain cyanide.

Chocolate, cacao and cacao nibs – Essentially the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. While humans easily metabolize the caffeine and bromine in chocolate, dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. This results in the stimulation of the central nervous system and heart muscles. Symptoms typically occur between four and 24 hours after a dog has eaten chocolate, though assessment and treatment may be required immediately.

Vets Now has a useful Chocolate Toxicity Calculator to work out whether your dog has eaten a potentially toxic amount. They also have a comprehensive article on chocolate and dogs you can view here.

Citrus Fruit: Grapefruit, lemons and limes – the essential oils and psoralens this fruit contains are highly toxic to dogs. Oranges, tangerines, and clementines are not toxic but high in sugars potentially causing GI upset if dogs eats too many.

Cooked Bones – more hazardous than poisonous. Raw bones are fine.

Corn on the cob – causes intestinal obstruction.

Green tomatoes – ripe tomatoes are fine, but green tomatoes contain higher amounts of solanine than ripe fruit and can lead to tomatine poisoning.

Human medication – no explanation needed!

Iron – Although iron is the most common trace mineral in a dog’s body, it’s incredibly toxic to the tissues when there is too much in the blood.

Macadamia nuts – causes vomiting, ataxia or weakness, fever, muscle tremors and depression.

Milk and milk products – unless lactose-free. Not toxic but dogs lose their ability to digest lactose as they age due to decreased production of a digestive enzyme called lactase.

Moulds – mouldy bread, nuts, dairy foods including blue cheese.

Mushrooms – the types of mushrooms safe for people to eat are generally not harmful to dogs, although they are not good for dogs. Mushrooms with white gills are often poisonous, those with a ring around the stem and those with a volva.

Mustard seeds – contain compounds that are toxic to dogs; consuming them can lead to vomiting or diarrhoea.

Nutmeg – toxic to dogs due to a compound in the nutmeg called Myristicin. The tiny amounts used in cooked foodstuffs is not an issue, but in large quantities, ie, eating a whole nutmeg it is dangerous.

Peanut butter – contains sweetener.

Pecan nuts – contain juglone, toxic to dogs and if eaten in any great quantity, a dog would suffer gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction.

Rhubarb – the stems are safe for dogs to eat, but the leaves are poisonous to both dogs and humans as they contain a high concentration of oxalic acid.

Salt – sodium in the correct quantities is an important part of a dog’s diet but too much can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, incoordination, excessive thirst or urination. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death are possible.

Sugar – dogs receive safe sugars through carbohydrates. Excessive sugar through treats, etc, causes inflammation throughout the body, obesity and tummy troubles.

Sweeteners – all artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, Aspartame, etc are toxic to dogs. See How to poison your dog article here.

Vitamin D – dogs can accidentally be poisoned by vitamin D from common products in the house and mouse and rat poison. Ingested it can result in life-threatening elevations in calcium and phosphorous resulting in acute kidney failure within a few days.

Vitis vinifera fruits: Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants – the skin of grapes are highly toxic. Eating any of these fruits can cause acute kidney failure.

Walnuts – can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction in a dog’s body. Mouldy walnuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins (toxic chemical products produced by fungi), which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.

Yeast dough – when the yeast uses sugars in unbaked dough (fermentation) they produce carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

Reference Souces

Poisons and Hazards for Your Pets
Foods That Cause the Most Pet Deaths
Pet Poisons
Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats

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