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Your precious dogs will eat almost everything (in my experience, even pantyhose) so it’s up to you to be the arbiter of their taste. Dogs adore human food, but you must be careful what you share with them. Their health depends on it. Here’s a list of foods that are harmful to pups:
1. Chocolate: This no-no is a no brainer, so we might as well discuss it first. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. The former causes abdominal distress, heart problems, fever, seizures, and death in dogs. The latter is responsible for muscle spasms, vomiting, and restlessness. A mere 4 ounces of chocolate can cause death in dogs. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the more lethal.
2. Macadamia nuts: These nuts are highly toxic to dogs. No matter whether the macadamias are roasted or raw, they can cause delayed side effects (after 12-48 hours) including termors and weakness. If the reaction grows even worse, dogs can develop paralysis and hypothermia, so it’s important to act fast and seek medical attention. Better yet, just don’t keep these nuts in the house.
3. Onions & garlic: Both of these foods, which come from the same family, cause damage to dog’s red blood cells. This causes several immediate side effects including lethargy, discolored urine, and vomiting. If the problem gets worse, dogs may require a blood transfusion in order to survive. Countless human foods contain these seasonings, so an owner must pay careful attention to ingredients, especially when it comes to meat.
4. Bacon: Leaving bacon off the menu sounds like a terrible punishment, but the high fat content of this food can cause dogs to develop pancreatis. Once this happens, dogs are unable to properly absorb nutrients from any food. Bacon just isn’t worth the risk.
5. Yeast dough & bread: Raw dough can ferment within a dog’s stomach and cause several problems. If it expands, it can cause severe pain to a dog’s stomach and even cause it to rupture. The fermenation process also causes alcohol to form, which (as we’ll soon discuss) is highly toxic to dogs. Already baked bread doesn’t cause as many problems for dogs, but it isn’t healthy for them either.
6. Bones: I know, this one is a doozy. Dogs love to chew on bones, but they’re just not worth the risk. Not only do bones splinter and cause choking or tears in a dog’s digestive system, but they can also spread the E. coli bacteria, which will cause a dog to become extremely sick. The good news? Dogs love rawhide bones from pet stores. They barely know the difference from real ones.
7. Caffeine: The idea of a hyperactive puppy is already a nightmare to owners, but coffee can be very dangerous to dogs. It contains methylated xanthine, which can cause vomiting, heart palpitations, and death.
8. Grapes & raisins: For mysterious reasons that aren’t clear to veterinarians, grapes and raisins make dogs extremely sick. Side effects differ and range from severe dehydration to lethargy to rapid kidney failure and death. (Important: Many foods such as granola bars, cookies, and cereals contain grapes and raisins and must be avoided as well.)
9. Avocados: Guacamole is terribly delicious, but avocado parts contain a substance called persin that is toxic to dogs. All parts of the avocado contain this substance, which causes breathing difficulties, fluid on the heart, and potential pneumonia in dogs. To further complicate matters, dogs can easily swallow avocado pits and choke on them.
10. Apple cores: These leftover parts of an apple are already toxic to humans, but dogs aren’t smart enough to avoid them. Apple cores contain cyanogenic glycosides (a.k.a. “cyanide”), which is incredibly dangerous once ingested. Side effects can include hyperventilation, shock, and coma. (Note: Most other fruit cores — including plums, apricots, pairs, and peaches — also contain cyanide.)
11. Milk & cheese: Dogs are born drinking their mother’s milk, but once they’re weaned, they cannot substitute cow’s milk (or cheese) without side effects. Dogs are unable to break down lactose, so they are all effectively lactose intolerant. Ingestion of cow’s milk can cause great stomach distress and lead to more food allergies. The sugars and fatty acids inside cheese compound the issue. If you must feed your dog milk or cheese, look for lactose-free alternatives.
12. Xylitol: This artificial sweetener can be found in gum, candy, toothpaste, and cookies. Many dogs are attracted to the minty scent of toothpaste, so beware. Only a tiny bit of Xylitol can cause insulin release in a dog. This quickly leads to vomiting and loss of coordination, followed by seizures and liver failure.
13. Alcohol: This sounds like a commonsensical exclusion, right? You’d be surprised how many fratboys would find a beer-drinking dog amusing. A single sip or two of alcohol hits small animals particuarly hard, and side effects include tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, coma, and death.