Not all foods that are safe for us (humans) are also safe for our pets. There is a common misconception that if we can eat it so can our canine friends. There are a lot of foods that could make your dog ill or in severe cases cause death to a pet.
The most common food toxin that I’ve personally seen in the clinic is CHOCOLATE. Some owners unknowingly give their dogs chocolate, but it also seems that most dogs want to eat. Who could resist something so delicious as chocolate?
Chocolate toxicity is very tricky as there are so many types of chocolate that cause different symptoms. Some chocolate toxicities cause GI upset and diarrhea, some cause nervous system issues like shaking and/or seizures and sometimes high cocoa percentage chocolate could even cause death. If you are worried about that your dog may have eaten chocolate please contact your veterinarian and they can do a calculation based on the type of chocolate, amount of chocolate and your dogs’ weight. It will help us determine the best route of treatment.
Another common toxicity I’ve seen is grapes or raisins, it turns out not a lot of people know how dangerous this food can be. Grapes and raisins can both cause kidney failure in dogs. Even giving small amounts of grapes throughout long periods can eventually lead to kidney failure.
Onions, garlic and anything in the chive family can cause something called “Hemolytic Anemia” which is a severe form of anemia where the blood cells can become damaged and are destroyed before new ones can be made. I’ve heard many owners say they feed their dog garlic to get rid of fleas, not only does this method of flea treatment not work but it could be causing your pet to become ill.
Xylitol is the new up-and-coming sugar substitute that can be found in a lot of sweet treats. Unfortunately, xylitol is extremely toxic to pets, and even a small amount can cause liver failure, hypoglycemia or death. It is most often found in gum or gummy candies, but it is now being used more and more to add sweetness to food without using sugar. Always make sure to check ingredient labels and if your food contains xylitol make sure to keep it out of reach of pets.
Your morning cup of coffee is also considered toxic to your doggy. Caffeine can cause mild symptoms like vomiting and/or diarrhea all the way up to heart problems, nervous system issues like shaking and/or seizures or death when extremely large amounts are consumed.
I know this is a long, scary list of things your pets can’t eat and there are even more that we have not touched on in this blog. If you are worried that something your pet ate might be toxic, please contact your veterinary professionals to ask if it is safe or requires a visit. We are here to help and to see your pets live a long, happy and healthy life!
Written by: Sara-Dawn Langille, Technician Assistant