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7+ Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Dogs

Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or you’re enjoying life with your very first dog, you may be wondering, “Is there anything I shouldn’t feed my pup?” This is urgent if he just grabbed something off your dinner plate! Learn what dogs absolutely should not be allowed to eat.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol, in its various forms, can be quite dangerous to a dog. Giving your dog even a sip of your liquor, wine, or beer is a big no, as the ethanol in the drink can lead to serious health complications. But alcohol isn’t just limited to your drink at dinner. It can be found in many other products, including:

  • Syrups
  • Rum-soaked cakes
  • Yeast bread dough (raw bread)

Since dogs are smaller than humans and not used to consuming alcohol, they can become intoxicated much quicker than a human would.

Symptoms of alcohol ingestion include:

  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing

Left unchecked, alcohol intoxication in dogs can lead to organ failure or death. With prompt and appropriate care from a vet, a dog that has ingested alcohol can recover. Make sure to tell the veterinarian how much your dog drank and the strength of the drink she had.

2. Chocolate 

Probably the most well-known people food that dogs shouldn’t eat, chocolate is dangerous because it contains theobromine, a methylxanthine. A substance found in cacao seeds, theobromine is easy for humans to digest, but this isn’t the case for dogs. They process the component much more slowly than we do, which allows it to build up to toxic levels.

Symptoms of chocolate ingestion include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Unusual heart rhythm
  • Tremors
  • Panting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal discomfort

The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, but in large amounts, chocolate can lead to heart attacks or seizures in dogs.

black pug looks across table at pie

3. Caffeine

Another methylxanthine—like chocolate—caffeine is bad for your dog’s health. Under no conditions should she have access to coffee, tea, sodas, or other caffeine beverages or items. If your dog drinks caffeine, she may show similar symptoms to those of chocolate.

4. Candy 

Although you may want to share a treat with your dog from time to time, candy is not the way to do it. (May we suggest a pumpkin dog treat instead?) Many candy, gum, and baked goods contain xylitol. This substance is a sweetener often used in sugar-free candies, but it can also make an appearance in products like toothpaste, mouthwash, and vitamins.

Xylitol is harmful to dogs because it causes an insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia and liver failure. Always avoid feeding your dog sweets or snacks that contain xylitol.

Symptoms of candy or xylitol ingestion include:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

If you believe your dog has eaten a product or snack that contains xylitol, it’s important to bring her to a veterinarian immediately. A 10 pound dog only needs to eat one sugar-free piece of gum for a toxic dose of xylitol. Life-threatening low blood sugar levels can occur in less than 15 minutes.

5. Grapes and Raisins 

Grapes and raisins may not jump immediately into your mind toxic to dogs, but some pets can develop kidney disease from eating them. It’s unclear why grapes and raisins are dangerous to dogs and why some dogs are unaffected by the food while others have serious side effects. But it’s never worth the risk to find out if your pet is one of those that won’t be affected by eating grapes!

Symptoms of grape or raisin ingestion in dogs includes:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased urination and, later, decreased urination

If your dog has eaten one of these two foods, she will need to see a veterinarian. If left untreated, the symptoms can lead to long-term kidney disease or kidney failure.

6. Mushrooms 

Just like with humans, mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. The number of toxic mushrooms found in the wild are small, but it can be difficult to identify which are safe and which aren’t.

Symptoms in dogs vary depending on the type of mushroom eaten, but they could include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Aggression
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney Failure

A dog that has eaten toxic mushrooms may experience symptoms within the first 30 minutes; other signs will not appear for 24 hours. If you dog ate a wild mushroom, always err on the side of caution and bring her to a vet right away, along with any remains of the mushroom for identification.

7. Onions and Garlic 

Although a meal almost always benefits from some onions and garlic, a dog’s health doesn’t. All types of garlic and onions, including shallots and scallions, are toxic to pets. The compounds found in the food can do damage to red blood cells and cause other issues, including gastroenteritis and anemia.

Signs your dog ate something from the onion family aren’t always obvious and may not appear for a few days. Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse

Garlic is particularly dangerous to pets; it is five times as potent as onions. Also note that some breeds may be more susceptible to onion poisoning than others.

Other Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat 

There are quite a few other foods and snacks that are harmful to dogs:

If you believe your dog has eaten one of these products or another food that may be dangerous to her, take her to a veterinarian right away. Note what she ate, how much, and when. This will help your vet craft a plan of action for your pet’s health.

Prevention is the best approach! Ensure the foods that dogs should never eat are kept out of your pet’s reach, garbage bags are closed up securely, and you always clean up after cooking.

Do you believe your dog ate a toxic substance? Don’t wait! Bring her to a veterinarian right away. Ask a question about poisonous food or let us know you’re coming by giving us a call at 281-693-7387.

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The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital

Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital serves Katy, TX and the surrounding areas with a dedication and passion for our animal friends that is unmatched. Our veterinarians are highly trained, experienced, and compassionate when it comes to giving your pet the care they deserve. If your companion is in need of emergency care, a dental cleaning, grooming, or just a check-up, we would love to see them! Call 281-693-7387 to make an appointment quickly and easily.

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