Harmful Foods for Dogs

Charli Saltzman

You all know those dogs that are spoiled. They sit at the table, eat table food from their owner’s hands, and eat whatever the people eat. While several dogs do not run into problems, did you know there are several foods that are not good for dogs? Before I list and explain some of these foods, I have to say first that the reason these things are dangerous to dogs is because they do not digest things the same way people do. So, here is a list of foods your dog should not eat.

Let’s begin with drugs. Although it isn’t legal here, Marijuana is very dangerous to dogs. This drug can be ingested by dogs through the secondhand smoke of marijuana cigarettes. This is something to definitely consider when taking your dog for a walk in an area where someone might be smoking it. Another way a dog can ingest marijuana is through eating cigarettes. And finally, dogs can ingest it through baked goods that contain pot. Some symptoms can include depression, confusion, and if a large amount was ingested, hypothermia. For those dogs who only ingest it through the second-hand smoke, symptoms will most likely disappear within a couple of hours. Also, we must consider the danger of tobacco cigarettes.

If secondhand smoke is dangerous for us, we must also conclude that it is dangerous to our pets. This can cause nasal cancer in dogs, asthmatic symptoms in cats, and lung cancer for both dogs and cats. High levels of nicotine are also dangerous. For example, it is never a good idea for a dog to eat cigarette butts. Breathing problems and, in severe cases, death can occur. Also, never let your dog drink from a rain puddle along a curb. Sometimes this water can contain nicotine from cigarette butts. Finally, the last drug I want to discuss is alcohol.

Alcohol is toxic for dogs. While this alcohol can be ingested via alcoholic beverages, raw bread dough which contains yeast contains alcohol. And, if a dog eats raw dough, the moistness of the stomach allows the yeast to multiply resulting in alcohol intoxication. So, if you bring your dog to LAA’s event, “Wine and Howl”, please refrain from allowing your dog to have wine. Your dog will thank you later. Now that we’ve talked about popular drugs that can be dangerous to dogs, let’s talk about foods that could cause harm.

Because there are many, I’m going to list them and explain in general what these foods can do to your dog’s health. Dangerous foods can include avocado, bread dough as mentioned before, chocolate, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, foods with mold, and finally, onions and garlic. As you probably know, all of these foods, with the exception of moldy foods, are fine for humans. I myself love onions and garlic, and let’s not forget about chocolate. So why are these foods that we love so much dangerous to our dogs? Onions can kill red blood cells which can lead to a red coloring of the urine. It may also be necessary for your dog to have a blood transfusion. Garlic can do the same thing. Chocolate, especially dark baked chocolate and unsweetened cocoa can cause seizures and death in dogs. Statistics say that many dogs get these problems around holidays such as Easter and Christmas when baked goods and candies are very popular household items. My suggestion would be to make sure these items are safely pushed back far enough out of those prying dog paws. I think the most surprising, harmful food that I didn’t know about is grapes and raisins. After all, fruit is good for us. However, grapes and raisins have been known to be a cause of kidney failure in dogs. The confusing thing about it is that many dogs can eat such foods and be just fine while others eat it once and develop problems. Also, a dog who has been eating grapes his or her entire life can suddenly develop problems. Research is still being done on why this issue occurs, but the answer is simply not clear. And finally, while macadamia nuts may have a low toxicity for dogs, they can develop a low fever, experience tremors, and feel like they are in pain.

What, then, can you do to keep your pet healthy? First, punish trash and counter scavenging. If you see your dog or cat on the counter moving towards that pan of delicious, chocolate fudge brownies, that behavior should be corrected very, very quickly. If it were my dog, I would probably give him a jerk on his collar and firmly tell him no, making sure he knows that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, and I simply will not tolerate it. Also, having a trash can with a lid that will securely close is a good idea to keep your dog from playing the scatter the trash game. Hopefully these tips will be helpful for you. I will provide sources below so you can understand in greater detail some of the problems these foods can cause. While you want to keep spoiling that pet of yours, remember to also select carefully the foods you allow him to eat. You want your pet to live a long, healthy and happy life.


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