Have you ever wondered about the myriad of things that are poisonous to dogs? I know I have. Of course there are more than 14 things out there that could potentially cause harm, but here are some of the most common household items that are toxic to dogs.
Spilling a little bit of antifreeze on the driveway may not seem like it would hurt anything, but think again. Dogs are particularly attracted to this sweet tasting poison, and some go crazy for it. Anti-freeze poisoning is one of the most common for dogs, since a lot of homeowners keep it for their use. It is sometimes added to toilet bowls during cold weather to keep the pipes from freezing. Even if antifreeze dries, it can leave a residue that dogs can lick up. If it gets on their fur from rolling around, the residue can be licked off later. Poisoning by antifreeze affects the brain and the liver, and has serious affects. Symptoms include a rapid heart rate, weakness, diarrhea, seizures and convulsions, fainting, and coma.
#2 Grapes, Raisons
Grapes and raisons were once thought to be a good treat for dogs—not anymore. Since grapes are such a common people snack, they pose a risk to dogs living in the home. Children munching down on handfuls of raisons may not know that they aren’t doing their pets a favor by sharing. Grapes can cause acute renal failure—a sudden failure of the kidneys—along with vomiting and diarrhea. Scientists still don’t quite know what makes grapes and raisons toxic to dogs.
#3 Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts can be especially poisonous to dogs. In some cases, it only takes a few nuts to make a dog sick. Another reason why you should pay attention to this one is because macadamia nuts are readily available, and are in many cookies and party treats that your dog could get into. Dog’s poisoned by macadamia nuts are generally very weak, especially in the hind legs. Other symptoms include trembling, vomiting, and fever. Because of their high fat content, it’s probably not a good idea to feed your dog any kind of nuts—it could cause them to have gastrointestinal problems. But be on the lookout for products that contain macadamia nuts, and make sure your dog can’t get into them.
#4 Cooked Bones
We always associate dogs with bones, which is fine: it’s perfectly okay to give your dog raw bones—it’s the cooked ones you need to not give your dog. Cooked bones can splinter, and their sharp edges can be devastating to your dog’s digestive system. A dog choking on a cooked chicken bone is all too common, so don’t let your dog fall victim to this common malady.
There are certain drugs that may be okay to give to your dog, but Tylenol isn’t one of them. It takes a super low dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) to not be harmful to your dog. This is true for other pain relievers such as ibuprofen. These drugs react differently in dogs than they do in humans. Tylenol in dogs can cause permanent liver damage, as well as disrupt oxygen supply to the heart. There are many safe pain relievers that are made specifically for dogs: contact your vet to see what’s okay for your dog to take.
The ASPCA lists 448 plants that are poisonous to your dog if ingested, so it would be a safe idea to not let your dog chew on any plants. There are some plants that are particularly harmful, such as Foxglove (which is poisonous to humans as well), which can cause cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, leading to death. Even common plants such as tulips can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea and hypersalivation. Also, don’t feed your dog any seeds: apple and cherry seeds contain cyanide, which can be lethal to dogs. Even vegetable plants can be harmful if eaten: tomato plants can cause dogs to experience severe gastrointestinal problems, depression, and a slow heart beat.
You probably already know not to feed your dog chocolate, but its worth mentioning anyway. Chocolate poisoning in dogs occurs because of a chemical in chocolate called theobromine, a substance which dogs can overdose on by eating chocolate. In fact, too much of this substance in humans can lead to similar effects (however, it takes much more chocolate for humans to be affected by the theobromine). Different types of chocolate has different levels of theobromine. White chocolate contains next to none, while baker’s chocolate is loaded with it. A medium sized dog would have to eat about a pound of milk chocolate to experience some of the worser effects of theobromine poisoning. But it might only take 8 ounces of dark chocolate. Don’t ever let your dog near bakers chocolate: even less than an ounce can make your dog really really sick.
#8 Onions (And Garlic)
Onions are one of the big no-no’s when it comes to what to feed dogs. While the only bad side effect in humans is perhaps a severe case of halitosis, our furry friends aren’t so lucky. Onions cause Heinz Body Anemia, and no this has nothing to do with ketchup. Heinz Bodies are small clumps of inactive hemoglobin in red blood cells, which makes the cells lifespans shorter. In essence, onions causes a dog’s blood cells to start to die off one by one. This is a life-threatening disease. Symptoms include weakness, and breathlessness, collapsing, vomiting, and little to no interest in food. The main occurrence of onion poisoning in dogs is from eating foods with onion powder in it—such as many forms of baby food.
…Garlic is just as toxic as onions are, but the danger isn’t quite as high because usually only a little bit is used at a time. But don’t think that just because it’s added to some dog treats and foods, that it’s okay to go overboard in feeding it to your dog.
Okay, so there are mixed feelings on whether or not avocados are harmful to dogs. Avocodos contain a chemical called Persin which is poisonous to birds and cattle; and there have been some reports of dogs getting sick from avocados. The ASPCA includes avocados on its “thou shalt not” list, so it’s probably good to play it safe and not give your dog your leftover guacamole. Also, the giant seed in the avocado is a choking hazard, so keep your dog out of the garbage or off the counter where he can get to these seeds.
While sugar is a staple for many American foods and drinks, it shouldn’t be part of your dog’s diet. Sugar is just as bad for a dog’s teeth as it is for ours, and unless you brush your dog’s teeth a couple times everyday, he could develop cavities and experience tooth decay. Simply giving him a dental chew after the remnants of your easter jelly beans isn’t going to neutralize the negative effects either. This includes foods that have added sugar, whether natural such as honey, or un-natural such as high fructose corn syrup. Tooth decay can lead to a very serious disease called periodontal disease, which can affect your dog’s kidneys and heart.
#11 Raw Eggs, Possibly Raw Meat
Dogs are carnivores right, so they’re allowed to eat raw foods right? That may be correct for some dogs, but you have to remember that the domesticated dog today can be vastly different from its ancestor the wolf. The main thing to consider is whether or not your dog can deal with bacteria associated with raw foods, such as salmonella. Some dogs have no trouble processing salmonella, and eating a raw T-bone steak would probably be the best thing that ever happened to him. However, some dogs get sick from the salmonella bacteria—just like we do. Talk to your vet about whether or not a raw food diet would be good for your dog.
#12 Table Scraps (Fat Trimmings)
Feeding your dog scraps from the table is never a good idea. I know, it’s hard sometimes to say “no” to those pleading brown eyes. But just remember that you aren’t doing your dog any favors by tossing him the leftover fat trimmings from your chicken dinner. Too much fat in a dog’s diet, whether this comes from table leftovers or nuts, can lead to a life threatening disease called pancreatitis.
The average American needs caffeine infused coffee simply to survive, but this is not true for dogs. It doesn’t take as much caffeine as you would expect to seriously hurt a dog, especially if your dog is smaller to medium weight. Caffeine poisoning is very similar to chocolate poisoning, as caffeine is very similarly molecularly to theobromine, the chemical which makes chocolate so dangerous to dogs. Many cases begin with the dog getting into the garbage, and accessing coffee grounds and used tea bags. Also keep any diet pills out of reach, and never let your dog have access to energy drinks or no-doze supplements.
In many ways, alcohol affects dogs the same way it affects humans, and some dog owners think it’s funny to watch their dogs stagger around drunkenly. However, alcohol is extremely dangerous for dogs, as it causes acidoses—their blood because too acidic, which can lead to cardiac arrest. Even if the dog doesn’t die from heart failure, the alcohol can damage his liver and kidneys.