What Foods Are Bad for Dogs and Cats

January 12, 2019 9:16 pm Published by 5 Comments

Even though there are a lot of similarities between dog and human biology, a lot of good foods good for humans are dog poison concerns. Key food culprits to never let your dog have are onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, ham, apples, and chocolate. Any of these could lead to serious health issues, even death.

Even loving pet owners make silly, naïve and stupid mistakes. There are many foods bad for dogs. Take a lesson from the Chewie files and realize how lucky I was to not have serious dog poison issues result from toxic food choices.

Chewie was affectionately known as “Wasabi Dog” because she once, as a puppy found her way into a container of wasabi. Of course, she swallowed it in a heartbeat. No one would ever think to give their dog a teaspoon of pure green insanity.

While wasabi probably makes most dog owner’s list of foods bad for dogs, there are some others that aren’t so readily apparent.

The holidays are always a good reminder of the problems with table scraps and the potential dangers to dogs. If you just made it through the holidays without an incident, great. Just in case you didn’t think we saw you hand that slice of fruit cake Aunt Jean made and gave you to Barkley, well, we did.

What to Feed Dogs When It Comes to Human Food

No one here is going to judge you if you slip your pet table scraps. For those who have a “no people food” policy, kudos to you. Your willpower to stand against the sad eyes of any begging pup is strong than ours. We aren’t here to debate whether feeding your dog people food is good or bad.

Whether you do or don’t, realize what foods are toxic to dogs and cats. And with all the commotion of the holidays, even those adamant about not giving their pets table scraps may find out that their dogs found a way to indulge.

The top to foods to avoid giving to your dog: onions, garlic, grapes, apples and chocolate.

Foods to Avoid Giving Your Dog or Cat

Dangers of Onions and Garlic for Pets

Onions: Both raw and cooked onions contain thiosulphate, toxic to both dogs and cats. It may lead to hemolytic anemia. It doesn’t take a lot to do the damage, which is a type of blood poisoning. Your dog may become lethargic, have trouble catching their breath or have either or both diarrhea and vomiting. Urine will be dark either red or orange in severe cases. Your dog may not become symptomatic for up to four days. Most severe cases may require a blood transfusion.

As a young dog owner, I had heard that garlic was a natural ward against fleas. Living in Colorado and spending a lot of time outdoors, natural flea control was important. Chewie was given some garlic from my own plate or an occasional dusting of garlic powder on her dry food. Even loving dog owners make common dangerous mistakes.

Garlic for Dogs and Cats: Often thought to be a holistic remedy for dogs and cats, particularly for fighting against fleas, garlic is actually toxic to dogs and cats. Along with leeks, shallots and chives, these common human healthy ingredients are another cause of hemolytic anemia. With that is the possibility of red blood cells bursting as they circulate in your pet’s system.

Grapes and Raisins: Practically Dog Poison

Dog Poison – Grapes and Raisins for Pets: If you plan on making your dog a healthy dog treat, don’t include raisins. While we aren’t sure what in grapes are toxic, we do know that they are extremely toxic to dogs whether in the fresh fruit form, as dried raisins or even cooked. Grape products can result in sudden onset of kidney failure.

The naïve pet owner I was, Chewie loved playing catch with ice cold grapes. Quite the athletic dog, it never even occurred to that she could choke on the grapes let alone die from just one. I really had no idea regarding what to feed dogs and quite honestly, I enjoyed the bonding with her.

Maybe you have done the same thing, tossing your dog a cool grape on a hot day, but consider yourself lucky. According to my veterinarian, it could be the first grape or the 500th grape. If and when your dog’s body adversely reacts to it, it could result in rapid kidney failure.

Dog poison symptoms may not be prevalent immediately and might include lack of appetite, excessive water consumption and lethargy. Diarrhea and vomiting are also likely symptoms needing immediate veterinarian help.

Are Apple Seeds Poisonous to Dogs?

Apples and Peaches for Dogs: It’s not the flesh of apples, peaches or plums. The seeds contain cyanide. While most people aren’t going to toss a peach or plum seed at their dog, be mindful of what they can find your yard if you have fruit trees. Yes, my pups all get their fair share of fresh apples and peaches.

Chewie was always around when I was cooking. Sitting behind me just waiting for whatever fell or was tossed her way. Slicing up apples for a pie, I would have never thought why I shouldn’t toss her the core.

When it comes to applesauce as long as you keep the sugar content down, its on the ‘okay list’ of what to feed dogs as human treats. When it comes fruit seeds, you probably don’t need to panic if your dog or cat ingest one or two. Be mindful of pets that can access fruit falling from trees.

Cyanide dog poison symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:
• Seizures
• Disorientation
• Dizziness
• Hyperventilation
• Shock
• Coma.

If you suspect your dog has cyanide poisoning, get to your vet immediately.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Pork, Ham and Bones?

Dog Poison – Bacon and Ham: Who doesn’t love bacon, especially with Beggin’ Strips and other bacon flavored treats at all the local pet stores? The problem with the real stuff is both fat and salt content. This is true with ham and ham bones as well. Foods like this that are oversaturated in fat and salt can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, obviously greater concern for smaller animals than bigger.

Still, don’t take that chance with your mastiff. Symptoms of pancreatitis include excessive drinking, panting and diarrhea because the intestinal tract is not able to properly absorb nutrients. Ham hocks have additional concerns because they splinter and can tear a dog’s intestines as they attempt to digest or pass the shards broken off.

Good neighbors with good intentions don’t realize the potential harm. As Chewie the Wasabi Dog got older (and her mother got wiser) she wasn’t allowed to have so many people pleasures. After a holiday meal, a neighbor decided he would give her the leftover ham bone.

She was older with Cushing’s Disease. We weren’t happy with the extra $400 vet evaluation, tests and medication but she was on a speedy recovery from pancreatitis. But the taste of people food must have gotten back into her system as she found a three-foot Slim Jim a couple days later, tossed in the bushes half opened sticking out of the plastic wrapping. There was no stopping her from downing that.

There was no dog seeking more help than Chewie when she passed three feet of plastic wrapper two days later. At least it wasn’t another $400.


Avoid Chocolate for Dogs and Cats

Dog Poison – Chocolate: My waistline might disagree with the basic fact that human physiology can metabolize chocolate. The reality is my waistline problems are more to do with my inability to walk on a treadmill.

With dogs and cats, we aren’t worried about their waistline when it comes to consuming chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, a toxic ingredient that a cat or dog’s metabolism cannot process in a reasonable time. The result can be something as minor as panting with an elevated temperature.

More severe theobromine dog poison symptoms are:
• tremors
• internal bleeding (bloody stool)
• heart attack.

Even a small amount of chocolate can lead to vomiting or diarrhea, so be vigilant in keeping this away from your dog.

Final Lessons on People Food and Pets

A quick review:

• Is it safe to give my pets garlic for flea control? No, this leads to a potential blood disorder.
• Are frozen grapes a healthy summer treat for my dog? No, not only are they a choking hazard but they can also lead to potential kidney failure.
• Are apple seeds poisonous to dogs? Yes, they contain cyanide, same as peach and cherry pits.
• Are ham bones bad for dogs? Yes, they can potentially shatter causing in internal bleeding and are high in salt potentially causing pancreatitis.
• Can I give my dog chocolate to give him his medicine? No, chocolate is a dog poison that can lead to tremors, bleeding and heart failure.

For all I did know when I got Chewie as a puppy, there was a lot I didn’t know. I was a college student with split attention. Yet, she was my best friend and soul-pup. There are a lot of things I would have done differently had I known better. Lucky for me and lucky for Chewie the Wasabi Dog, she lived an amazing 18 years with me.

I credit her for helping me grow up – that’s just the kind of dog she was. I know I was lucky thinking what I fed her were foods dogs can eat. Many simply were no different than dog poison for my best friend. The risks I took with my best friend.

While we have touched on some key human foods to avoid, there are many others that are pretty much dog poison. Err on the side of caution when it comes to what to avoid and what to feed dogs. They’ll love you even more than if you gave them chocolate and you won’t be figuring out who to cross off the Christmas present list because you had a huge vet bill and can’t afford them.

If you are looking for what to feed dogs that is compatible with your diet, check out our next post.

If you feel your pet has ingested something toxic and is exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately or get to your veterinarian.

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