Toxic Foods & Substances

The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog,
but you should avoid giving your dog ANY chocolate.
Some foods are known to be harmful and potentially dangerous if consumed by dogs. Different animals have different digestive systems, and dogs have many food sensitivities. Just because certain foods may be consumed by humans does not necessarily make it safe for your cockapoo to eat. This is serious stuff, not to be trifled with. Symptoms may vary from a mild digestive reaction, to a severe illness or even death. Take a few minutes to consider the following food items, which although commonly available should not be fed to your dog, either intentionally or otherwise.

Drinks and Liquids

Never allow your dog to consume any alcoholic beverages. Common sense might tell you that your dog will become intoxicated, but consumption of alcohol especially in large amounts can result in your dog slipping into a coma, and may result in his death. In particular, beverages prepared using hops should be avoided, since hops contain a compound which causes an elevated temperature, an increased heart rate, along with panting, potential seizures and death.

We know that beverages such as tea and coffee contain caffeine, but many caffeinated drinks may contain theobromine or theophylline. These substances are toxic and harmful to dogs since they may affect the nervous system and the heart. Chocolate, coffee, and anything containing caffeine also contain substances called methylxanthines, which are quite toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more of this substance it has.

Milk contains lactose. In order to be digested properly, the enzyme lactase must be present within the digestive system. Many dogs, and indeed cats, do not have enough lactase in their systems to cope with the digestion of milk. Such indigestion may then result in diarrhea. As an alternative, it is possible to obtain lactose-free milk products which are suitable for consumption by pets.

Fruits, Vegetables and Nuts 

Avoid feeding your dog grapes or raisins, since they contain a toxin which is harmful to a dog’s kidneys. Likewise, mushrooms may be toxic to you dog, affecting numerous systems within his body, potentially causing shock and death. Onions, and to a lesser degree, garlic are potentially harmful to dogs. Available either raw, cooked or in powder form, onions and garlic contain disulfides and sulfoxides which cause anemia and damage the red blood cells.

Fruits to avoid in particular include persimmons, peaches and plums. Each of these contains seeds and pits which can obstruct the digestive tract. Other foods to be wary of in particular include rhubarb, potatoes along with their stems, and tomato leaves and stems. These plants contain oxalates, which can adversely affect the nervous system, the urinary system and the digestive system.

Do not feed your dog macadamia nuts since they contain a toxin which adversely affects the nervous system, the digestive system and the muscles. Any nuts can potentially become a digestive obstruction, since they are hard to digest, but organic peanut butter is fine.

Meat, Fish and Poultry

Fish, in particular, contain bones which can damage the digestive system or cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive tract. However, be aware that poultry and other meat may contain bones which may be accidentally swallowed. Trimmings of fat from meat and poultry may be harmful to your dog, potentially causing pancreatitis.

Whilst tiny amounts of liver may be beneficial to your dog’s balanced diet, be aware that large amounts of liver may cause vitamin A toxicity, resulting in adverse effects to the muscles and bones.

Likewise, small amounts of raw fish may not be harmful to your dog. However, if excessive amount are consumed your dog may develop a thiamine, or vitamin B deficiency. Such a deficiency can lead to a loss of appetite, to seizures, and in some severe instances, in death.

Foods for others, such as humans and other animals

Foods designed specifically for human babies should not be fed to dogs. Some baby foods contain onion in powdered form, which is potentially harmful to dogs (see above). Additionally, if a large amount of baby food is fed to your dog, he may suffer from nutritional deficiencies since he has not received a balance diet to meet his digestive needs.

Resist any urge to feed your dog with cat food. Cats and dogs have different digestive systems, and cat food tends to be too high in protein and fat for dogs to consume regularly.

Vitamin supplements which contain iron and are designed for human consumption should not be fed to dogs. Such supplements can be harmful to your dog’s digestive system by damaging the lining, and may also cause damage to organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Other Substances to Avoid 

Like alcohol, common sense tells us that dogs should not consume marijuana. This substance can cause vomiting, can depress the nervous system and result in changes in your dog’s heart rate. Similarly, tobacco contains nicotine. Consumption of tobacco will adversely affect the nervous system and the digestive system. If your dog consumes tobacco he may suffer from an increased heart rate, he may also collapse, slip into a coma and may die.

Citrus oil extracts have been known to cause vomiting and should be avoided. Spoiled food, which is often moldy, or garbage, can contain any number of toxins which can affect your dog’s organs if eaten, and will likely result in vomiting and diarrhea.

If salt is consumed in large quantities this may contribute to imbalances in your dog’s electrolyte levels. Likewise, if sugar is consumed to excess this may lead to dental problems, to obesity and other health issues such as diabetes. Any products containing artificial sweeteners or Xylitol should be avoided.

Dogs should not eat raw eggs as they contain an enzyme which affects the absorption of biotin, a B vitamin. Lack of this vitamin can contribute to skin and hair problems for your dog.

Resist the temptation to give your dogs too many scraps from the table. Whilst you may wish to offer him an occasional treat, such scraps should not constitute more than 10% of your dog’s diet. Generally, table scraps do not constitute a nutritionally balanced diet, and your dog’s overall health will not be benefited. In any event, fat should be trimmed from any meat scraps which are offered, and bones should not be offered as treats. Be very careful about what, if any, table scraps you offer your dog.

Yeast dough should not be fed to dogs as it produces gas and expands within the digestive system. Such expansion will cause your dog unnecessary pain and in some cases may result in his stomach or intestines rupturing.

Another list of food items your dog should not be given can be found HERE.

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