If you’re experiencing a poison emergency right now, call the ASPA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 where they will have a specialist available to talk 24 hours a day.
We all love sharing the best things in life with those we love the most, and, for most of us, are dogs are definitely numbered in that group.
Since food is something good that we partake of daily, it’s hard to resist lovingly slipping some of the most delicious things to your pet, but it turns out that giving them certain human foods is not so loving after all.
First things first, it’s best to keep your counters and cabinets free of food and clean. Keep an eye on what your dog is up to, and while you’re away, make sure you have someone do that for you; for worst-case scenarios, be sure to have a pet first aid kit on hand. In fact, you can DIY one!
Surprisingly dangerous foods for dogs
If you’re eating plain, air-popped, unsalted, and unbuttered popcorn, giving your dog small amounts of it is just fine, but the honest truth is that very few of us are eating popcorn that’s not buttered or salted.
High levels of fat and sodium can be highly detrimental for dogs, leading to dehydration in the short-term and obesity in the long-term, and the kernels that remained un-popped can be harmful to their teeth and gums.
What you can do instead is make some dehydrated fruit or veggie chews or buy low-calorie dog treats for something safe and crunchy for them to snack on while you enjoy your popcorn!
The skin and leaves of avocados contain something called persin, an oil-soluble toxin that can be dangerous to non-human mammals. The ASPCA says that pets sensitive to persin may experience “respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death.”
That being said, if you remove all the skin, it’s okay to mix avocado into your dog’s food; dogs usually aren’t as sensitive to persin as other animals, but be cautious.
- Macadamia Nuts
These innocent-looking nuts can cause vomiting, ataxia (the loss of control of body movements), weakness, and depression, though no one is quite sure why they are so toxic to dogs. But the fact is they can make them severely ill.
The good news is that most dogs don’t need a specific treatment to recover, so if yours has accidentally imbibed some macadamia nuts, don’t panic.
What you can feed them instead, however, is things like mini peanut butter chews, some soft-baked, peanut butter dog cookies, or peanut butter bacon dog treats.
This one is most surprising to many people, but grapes are among the most toxic people foods for dogs. They can lead to kidney failure and even death. It’s still unclear as to why it affects certain dogs and not others, but it’s better to assume your dog could be harmed by them.
Instead, treat your dog to some blueberries; they’re perfect for frozen popsicle treats or even some fancy blueberry dog scones!
- Onions and Garlic
The Allium plant family, of which garlic and onions are included, is not the best thing to give your dog, no matter the form – fresh, cooked, dried, or powder.
These plants damage dogs’ red blood cells which leads to a decreased oxygen flow and even anemia, which could cause organ damage.
Dog-safe brewer’s yeast supplements are great to use instead!
- Tomato Plants (Raw Potatoes, Too)
Ripe tomatoes or potatoes are not a problem, but letting your dog naw on unripe, green tomatoes, the green plant itself, or green, unripe potatoes can cause gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness, and confusion because of the toxin called solanine in them.
If you want to have the option of feeding your dog a starch, try sweet potato jerky – store-bought or even homemade!
- Coffee and Tea
While it’s common knowledge that chocolate is poisonous for canines because of the theobromine it contains, most people aren’t aware that caffeine is also extremely dangerous.
According to the ASPCA, it’s a powerful stimulant that can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, and an increased heart rate” in pets.
If your dog has had any tea, coffee, or an energy drink, it’s important that you take them to the vet right away; early treatment is crucial.
Carob is a healthy, dog-safe substitute for chocolate; you can even use the powder to bake things for your dog.
- Dairy (Yes, Even Cheese)
Really? Cheese? Yes, it’s true. While it has become a popular dog training treat, too much of it can lead to constipation or diarrhea and then obesity and lasting gastrointestinal issues.
Small amounts are okay, but each dog is different; just like humans, some are more sensitive than others.
A good alternative is Himalayan dog chews made with hard yak’s cheese; you can find these on Amazon and on Chewy.
- Sugar-Free Gum
The xylitol in sugar-free gum is one of the most popularly used alternative sweeteners, and while it’s naturally occurring, it’s deadly to dogs. Ingesting it causes life-threatening hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).
So, keep your gum out of your pet’s reach, and be sure that your sugar-free foods are xylitol-free. Check, especially, sugar-free peanut butter and toothpaste.
The Bottom Line
Don’t become paranoid and refrain from sharing any delicious goodness with your dogs;
Many foods such as lean meats, carrots, and many fruits and veggies are great for dogs, and if your dog is not lactose intolerant, some plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese in small amounts is just fine.
Just be aware of what foods could be dangerous, and always do your research before you feed them anything abnormal.