Annie loves treats and like most people with dogs we enjoy giving them to her. We have cooked her dog food when we thought she was suffering from allergies and needed to get her away from store bought cans. We couldn’t help but think that there were foods that we should not be feeding her. In fact there is the risk of your dog not getting the proper nutrition from the home cooked meal.
Worse though is that some foods we as humans love are in fact dangerous to dogs.
Unfortunately dogs love the flavor of chocolate, just like so many humans. The reason this is unfortunate is that in sufficient doses it is lethally toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains the chemical stimulant theobromine that together with caffeine and theophylline, belongs to the group of methylxanthine alkaloids. Dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine effectively. If dogs eat chocolate the theobromine can remain in their bloodstreams for up to 20 hours and can result in:
- accelerated heart rate
- severe diarrhea
- epileptic seizures
- heart attack
- internal bleeding
- eventual death.
If your dog, especially smaller breeds, should eat chocolate, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately; it is frequently recommended to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. Larger breeds are less susceptible to poisoning from chocolate, but still are far less tolerant of the substance and therefore it should be avoided.
Note: Many pet gourmet stores sell carob treats. These are not related to chocolate and are safe.
Other foods and their potential interactions are:
- grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs
- onions, and to a lesser extent garlic, contain thiosulfate which causes hemolytic anemia in dogs. Thiosulfate levels are unaffected by cooking or processing. Small puppies have died of hemolytic anemia after being fed baby food containing onion powder. Garlic is also known to cause diarrhea and vomiting
- macadamia nuts have been found to cause stiffness, tremors, hyperthermia, and abdominal pain.
- alcoholic beverages pose problems for dogs just as to humans. A drunken dog displays behavior similar to that of an intoxicated person. Beer presents its own issues.
- Hops, a primary beer ingredient, can cause a condition called malignant hyperthermia in dogs, usually with fatal results. Hops should be kept away from all dogs. Even small amounts of hops can trigger a potentially deadly reaction
- Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in chewing gum, chewable vitamins, candy, toothpaste, and other products. Toxic or fatal liver damage may result
- Dogs can have food allergies just like humans do. This is particular to the individual dog and not of the species as a whole. Just as humans may be allergic to seafood, dogs may have an allergy to seafood
- Dogs should avoid eating the pits of fruits like peaches and apricots, they can get cyanide poisoning due to cyanogenic glycosides.
Needless to say there are many potential downsides to giving your beloved pup too many unfamiliar human treats.
Perhaps the best suggestion is to stick with store bought treats.