If you are like many dog owners, you may find tableside begging one of the hardest habits to break in your pet. Who can resist those big puppy dog eyes pleading for just a nibble from your plate? You should know, however, that some foods should never be shared with your dog. Some foods contain ingredients and compounds that can do more than cause a minor upset stomach; they can actually be deadly for your dog. Here are the worst culprits you will want to avoid sharing with your furry friend:
Grapes and Raisins Although the exact toxin is unknown, grapes and raisins have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms of grape or raisin exposure include vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. Dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, and death can occur within three to four days, so extreme care must be taken to ensure your dog never has access to grapes or raisins.
Xylitol Found in some candies and chewing gum, xylitol is a sweetener that can be deadly for your dog. When ingested, xylitol stimulates the release of insulin which can lead to hypoglycemia. Vomiting, lethargy and trouble with coordination are warning signs that should not be ignored; if left untreated, xylitol toxicity can be fatal.
Alcohol Alcoholic beverages can have the same effect on a dog as a human, but most dog breeds are smaller than the average human, making the effects much more acute. Vomiting, liver damage and brain damage can result from even a small amount of alcohol, so use care when consuming alcohol around your pet and dispose of cans and bottles safely.
Apple Core/Apricot Pits The core and pits of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs. Signs of toxicity include excess salivation, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, dizziness, collapse, coma, seizures and shock.
Avocado Avocados are toxic to a number of animals, and that includes the family dog. The toxicity comes from a compound called persin, which is found inside the avocado as well as in its skin. There are reports of damage to the heart of some dogs that have ingested sufficient quantities of avocado. The best advice is to avoid feeding your dog avocado altogether.
Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine These foods all contain methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to pets, with powdered cocoa and dark baking chocolate being the most deadly.
Dairy Products Milk and other dairy products, though not dangerously toxic, cannot be properly digested by adult dogs because they lack the enzyme to break down lactose, the sugar found in dairy. This can lead to excess gas and diarrhea.
Macadamia Nuts Consuming even just a small handful of macadamia nuts can cause extreme distress to your dog, resulting in weakness, muscle tremors and joint pain. The toxicity can quickly become fatal, so do your best to prevent your dog from having access to them.
Onions, Garlic, Chives Onions, garlic and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation and can lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are even more susceptible, dogs can also be affected if exposed to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion powder or onion soup mix.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten something dangerous, do not wait to seek veterinary care. The sooner your four-legged family member can be properly treated, the better the outcome will be.