One good thing about dogs is that they’re not especially finicky. One bad thing is that they’ll eat just about anything. Unfortunately, that can include foods or other substances that may be potentially toxic.
Experts urge you to understand that virtually any substance can be toxic if consumed constantly or at high dosage. Even if no adverse effects are immediately seen, that does not mean a certain substance is safe.
There are many myths about what is or is not safe or healthy for pets. Before getting on the bandwagon, keep in mind the commercial motives of those perpetuating the myth. Demand scientific evidence for the claims, preferably something other than such-and-such was fed in huge amounts to mice and caused this or that symptom.
Dog Foods to Avoid
The following lists some of the substances for which there is credible evidence of toxicity at dosages your pet could conceivably consume:
- ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES can cause gastrointestinal irritation, drunkenness, tremors, difficult breathing and/or panting, coma and even death;
- AVOCADOS can result in respiratory distress and the accumulation of fluid around the heart;
- CHOCOLATE can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as ¼ ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog;
- COFFEE, including the grounds and beans, can cause the same symptoms as chocolate;
- GRAPES and RAISINS, depending on the amount ingested, clinical signs can range from vomiting to life-threatening kidney failure;
- SPOILED FOOD may contain food borne pathogens, molds, and mycotoxins that can result in GI irritation, tremors, seizures, and death. All food, regardless of shelf-life claims, loses value and may grow toxins over time;
- ONIONS, CHIVES, AND OTHER SPICES, if fed in excess can lead to GI upset and perhaps damage red blood cells;
- PURIFIED SALT and SALTY FOODS can result in sodium ion poisoning with symptoms of regurgitation, tremors, excessive thirst, diarrhea, high temperature and seizures. On the other hand, moderate amounts of natural salt can be healthy;
- TOMATO - fruit is not a problem in moderation, the leaves, stem and unripe fruit are. Ingestion of these can cause GI upset, excess salivation, drowsiness, dilated pupils, and weakness. The same symptoms can be seen with the ingestion of any green plant parts of the potato and many household plants;
- XYLITOL SWEETENER in candies and gum can also cause a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression and seizures;
- YEAST DOUGH can be double trouble in that as it rises, the dough can expand the GI tract, possibly causing the intestine to rupture. The yeast can also form alcohol as it rises, leading to alcohol poisoning;
- ANTIFREEZE, CLEANING PRODUCTSand all household chemicals and drugs should be kept out of reach of pets. Some of these substances—such as antifreeze—actually taste good to pets and can cause serious illness and death.
Experts further advise to use caution with spicy foods, cooked bones, singular supplements, and virtually any commercial product fed continuously. Again, the principle to keep in mind is that variety is the spice of health. Since anything can potentially be toxic if fed in excess, varying the diet is the best safeguard. Even so-called 100% complete commercial diets have caused serious illness and death when fed exclusively.
Dog Foods to Avoid and Toxic Substances
If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, immediately call your veterinarian. Be sure to let them know what he has eaten and how much, the estimated time of ingestion, if you know it, and any problems he is experiencing.