What can’t a dog eat?
Food poisoning in dogs is, unfortunately, a fairly common condition that I encounter. Usually, when we are not paying attention, our pet eats something that may be harmful. Therefore, it is definitely worth knowing what your dog cannot eat to prevent poisoning.
Prohibited products for dogs
There are many substances listed that we can define as toxic to dogs. Some of them have not been fully researched yet, so it is a topic that is still being discovered. However, food poisoning in dogs very often occurs due to the ignorance of their owners.
Chocolate and cocoa
This is one of those products that is talked about a lot because, interestingly, chocolate poisoning in dogs is still relatively common. Please remember that not only chocolate itself is harmful, but also products containing it. The main toxin contained in chocolate is theobromine. The harmfulness of this substance results from the fact that the dog’s body cannot cope with its removal and it takes a very long time. The lethal dose of theobromine for a dog is only 250-500 mg/kg body weight. However, in history there have also been cases of dogs that ate a lower dose of 90 – 115 mg/kg body weight, which resulted in the death of the animal.
Symptoms of chocolate, or rather theobromine, poisoning in dogs can be observed just an hour after consumption, and the most frequently mentioned include: heart rhythm disturbances, anxiety, breathing difficulties, tachycardia, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, weakness. Unfortunately, poisoning may also affect the condition of the kidneys and liver.
Chocolate products have different theobromine content:
- white chocolate: 0.009 – 0.035 mg/g of product;
- milk chocolate: 1.5 – 2 mg/g of product;
- sweetened dark chocolate: 3.6 – 8.4 mg/g of product;
- dark chocolate: 12 – 19.6 mg/g of product;
- cocoa powder: 4.5 – 30 mg/g of product;
- cocoa beans: 10 – 53 mg/g of product;
Grapes and raisins
These are some of those examples of products where it has not yet been determined what exactly causes poisoning in dogs. Currently, it has been established that the consumption of 2.8 g of raisins and 19.6 g of grapes per kg of dog’s body weight is the lowest toxic dose.
The most common symptoms of grape and raisin poisoning in dogs include vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and ataxia. Ultimately, this poisoning may lead to acute kidney failure and, unfortunately, death.
Some nuts may be tolerated by your dog to some extent, but this is not the case with macadamia nuts. Poisoning can occur after eating as little as 2.4 g/kg of a dog’s body weight.
The main symptoms of poisoning with these nuts include vomiting, weakness, convulsions, and ataxia. They usually appear approximately 12 hours after consumption and disappear within 2 days.
Garlic, onion, chives
Vegetables that we often use as spices in the kitchen are toxic to dogs. These include garlic, onion and chives. The main source of poisoning after a dog eats onion or garlic are toxic disulfides with a strong oxidizing effect and sulfoxides. It should be noted that heat treatment does not change anything here and these vegetables will still be poisonous. Disulfides destroy the structure of red blood cells, which may lead to anemia. Poisoning may occur after eating 5-10 g of onion/kg of dog’s body weight and approximately 5 g of garlic/kg of dog’s body weight.
Other external symptoms of poisoning will be diarrhea and vomiting, and sometimes skin symptoms. Ultimately, kidney failure may also occur.
This is one of the ingredients that I often warn dog owners against. Fruits are part of a dog’s diet, but you should remember about seeds. Especially if we are talking about peach, apricot, apple or cherry seeds, which contain dangerous cyanogenic heterosides. They produce hydrogen cyanide, which blocks cellular respiration. Swallowed seeds may also irritate the intestines and lead to their obstruction.
The most common symptoms of seed poisoning include vomiting, salivation, rapid breathing, convulsions, anxiety, and loss of consciousness.
Therefore, remember not to give your dog seeds, even for simple, innocent play.
Bones after heat treatment
Bones have been burdened with quite a myth, which says that they should not be given to dogs in any form. However, bones may be one of the elements BARF diets.
I wrote more about bones in the dogs’ diet in the article “Can dogs eat bones”.
However, getting to the point, the greatest threat is posed by any bones subjected to any thermal treatment, so we are talking here, among others: about cooked, dried and smoked bones. Bones change their structure under the influence of heat treatment, making them brittle and brittle. Unfortunately, eating such a bone by a dog may lead to damage to the intestinal mucosa, intestinal obstruction and perforation, or inflammation.
The most common symptoms of the harmful effects of cooked bones include constipation or failure to pass stools, decreased appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Consequently, eating such bones may lead to the death of the animal.
Xylitol is an ingredient that, unfortunately, many people still forget about. This is a commonly used sweetener. Ingestion of xylitol by dogs causes liver damage. Xylitol is absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly, which may lead to the animal’s collapse or death.
What I often warn against is paying attention to the composition of dietary supplements that we want to give our dog. Especially those intended for people, they may contain added xylitol.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include diarrhea, convulsions, coma and weakness.
The toxic dose of xylitol for dogs may be as low as 0.1 – 0.5 g/kg body weight.
Alcohol is obviously unhealthy for humans, but it can be even more dangerous for dogs. Alcohol poisoning can cause heart problems and muscle cramps. The main symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and, consequently, even death.
The main cause of yeast dough poisoning is ethanol. It is a product of yeast fermentation. Eating yeast dough by a dog can lead to stomach volvulus, which is a very dangerous condition that threatens the animal’s life.
The main symptoms of yeast poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, weakness, drop in body temperature, coma and, consequently, death.
While there are various studies on the positive impact of certain mushrooms on the dog’s body, it should be remembered that mushrooms constitute a huge taxonomic kingdom, containing many varieties and types.
We should remember about the potential poisoning of dogs with mushrooms especially during the holiday season, when they are often found on our Christmas Eve tables. Meanwhile, mushroom poisoning in dogs can cause convulsions, salivation, agitation, coma, as well as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
Spices such as pepper, nutmeg, mustard, cinnamon, and excess salt may be a source of poisoning in dogs. I wrote excess salt because salt itself is not poisonous, but it is a source of sodium necessary for dogs. However, as we know, too much of anything is not healthy. Therefore, especially if we decide to give our pet cooked meals, we must remember that they are not seasoned.
More about the cooked diet for dogs can be found in the article,,What to cook for the dog? – healthy meal for a dog”.
Interestingly, I still encounter situations where the dog regularly eats cat food. While such food will not be directly poisonous to the dog, it should be remembered that cats – as obligate carnivores – have slightly different needs for nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Therefore, cat food can often contain more protein and fats. Therefore, frequent consumption of cat food by a dog may lead to a disturbance of the mineral and vitamin balance.
Dairy products and dairy products
Sometimes we give our dog yogurt or cheese to eat. Personally, I am not in favor of using dairy products in dogs. Please remember that the ability to tolerate lactose decreases with age, so the consumption of dairy products by a dog may lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain or vomiting. Milk proteins are also common allergens.
Raw wild boar meat and offal
Raw wild boar meat and offal should also be avoided in dogs’ diets. The main reason is Aujeszky’s disease, which is fatal to dogs. The main symptoms of Aujeszky’s disease include paresis, paralysis, and very severe itching leading to the animal self-mutilating itself.
Pork is also mentioned as a potential source of the disease virus, but since 2006, a program to combat and monitor Aujeszky’s disease among the entire pig population has been carried out in Poland. You can read more about this in the article,“Can dogs and cats eat pork?”
What to do if your dog is poisoned?
If we observe any disturbing symptoms in our dog and suspect that it may have been poisoned, do not delay in contacting a veterinarian. Unfortunately, trying to save the dog on your own or looking for a quick solution on the Internet may not be effective and may end tragically for the dog.
Of course, we can usually quickly use activated carbon, which will delay the absorption of the toxic substance. However, this may not be enough, so urgent intervention by a veterinarian may be necessary.