I love eating! Particularly outdoors, in the sunshine, tucking into deliciously healthy food packed full of goodness … such a joy.
Like salads, bursting with colour rich in beneficial nutrients, but always with a cheeky slice of freshly-baked bread on the side!
And it’s practically perfect when your pooch is there by your feet, looking up at you lovingly.
Or wait, is it hungrily?
And that’s when it happens.
You start to feel guilty.
With every. bite. you. take.
What is it with dogs and their eyes huh?
That little expression halfway between hope and sadness that makes our hearts melt.
So it’s decision time. Do you give him a bit of your bread? Or perhaps pop some of your healthy salad in his bowl?
Before you handover even a morsel of your food, there are a few facts you should know.
Some foods are toxic to dogs, can cause severe illness, and possibly result in death.
For those of you with no time but desperate to know, here’s your list:
- Sugar sweeteners (Xylitol)
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw dough
- Mouldy food
- Citrus fruit
For the rest of you who want to know why they’re toxic, here ya go …
10 foods never to feed your dog
1 Sugar sweeteners
Otherwise known as Xylitol, this natural sweetener found in many everyday treats such as peanut butter, sweets, jam, cereals, and baked goods, is potentially fatal for dogs.
When we eat it, we’re unlikely to see any harmful change in insulin release or blood sugar levels.
But if dogs munch on even a small amount of Xylitol, they’ll start to release insulin which drops their blood sugar level rapidly and could lead to liver failure.
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Heightened heart rate
And can lead to death.
If you feed your dog tidbits or he has a habit of nicking food off the counter (or from your bag), make sure you check the label first. Avoid Xylitol at all costs. And if Xylitol isn’t listed, but artificial sweeteners are, err on the side of caution and avoid.
It could save your dog’s life.
2 Grapes / Raisins
Grapes and their dried form of raisins are incredibly toxic to dogs.
Although it’s unknown what causes the toxicity in grapes, the effect can be deadly – acute kidney failure.
- No appetite
- Abdominal pain
And can lead to death.
Throw him some blueberries or cranberries instead – they’re two canine super-foods after all!
Onions are toxic to dogs because of a substance they contain which reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. In serious cases, anemia will occur.
All parts of an onion are toxic in raw or cooked form.
- Red urine
- Pale gums
And to a lesser extent, vomiting and diarrhea.
So next time you order fried onion rings from your local takeout, make sure they’re well away from your furry friend.
4 Macadamia nuts
Similarly to grapes and raisins, it’s not known what causes toxicity in dogs but it can be incredibly serious with the most common symptom being weakness and the inability to walk, especially in the hind legs.
- Inability to walk
The toxic component of chocolate and cocoa products is theobromine which dogs digest very slowly causing levels to build up, which leads to theobromine poisoning.
- Muscle tremors
- Internal bleeding
And in worse cases, heart attack.
Different chocolate products contain different theobromine levels, but I strongly suggest avoiding all chocolate entirely.
The majority of mushrooms you’ll find day-to-day are safe for your dog to eat.
But some aren’t.
And this becomes critical when you’re out walking. Because it’s with wild mushrooms that you’ll most likely encounter problems.
So the best advice is to avoid mushrooms altogether when out and about, or even in your back garden. If you see your dog near any, call him back to minimise the risk.
Which can lead on to:
- Liver failure
- Death, in the worse instances
7 Raw dough
There are two reasons why eating raw dough containing yeast is life-threatening to dogs.
- As the dough continues to rise and expand in the stomach of your dog, it can cause gastric-dilatation volvulus i.e. twisted stomach. Creating the inability for the dog to retch to get rid of it, eventually leading to heightened heart rate and collapse.
- As the dough is exposed to its new warm environment, the yeast enzymes convert the sugar in the dough to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol created from the fermenting yeast gets absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream resulting in alcohol poisoning.
- Swollen abdomen
- High heart rate
And in worse cases, can lead to death.
8 Mouldy food
Just like with people, mouldy food can cause serious harm to our dogs.
When foods such as bread, cheese, nuts and pasta start to decay, tremorgenic mycotoxins are produced. These toxins are poisonous that without treatment, can be fatal.
Worse cases can lead to seizures.
9 Citrus fruit
The acid levels, essential oils and psoralens found in citrus fruit are toxic to dogs.
- Unusual light sensitivity
Whilst you wouldn’t necessarily think of giving your dog caffeine, they can get hold of it in various forms. From taking a sneaky slurp from your morning cuppa, to fizzy drinks and supplements.
Similarly to the effect caffeine can have on us such as hyperactivity and restlessness, this can lead to more serious things in our little pets.
- Elevated heart rate
- Abnormal heart rhythms
And in worse cases, death.
You may have known about many if not all of these toxic foods, but please make sure your dog- loving friends do too.
And next time you’re having a bite to eat, avoid eye-contact, ignore the drool and throw him a carrot to munch on instead – high in beta-carotene that helps with night vision and protects their eyes against cataracts.
He’ll be happy to have something – anything – and you’ll feel better for aiding his health rather than hindering it.