Five Surprising Foods that are Poisonous to Dogs

11 11 2008

With the recent spate of recalls and the obscured origins of much commercial pet food, many dog owners have turned to home-cooked meals as a safe and cost-effective solution for feeding their furry companions. 

Most pet parents know that chocolate and certain plants like poinsettias should be off-limits to man’s best friend. However, several natural and seemingly healthy human foods are also harmful–even toxic–to dogs. So before you head to the kitchen to whip up fresh batch of canine casserole, read on to discover five surprising foods that are toxic to dogs—and five Fido-friendly snacks you may already have in your cupboard.


Caveat Eater:

Garlic & Onion: Though treated as a health food and often taken in supplement form by humans, garlic (along with its alliaceae cousins onions and leeks) is toxic—sometimes deadly—for pets, with reactions ranging from stomach damage to acute dermatitis to asthmatic attacks. Pets By Nature reports the story of a Pennsylvania woman who lost her Newfoundland to garlic poisoning: “Within two weeks of feeding a popular garlic supplement available at most pet stores and over the Internet, her Newfoundland developed a bleeding ulcer and perforated intestine.” The dog did not survive.

Grapes & Raisins: While not as toxic as members of the onion family, consumption of grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, dehydration and, in large quantities, kidney failure. The exact toxin present in grapes is not known, but scientists have established that both commercially and privately cultivated grapes, as well as raisins, present a risk. 

Avocado: According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic substance called Persin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal unpleasantness in dogs. While a medium-sized dog would have to consume a substantial quantity of avocado (picture a big bowl of guacamole) to become seriously ill, even a little bit is enough to cause an upset tummy.

Macadamia Nuts: Not widely consumed outside of Hawaii, macadamia nuts pose a stealth risk to canine health. The nuts can cause macadamia nut toxicosis, resulting in soreness, stiffness, and listlessness, according to Working Dog Magazine. The condition usually passes in 48 hours, but can lead to shock in severe cases.

Nutmeg: This popular spice, commonly used to season cakes, vegetables and even lasagna, should never be found on your dog’s dinner plate. Nutmeg, which has mild hallucinogenic properties, can cause seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems in dogs. In severe cases, shock and death have been reported.


Fido-Friendly Snacks:

So what’s an aspiring canine gourmet to do? In fact, there are several so-called human foods you can use to add flavor and variety to your dog’s diet. Carrots and apples are a favorite of many dogs who enjoy crunchy snacks and can be served cold on a hot summer day. Be sure to cut them into small pieces, though, as dogs have shorter digestive tracts than people do, preventing them from completely digesting large chunks.

Well-cooked rice is a great starting point for much homemade canine cuisine, particularly for dogs with sensitive stomach or those, like many terriers, who are allergic to wheat.

And of course there is rarely a dog who will turn up his nose at meat; however, many dogs are sensitive to beef and chicken. Turkey and salmon are good alternatives, though they too can cause problems if they are undercooked. 

The key to feeding your pet well at home is creating a healthy, safe and balanced diet that suits the particular needs and tastes of your canine companion.  Always consult your veterinarian before making any decisions regarding your dog’s health and diet.




10 responses

12 11 2008
5 Surprising Foods That Are Poisonous To Dogs » Dogster for the Love of Dog Blog

[…] for Fido friendly snacks?  Grab your leash and run on over to read about some healthy foods that can be added to your dog’s […]

12 11 2008
12 11 2008
Bobbe and Sara

I didn’t know about nutmeg, although it makes sense. I did know about all the others. Two of Sara’s favorite snacks are carrots and apples and she always gets the ends of my big carrots and the cores (minus the seeds, which contain cyanide) of the apples. Sara also enjoys pears. A real favorite is hard boiled egg and she would probably try to eat a whole dozen if she could.

We alway tell owners of new puppies that the really big (Klingon size) carrots make the best ever puppy chew toys! Not only really healthy, the pups can chew to their hearts’ content without the potential damage that rawhide can cause.

13 11 2008
Paw Luxury

Thank you so much for this article. Learned something knew with the nutmeg and the avacado’s. Wow. It is so important to be careful because our dogs show us so much love, we must protect them.
Thanks again, keep up the great work.
-Adam, Wendy & Lola (Woof Woof)

13 11 2008
Asilee M. Barnes

Wow, thats interesting.

13 11 2008

I think sprinkling monosodium glutamate in any dog food would do the job. I don’t recommend this!!

13 11 2008
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[…] Five Surprising Foods that are Poisonous to Dogs With the recent spate of recalls and the obscured origins of much commercial pet food, many dog owners have turned to […] […]

20 01 2009

I am an advocate on “a tired dog is a happy dog.” This may come from the fact that I show and train hunting jack russells, from the old blood lines, not the new AKC standards. This type of jack’s a very active, inquisitive and intelligent type, since when going to ground they have to use their own instincts when underground. While these jacks are used for hunting, I also show in obedience, agility, lure coursing, racing and other terrier trials. I also teach the jacks to do tricks and most of all, they are family members. Guess my point is that if you want to keep a dog happy, then it needs to be busy daily. Bored dogs tend to become problems dogs who develop bad habits.

23 03 2009
online fruit

hey excellent post, really enjoyed it. I’ve added your blog to my netvibes account – will be keeping up with your posts!

4 02 2010
5 Surprising Foods That Are Poisonous To Dogs

[…] for Fido friendly snacks? Grab your leash and run on over to read about some healthy foods that can be added to your dog’s […]

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