We’re not necessarily opposed to feeding table scraps to a dog, but when it comes to impromptu treats, not all foods are made alike. While some human foods make perfectly safe and even healthy dog snacks, other are toxic or even deadly to canines. Read on to familiarize yourself with the treats you shouldn’t feed your dog.
GRAPES AND RAISINS
It takes only a handful of grapes or raisins to make a dog very sick. Science has yet to determine exactly why, but grapes are extremely dangerous for dogs to eat and can lead to irreversible kidney damage. Raisins, which are simply dried grapes, are just as toxic. Don’t feed these treats to your pooch, and if you should drop one on the floor, pick it up quickly before your furry friend makes a grab for it himself.
Dogs and bones have gone hand in hand since forever. Every pop culture depiction of a happy dog shows it contentedly going to town on a big, juicy bone. What could be more natural? Actually, chewing bones could be very dangerous for dogs.
Says Dr. Jennifer Coates, “I look at feeding bones in the same way I do letting dogs run loose. Is it natural? Yes. Do dogs like it? Yes. Are there some potential benefits? Yes ... until misfortune strikes.”
Here’s a list of things that can go wrong when a dog chews on a bone, according to PetMD: broken teeth, mouth or tongue injuries, bone gets looped around your dog's lower jaw, bone gets stuck in windpipe, bone gets stuck in stomach, bone gets stuck in intestines, constipation due to bone fragments, severe bleeding from the rectum and peritonitis. Doesn’t sound like fun. That’s why they make fake bones.
It is especially important that you don't feed a canine chicken bones, which can splinter when consumed and get lodged in a dog's body.
Dogs can eat many nuts (including peanuts and peanut butter) without issue, but macadamia nuts are not one of them. They are one of the most potentially dangerous human foods for dogs to eat. If consumed in even small amounts, macadamia nuts can cause neurological symptoms like weakness, vomiting, walking "drunk," tremors, lameness (especially in the rear legs) or even a complete (but temporary) inability to walk. If you have a dog, pick another nut to snack on, at least until you can train it not to eat your snacks.
Even people who don’t own dogs probably know that chocolate is very toxic to them. Remember that the amount of chocolate a dog eats can affect the level of toxicity, as well as the type of chocolate. For example, baking chocolate is most dangerous because it has the highest concentration of theobromine, the agent in chocolate that is toxic to dogs. If you suspect your dog of ingesting chocolate, know what to do, and contact a vet ASAP.
Xylitol is a sugar-free, calorie-free sweetener found in many chewing gums, mints, candies and toothpastes. It’s a boon for humans because it’s actually good for teeth, yet it’s deadly toxic to dogs, potentially causing liver disease or seizures. So don’t leave your artificially sweetened treats around where your dog can snag them and dispose of your chewing gum properly.
CORN ON THE COB
Corn itself is fine as an occasional treat for dogs. You could argue that the carbs aren’t necessary for the canine diet, and corn can be difficult to digest for dogs with especially sensitive stomachs. But for the most part, it’s a safe snack. The larger danger when it comes to corn is the cob. Just like with bones, dogs love to chew on corn cobs, but doing so can be unsafe. Swallowing a corn cob can cause an intestinal obstruction, which can be very dangerous and even deadly to your dog. If you dog loves corn, be sure to separate the kernels from the inedible cob and feed it in moderation.
Onions and other foods in the onion family (garlic, scallions, etc.) can damage canine red blood cells and cause anemia if a dog eats enough of the food. It may take quite a lot of onions to make a dog sick, but if your dog consumes onion in a concentrated form, like dried onion or onion powder, the risk is greater. Symptoms of intoxication include weakness, fatigue and urine that is colored orange or red. If you suspect your dog of onion exposure and observe these or other suspicious symptoms, consult your veterinarian.
Raw bread dough containing yeast can prove hazardous to dogs. Raw dough can expand quickly in a dog’s stomach, potentially restricting blood flow or pressing on the diaphragm, resulting in shortness of breath. Yeast can also produce alcohols in your dog’s stomach. If a dog ingests enough yeasts, it can cause alcohol intoxication. Even too much baked bread can cause problems, especially weight gain, since bread has a lot of calories and packs a high glycemic punch.
Dogs are carnivores by nature, so it seems like a no-brainer that raw meat should be fine for them to eat. Yet there is a great deal of debate over the issue and no clear answer. Proponents of raw-food diets for dogs can argue all day with those who say it’s unsafe. The main knock against raw meat and raw fish is that they can contain bacteria that may cause food poisoning. On the other hand, raw advocates say that dogs’ systems are much more able to deal with bacteria than the human body is and that any bacteria in raw meat is no threat to dogs. They also claim that organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association, which has issued policies advising against raw food for dogs, are in the pocket of the pet-food industry.
Next: Surprising People Foods Dogs Can Eat
There is a lot of disagreement about whether avocados are safe for dogs to eat. They are often cited as being toxic, and many pet owners have learned to keep avocados away from their dogs. The toxin in question is persin, which does exist in avocados, though it’s mostly in the pits of the fruit, and the bark and leaves of avocado trees. There’s little persin in the flesh of avocados and it would take a large dose of persin to make your dog sick. Still, if you’re a better-safe-than-sorry type, you may wish to avoid feeding your dog avocados altogether.