Just look at those puppy eyes. They’re begging you, “Feed me. Oh please, feed me. For the love of all that is good and holy, feed me!” It would be so easy to give in, to relent to that adorable face, but you must be strong. Resist!
Your dog’s body isn’t like yours, and plenty of our favorite foods can wreak all kinds of havoc on a hungry pooch. For the sake of their health, you should feed your four-legged family member a balanced, dog-specific diet. But sometimes, you just want to share a meal with your best friend. Share safely by avoiding these foods.
We all know a dog that has eaten its weight in chocolate without suffering ill-effects, but you still need to take this one seriously. Chocolate, when consumed by dogs in sufficient quantity, can cause agitation, vomiting, cardiac distress, and overheating. Death by chocolate, indeed.
But not all chocolate is created equal. The dangerous chemicals contained in chocolate, caffeine and theobromine (known as methylxanthines), can be present in very different quantities depending on the type of chocolate. The general rule, “the darker it is, the more dangerous it is,” is a good guideline. Examples of chocolates with relatively low amounts of methylxanthine: M&Ms, chocolate frosting, white chocolate. Examples of chocolates with dangerously high methylxanthine content: baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, dark chocolate.
The good news is that most chocolate consumed by Americans is relatively low in caffeine and theobromine (which is why Fido ate a whole chocolate cake and lived to wag the tail). No chocolate is good for your dog, but it probably won’t be lethal in small doses. If you have a taste for ultra-dark chocolate though, or just keep cocoa powder in the house, stay on your toes.
2. Onions (and garlic, leeks, and chives)
Onions, and related plants, are bad news for dogs. They contain a bunch of chemicals that wreck your dog’s body, called organosulfides. This includes concentrated forms of the plants, like garlic powder, onion powder, or onion broth.
Dogs that eat onions can experience vomiting and other gastrointestinal distress. Even more dangerously, the compounds in onions can destroy red blood cells, causing potentially lethal anemia.
And let’s not forget: doggie garlic breath. Steer clear.
3. Macadamia Nuts
If your dog eats macadamia nuts, it’s going to have a bad time. Weakness in their legs, apparent pain, and tremors are likely going to follow ingestion. Even though it’s probably not going to be fatal (usually symptoms fade away within 48 hours), no one wants to see their dog in distress. Next time you’re in Hawaii, bring your dog back a pineapple instead.
4. Bread Dough
This one sounds a bit weird, because when has bread ever been dangerous? You love that freshly-baked smell, but your dog might think the uncooked dough is just as delicious. If your dog eats uncooked bread, specifically dough with live yeast, things could get messy fast.
First, the bread dough will continue to rise inside your dog’s stomach. This can be… uncomfortable for the dog, and can cause a lot of damage just by expanding and expanding. Organ damage is the worst case scenario.
But then, active yeast produces alcohol, which is potent for dogs. As bad as a fast-growing blob of dough inside your dog is, alcohol poisoning is worse. Best to keep the dough out of your mutt’s maw entirely.
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