9 common foods you should never feed your pup

Nutrition

As Melbournians, we’ve all been guilty of lining up on a Sunday morning for a great smashed avo’ – but make sure you think twice before you share your brunch with your pup – it can have dangerous and potentially lethal consequences.

While it is often tempting to sneak your pooch a bite or two from your plate (who can resist those adorable puppy dog eyes?), sometimes being a good pet parent comes down to knowing when to say no! Most dog owners seem to be clued into the fact that chocolate is toxic for dogs but did you know that there are a bunch of other common human foods that you should avoid feeding your pup? We’ve put together a list of the most toxic and dangerous foods for dogs – while many of these foods are common in the home pantry, with careful preparation and storage, you can rest assured that your best friend remains safe! What's more, you can order fresh dog food from us, which is free from all harmful ingredients - not just the ones below!

Chocolate

Let’s start with one of the more easily accessible (and unfortunately most harmful) foods – Chocolate. Chocolate and cacao contain an ingredient called theobromine which is highly toxic to dogs. Dogs cannot metabolise or excrete these toxins nearly as well as humans and they remain in the bloodstream for up to 36 hours continually being reabsorbed and poisoning the animal. Ingesting chocolate can result in dehydration, stomach pain, vomiting, hyperactivity, restlessness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, hypersensitivity to touch, muscle tremors, general weakness and in severe cases seizures, coma and death. Before you panic, we should note that the severity of the side effects on a dog will depend on the size of the dog as well as the type and amount of chocolate consumed. Although theobromine is present in all types of chocolate, it is more prevalent in darker, less sweeter chocolates (for example cocoa powder). In general it only takes 30-50 grams of milk chocolate per kg of bodyweight to be lethal. To be safe make sure you don’t leave any form of chocolate lying around where your pup can get to it! If your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate monitor closely for 36 hours and immediately seek medical attention if any symptoms occur. 

Apple seeds

Apples are a fantastic, low calorie treat for your pup but did you know that apple seeds can be toxic? Apple seeds contain very small amounts of cyanide and although a few seeds are unlikely to cause much harm, eating them over time can result in a build up of cyanide in your dog’s system which can be hazardous. Apples are best fed to dogs sliced with the core discarded as they can be a choking hazard for dogs.

Xylitol

We all love giving our dogs a big spoon of peanut butter and watching them lick it off. But did you know that not all peanut butters are safe for your pup? Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can often be found in lollies, toothpaste, gum and rarely in some peanut butters and condiments and can have deadly consequences for dogs. Xylitol can cause a spike in insulin resulting your dog’s blood sugar levels to drop potentially causing serious damage to your pupper’s liver. While most peanut butter’s in Australia seem to be Xylitol free, we have found two brands that you should avoid for dogs – Nuts N More Peanut Butter and P28 Peanut Butter. Be sure to check the ingredients list carefully before you next dip your dog’s spoon in for some crunchy goodness.

Grapes & Raisins

While they make for the perfect snack for kids, grapes & raisins should be kept away from dogs. Scientists are still unsure as to why they are toxic to dogs but what we do know that is even a small amount can make dogs very ill. How a dog reacts to eating some will depend on breed and size but even a handful of either can cause serious problems for your pup, including kidney failure. Early signs of grape poisoning in dogs include vomiting and hyperactivity and then slump into lethargy in the following days. If you see any of these early signs in your doggo make sure to take them to the vet immediately. 

Alcohol

Alcohol and any food products containing alcohol are much more toxic to dogs than humans. Even in very small quantities, alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, depression and can be fatal.

Caffeine

Similar to humans, caffeine acts as a stimulant in dogs and can cause increased heart rate which may result in palpitations and muscular tremors. A few licks of tea or coffee may not cause any material harm but if your pup swallows a handful of coffee beans or eats a tea bag, they could be in danger.

Onions & Garlic

Onions & garlic (and any vegetables part of the allium plant family, including leek, chives, shallots and others) are great for adding flavour to human food but can wreak havoc on your dog’s tummy. These vegetables and herbs can cause stomach and gut irritation and could potentially lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia. Onions are particularly toxic and one to watch out for when feeding your any table scraps or leftovers. 

Avocado

These popular fruits may be a superfood for humans but are no good for your pup. Not only can the high fat content disrupt your dog’s stomach, the slippery pit is a serious choking hazard. Avocados also contain the chemical Persin, which is toxic to dogs and can be found in large amounts in the leaves, seeds and bark of an Avocado tree – something to watch our for if you have one planted in your backyard.

Macadamia nuts

If you love snacking on macadamia nuts, be sure to keep your stash safely hidden as these snacks are one of the worst human foods to feed your pup. Even just a small quantity of nuts can make our furry friends ill, with symptoms including muscle tremors, vomiting and potentially even paralysis.

Image: @two.dulux.dogs

About the author

Andrew is a certified canine nutritionist with a passion for helping all dogs live longer, healthier and happier lives through proper nutrition, care and owner education. Currently a doting Dad to Daisy, a loveable Golden Retriever. Over the years he has loved and cared for Australian Terriers, Border Collies and a particularly sweet Maltese Shih-Tzu.