Friday, March 13, 2009

Toxic Foods for Dogs

As a puppy trainer at dog school I often get asked about certain foods you should and should not feed your dog. Here is a good list of certain foods that may be toxic to your dog and puppy.
. Unfortunately, there are many we are not often aware of that are just as dangerous. Below is a list of common foods that are harmful to dogs.



Toxic Foods:

Chocolate/Caffeine:

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include Staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.

Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

Onions/Garlic:

Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. Symptoms include Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine.

The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.

While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.

Mushrooms:

Mushroom toxicity does occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom in the US but other Amanita species are toxic. Symptoms include Abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death

Grapes/Raisins:

As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Macadamia Nuts:

Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

NOTE: Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts, such foods should be given in only small quantities, or not at all. Be sure that your pets can’t get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden.

Baby Food:

Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources:

Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Cat Food:

Cat food is generally too high in protein and fats.

Fat Trimmings:

Can cause pancreatitis.

Milk and other dairy products:

Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

Raw Eggs:

Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw Fish:

Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.

3 comments:

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

Tank woo fur watching out fur us!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra The Pawsylvania Siberian

BeadedTail said...

Great information! Thanks for sharing!

Pet Poison Helpline said...

Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your website- so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As an ER specialist, I see so many toxicities that owners bring in too late (making it more expensive to treat, with a worse prognosis!).

When in doubt, it's so important to call a Poison Control for peace of mind! I wanted to make you aware of another important resource out there also - Pet Poison Helpline is an additional Animal Poison Control Center, and it's one of the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) controls out there nowadays. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federal- or state-funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. You can always call 1-800-213-6680 if you ever have a problem. Thanks for spreading the word!

Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services
www.petpoisonhelpline.com
www.drjustinelee.com