Most of the food that we enjoy eating can be toxic to our dogs. We researched the different and the most common food items that are consumed by humans but can be dangerous for dogs.
Dogs are almost like us humans and having to take care of them is like caring for your child. This is why most American households (around 60-70%) consider having pets as a part of their family and the most prevalent of them all is a dog.
Considering them as a family member, we are bound to get generous and compassionate when it comes to sharing our food with them. But, we must also keep our dog’s health in mind. Not everything that we like to eat can be shared with our pooch.
Unlike humans, dogs have a less complex digestive system that functions very differently. So here we have shared the most common human food items that can be dangerous to dogs:
Human Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat
1. All-time favorite: Chocolate
Chocolate is the most admired food item but is very toxic for dogs. Chocolate is derived from cacao seeds and contains an alkaloid compound called theobromine which has mood-altering effects. Theobromine may also contain caffeine in traces as it is a member of the methylxanthine family of compounds. While chocolate is known to release multiple peptides in humans to the brain and gut and improve their mood, it can have adverse effects on your pet. Darker your chocolate, the more bitter it gets and the more it affects your dog.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, High Blood Pressure, Panting, Seizures, etc.
Xylitol is used as an artificial sweetening agent in candies, gums, and other diet foods. It belongs to the class of sugar alcohol and is a low-calorie sweetener. Xylitol is known to cause no side effects in humans but does no good to your pooch. Your dog may show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea or loss of coordination. Xylitol can also have effects on insulin regulation which may eventually lead to liver failure in a few days.
Effects: Seizures, Liver Failure, Vomiting, Lethargy, Hypoglycemia, etc.
3. Say No to Alcohol
While it is known to give a tipsy feeling to humans, it multiplies in case of hounds due to their small size. Also, the smaller the dog, the worse are the effects. It requires just a tiny bit of alcohol to cause side effects in dogs. Alcohol in any form or quantity can be bad for your pooch. It can majorly cause depression and inhibit motor function.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Co-ordination problems, Breathing Problems, Coma, etc.
4. Tea, Coffee, and Caffeine
Which are the best possible sources of caffeine that can pep you up? Energy drinks, tea, coffee, latte, cola? While these items often kick-start your day, these are not recommended for dogs. Rather caffeine in any form, majorly whole coffee beans, brewed coffee, tea leaves, and coffee grounds can lead to rapid heartbeat and behavioral changes. Caffeine is also used as an ingredient in medicines and painkillers. Therefore, one has to be extremely careful before giving any medications to your canine.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Seizures, Hypertension, Death (worst cases)
5. Gum and Candy: Trick or Treat?
Many types of gum and candy contain artificial sweeteners and xylitol. While we discussed the potential side effects of xylitol, candies can be harmful despite not having xylitol in them. Gums and Candy can usually end up choking in the throat and digestive tract and cause blockages. If the candy is hard, it can result in tooth damage and decay.
Effects: Vomiting, Fatigue, Choking and Blockage, Digestive disorders, Tooth Decay
6. The Tastemaker: Salt
Salt is a magical ingredient and a tinge can make any food taste better. While salt contains sodium and is an essential ingredient of any food, too much salt is neither safe for humans nor dogs. Salt causes high blood pressure in humans. When consumed by dogs in excess in a short span, it can cause salt ion poisoning. Excess salt makes your pet feeling dehydrated and thirsty. It can lead to gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, and in worst cases even death. So the next time you are eating a packet of chips, make sure to keep your pooch at bay.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Depression, Tremors, High Blood Pressure, High Temperature, Seizures, Thirst, Convulsions
7. Grapes and Raisins
The exact mechanism behind grapes and raisins being harmful to dogs is not exactly known. But feeding them with even the smallest quantities can be toxic and can cause negative reactions in your pooch.
Effects: The exact level of toxicity is unknown, but grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in sensitive dogs.
8. Don’t Eat That Dough
Yeast is mostly a component found in bread dough, buns, etc. When the dough is in raw form, allow it to rise and mature before your dog can consume it. Although it is advisable to avoid substances containing yeast, mild quantities are bearable by your pet.If the dough remains raw and contains yeast, the dough may continue to expand causing abnormalities, discomfort, and bloating in your dog’s stomach. It can even rupture your dog’s intestines and other neighboring tissues.
When yeast rises, it also produces alcohol that has its other set of effects. Your dog may show signs of intoxication.
Effects: Vomiting, Disorientation, Restlessness, High Body Temperature, Excessive Panting, Muscle Tremors, Seizures, Intestinal Failure
9. Half n’ Half
We have often come across lactose intolerance in humans, which involves a deficiency of the enzyme lactase required to digest the lactose in milk. Dogs usually do not possess the lactase enzyme. In the process, it leads to vomiting and diarrhea. While consuming milk-related products like cottage cheese, or other forms of cheese, butter, etc., they not only have proteins but a high fat and carbohydrate content. Excessive fat can be harmful to dogs and therefore these food items are to be given in moderation. Some dog breeds can tolerate lactose better while some can’t.
Effects: Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Bloating, Gas, Vomiting, Digestive disorders
10. No Going NUTS
While nuts are known to be filled with beneficial oils and fats and are quite nutritious for humans, they have their adverse set of effects on dogs. Excessive fats can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis in dogs. These symptoms tend to last for 1-2 days and your dog may experience weakness. Macadamia Nuts are especially to be avoided as it contains high amounts of monounsaturated fats. These are proven to be healthy for humans but harmful to dogs.
Effects: Weakness, Hyperthermia, Tremors, Vomiting, Depression, High Body Temperature
11. Avoid Avocados
Avocados are known to contain a toxin called Persin. The concentration of Persin is known to be high in the leaves and bark of an avocado tree and the skin and pit of the fruit. The ripe pulp has low concentrations of the toxin. Higher concentrations are known to cause allergies in dogs but mild amounts of raw avocado pulp cause no major harm. Although, it is best avoided.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea
12. No Onion, No Garlic
Onion and Garlic are commonly used as flavors in dog foods and dog treats. That being said, an excess of anything is not good. Onions and Garlic in raw or powdered form should be avoided, although minute quantities used for flavoring are bearable. These are known to kill red blood cells causing anemia. They also cause gastrointestinal disorders if consumed in excess at once.
Effects: Weakness, Vomiting, Breathing problems, Anemia
13. Meat and Eggs: Raw or Cooked?
Some dog owners are of the idea that raw meat and eggs contain proteins essential for a dog. But your dog could also be allergic to the protein and therefore cooked meat and egg is a better idea. Although, raw meat and eggs may contain bacteria like E.Coli and Salmonella which can cause digestive issues, just as in the case of humans.
Effects: Diarrhea, Vomiting, Food Poisoning
Citrus fruits like Oranges, Lemon, etc contain Citric Acid. Citric Acid in minute quantities is safe for consumption although excess can cause central nervous depression. Dogs don’t generally prefer the taste of citric acid.Citrus forms a part of dog foods as they are used as preservatives. Small amounts used as preservatives cause no major side effects in pets.
Effects: Central Nervous Depression, Irritation, Minor Stomach Upset
15. Cut the Fat
Dog Foods are known to contain high-fat content, especially puppy food. Dogs use reserved fat as energy and transport cholesterol as HDL’s also called good cholesterol. Therefore, they do not have to worry about cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Make sure to not change the quantity or type of fat consumed. Foods containing high amounts of fat like bacon, fast food, sausages, etc. can lead to an upset stomach or even diarrhea. It can even cause pancreatitis and is very unhealthy. Although food rich in fats is very lucrative, they are best kept away from pets.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Upset Stomach
16. Table Scraps
Leftovers like meat pieces and bones usually form a part of your dog’s meal but are not always a great idea. While your dog chews on the bone, make sure he’s under your supervision else your dog may choke on it. Bones may cause obstruction and blockage in your dog’s digestive tract. Rather, small bones can get stuck in the intestine. Hard bone pieces can also damage their teeth.
Bone splinters can damage their intestines, and cooked bones can get worse. If at all you are giving your dog a bone, make sure you monitor him and note the quantity.
Effects: Constipation, Teeth Damage, Intestinal Puncture, Stomach Upset
17. Corn on the Cob
This makes scrap material in many households and dinner tables although, it is not very advisable for your dog. The corn cobs do not digest well in the dog’s stomach. Corn cobs can cause intestinal damage and abdominal discomfort in dogs due to their size and shape.
Effects: Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Constipation or Diarrhea
Coconut oil or coconut water in small quantities is not likely to cause any discomfort although, if consumed in excess, it can lead to loose stools and diarrhea.Coconut water also contains high amounts of potassium that are potentially dangerous if consumed in excess.
Effects: Upset Stomach, Loose Stools, Diarrhea
19. Say ‘NO Cheese’
It is known that high amounts of fat are not recommended in dogs as it causes diarrhea. Fat in limited quantities is good but certain food products like blue cheese, especially Stilton and Roquefort varieties are specifically dangerous. Certain dogs are sensitive to Roquefortine C which causes tremendous symptoms ranging from vomiting to tremors. If your dog has consumed excessive fats or blue cheese in any way, rush to the vet immediately.
Effects: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Tremors, Twitching, Seizures
20. Keep Your Meds to Yourself
While medicines are known to cure diseases, they can get deadlier and disease-causing in the case of pets. Always consult a vet before getting any medicines for your pet. Certain classes of drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are commonly consumed by humans as pain relievers but a doggy’s immune system does not quite approve of these drugs and rather causes allergies.
Effects: Allergies, Fatal in worse cases.
No matter how careful you are, if you leave your dog unattended, it is likely to swallow something unwanted. That calls for an emergency. In such cases, keep your local vet’s number or any emergency clinic’s number handy. Here is a list of numbers you may always want to keep in your phonebook:
- National Animal Poison Control Center (1 888 426 4435): This is a 24-hour manual emergency helpline. Their consultations may be chargeable but that’s negligible when it comes to your dog’s health.
- Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661: Chargeable consultations but best care with their team of experts and veterinarians.
What is Safe?
To make sure your dog has a quality and healthy life, he needs to consume pure and proper food. A well-balanced diet is a key to keeping your dog fit and healthy. Choose the ingredients carefully if you are preparing his food, else check the label carefully or consult a vet before choosing to feed any type of meal.
That said, your dog should not be devoid of enjoying tiny treats that you can give him once a while to provide variety. Here are a few options you can consider for your pooch.
- Lean Meats: Well cooked meat pieces, devoid of fat, flesh, and bones are the best treat a dog can enjoy.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh fruits in small quantities like apples, watermelons, and bananas are good for your pet once in a while. Make sure to remove the seeds, stems, and leaves as they can be dangerous. In the case of veggies, a stick of carrot or beans or cucumber is quite healthy.
Baked potatoes are also a healthy snack option. Cooked veggies are preferred over raw ones to avoid allergies. Keep your dog away from your fruit or vegetable garden to prevent him from eating raw items.
- Cooked White Rice: Boiled and plain white rice serves as quite a healthy meal as it is rich in carbohydrates. Rather boiled rice is quite recommended during dog stomach problems.
Are raw foods better than cooked foods to feed my pet?
There is no proof that raw foods are better than cooked foods. However, certain observations and studies claim that raw foods can lead to dental fractures, bacterial and parasitic infections. Young pups and dogs who have a compromised immune system may be prone to infections due to raw food.
If your pet is undergoing treatment or consuming any medications, avoid feeding them a raw diet. Raw meat is known to contain bacteria and parasites.
Dogs who have consumed raw food have been observed to shed viable pathologic organisms in their feces. Raw foods are not quite safe and are deficient in essential nutrients. They also contain high amounts of fat which cannot be tolerated by certain dogs.
Is human-grade dog food safe for my dog?
It is to be noted that the term ‘human-grade’ holds no specific importance in pet food products. Human grade food is nothing but commercial meals prepared using human-grade ingredients, meant to be consumed by dogs.
The food follows certain packaging and manufacturing standards. These are mostly ready to eat, contain freeze-dried food with added preservatives and are edible for humans too.
Human grade foods boast of having high-quality ingredients but may lack essential nutrients. Human grade dog food is not extraordinarily great or highly nutritious at all times.
Can I feed my pet human food instead of dog food?
There is no harm in feeding human foods to dogs. But there are a lot of restrictions that imply as dogs have a sensitive digestive system and cannot digest every other human food.
Stick to lean meats and low-fat foods, avoid chips and fried items. Dog foods are more suitable and specifically formulated to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. Feeding human foods once a while causes no major harm.
What is the best food to feed my pet?
There is no best diet available for your pet. Although, you can consider checking the list of ingredients and the brand. High quality, branded dog foods offer better quality checking as compared to small scale dog food companies. More than anything, it should have a balanced set of nutrients for your pet and should be free of allergens or additives.
We love our pets just like any other family member, and we want them to share every experience with us. Be it any activity or sharing the best of food. But it is always to be kept in mind that a dog’s digestive system is very different as compared to humans and they cannot tolerate anything and everything.
Our list of dangerous human foods for dogs will help you analyze what’s best for your pooch so you can prevent them from getting allergies and gastrointestinal issues.
And always remember to keep it simple, minimalistic and safe.