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Pooches & Poisons: Part 1

dog begging for food

What do grapes, chocolate and anti-depressants have in common? Nope, they're not all offerings to your mom-in-law to make her love you more; they're things that are toxic to dogs. Yes, you've heard from us about toxins recently; we've been on the Pets & Poisons prowl, also sniffing out what could kill your cat (besides curiosity, of course). Now onwards to your precious pooch...

There are two main areas to the "what's poisonous to dogs" discussion: Food and Not-Food. In today's Part 1, we check out food as it's a particularly large list to swallow. We often want our beloved canine BFF to eat some of the yummy stuff we eat, especially as he's been trained to sit and take food so beautifully! (Hasn't he?) But we'd be wrong about this. Dogs metabolise food differently and quite a few of our foodstuffs are highly toxic to them. So next time you see those pleading puppy-dog eyes (oh how well we know them!) remember that any of the following items is an absolute no-no.

Forbidden Foodstuffs

  • Alcohol... not a clever party trick - contains ethanol, which, even in small amounts, can have toxic effects and the hops in beer are also harmful, potentially causing increased heartrate, elevated temperature, seizures, and worse.
  • Avocado - has a chemical compound called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Cat Food - mainly because most cat foods have higher protein levels than your doggie needs. Regular cat food-eating dogs will get fat and could end up with gastrointestinal problems.
  • Camel Meat from Australia - not sure how likely we are to come across this, but it's interesting. The meat can contain an acid called indospicine which could result in liver disease in dogs. Particular to Australian camels because they graze on plants that have a toxic amino acid. Who knew?!
  • Chocolate and cocoa - contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.
  • Coffee, tea and other caffeinated dinks (such as energy drinks) - caffeine is toxic to the heart and nervous system of canines.
  • Citrus fruit and oil extracts - lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruit peels, fruit and seeds can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Raw Eggs - there is some debate around "Can you? / Can't you?" - research suggests that raw egg inhibits the absorption of Vitamin B in dogs, so best to avoid it.
  • Raw Fish - also under debate, but fish contains an enzyme that breaks down Vitamin B2 and feeding Fido raw fish can result in a vitamin deficiency. Need we mention the danger of bones in cooked fish? Thought not!
  • Fatty meats - high-fat foods can be very dangerous and can cause canine inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Grapes / Raisins / Currants - can result in kidney damage in dogs and cats.
  • Macadamia nuts - these affect the digestive and nervous systems.
  • Marijuana - no laughing matter, similar to the human response, it depresses the nervous system and can cause vomiting.
  • Milk / Dairy Products - dogs can be sensitive to these, so best to avoid them.
  • Wild Mushrooms - some (not all) can have some nasty side-effects, such as anxiety and restlessness, best to give all wild mushrooms a wide berth.
  • Onions / Garlic (raw and cooked) - contain sulfoxides and disulfides that could damage red blood cells and cause anaemia.
  • Persimmons - possible for the seeds to become stuck in the intestine and cause enteritis.
  • Peaches / Plums - the stones (pit/pip) in fruit could get stuck in Fido's throat.
  • Rhubarb (similar to tomatoes and raw potatoes) - the leaves have oxalates that affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
  • Green or Raw Potatoes - also have oxalates which can trigger abnormalities with the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract.
  • Sugar / Sugary Foods - cause dental problems, weight gain and could lead to diabetes mellitus (note to self here too!).
  • Unripe Tomato - has tomatine in it, an alkaloid related to solanine and atropine, and as a tomato ripens, tomatine disappears,
  • Tobacco - nicotine is harmful to the digestive and nervous systems with bad side-effects, including vomiting, diarrhoea, trembling, drooling, constricted pupils, excitement, leading to possible seizures.
  • Yeast / Dough - keep this clear of your canine when you're whipping up that bread or pizza dough - it can an expand in the digestive system with painful and dangerous results. Carbs in general aren't great for canines, so best to avoid.
  • Xylitol - an artificial sweetener found in many things, including chewing gum. It can cause hypoglycaemia (i.e. low blood sugar) which can result in vomiting, weakness and possible liver failure.

Feeling a bit barking mad? Want to howl for help? Yup, it's a loooooooooooonnnnng "foodie no-no" list and we've worked ourselves up into a bit of a pant about pets and poisons too. Our doggies are so beloved and involved in our lives every leap of the way, but when it comes to food we simply mustn't share everything with them. Keep your common sense with you at all times and your vet's number on speed dial, just in case. And keep your nose to the ground for the intoxicating scent of the final episode of "Pooches & Poisons", coming soon to a blog near you...

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