Any dog owner can attest that it can be difficult to say “no” to those big brown eyes as they peer up into your lap as you eat dinner or when you watch a movie with a bowl of snacks. Dogs are social animals, and research suggests that begging for human kibble is their way of saying they want to be like you.
When you enjoy your slice of pizza or piece of cheesecake, your dog can pick up your “happiness,” and he or she wants to indulge, too. They aren’t trying to be annoying; they simply want to experience your joy. As much as many dog owners like to cater to every need and want, there are times when it’s necessary to say “no” and sharing human food is one of those times.
You may see a lot of shared posts on social media telling you what you can or cannot feed your dog, but it can be confusing and inaccurate. Although there are some foods, intended for humans, that dogs can eat safely, here are eight foods that you should never, we mean never, feed to your dog, no matter how much he or she begs:
Keeping your dog away from alcoholic beverages may be a “no-brainer,” but it is still worth a mention. Think about how alcohol can affect you when you’ve had too much and now think about your dog who weighs just a fraction of your weight. While we’ve all heard stories of a dog who loved to drink beer with his owner, alcohol can cause damage to your dog’s liver and brain.
Like many potentially hazardous foods (and beverages), the smaller the dog, the bigger the problem. That said, don’t let your Bullmastiff steal some of your cocktails; even a little can do damage.
If you are worried about your dog getting into alcohol at a party or being served some by some unwanted guests, keep your dog in a safe space and don’t invite irresponsible party guests.
Staying on topic with some of America’s favorite beverages, keep your dog away from coffee and caffeinated beverages in general. While you may wonder, “Who gives their dog coffee?” that same question could be asked for any human food.
Coffee, caffeinated drinks, and even chocolate are particularly problematic because the methylxanthines, found in cacao seeds, can cause some serious health issues in dogs from diarrhea, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, and even death.
A dish of mixed nuts, sitting on the table, may look like a tantalizing treat to your pup, but you should avoid giving him or her a taste. While all types of nuts, particularly those covered in chocolate, can be hazardous to a dog’s health, macadamia nuts are the most dangerous nut to consume. Your dog could experience weakness, swollen limbs, tremors and permanent damage to digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.
Candy and Gum
We like candy and gum, so why wouldn’t our four-legged friends like to have a taste? Some of our favorite sweets get their sweetness from a sugar alcohol called xylitol. Xylitol appears in a variety of products from toothpaste to peanut butter and while it’s safe for humans, it’s deadly to dogs. If your dog eats a product with xylitol, he or she could suffer low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death.
Even foods that are supposedly harmless to your dog may contain xylitol, so always be sure to read labels carefully.
Yeast (or Dough)
If you’ve ever made homemade bread or cinnamon rolls and left the dough to rise, you may have noticed your dog sniffing around. If your dog eats dough or yeast on its own, it will continue to rise in his or her stomach. While a tiny bit of dough may cause a lot of gas and discomfort, too much could cause a rupture in their stomach and intestines. How much is too much? It’s not worth the risk.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are one of those convenient foods that you can just pop a few in your mouth, and be on your way and if your dog helped him or herself to a bunch, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t notice. Eating just a small amount of grapes or raisins can cause severe damage to your dog’s liver or kidneys.
Some fruits, like apple slices (without the seeds) and bananas, are acceptable to share with your dog but pitted fruits like peaches, plums, and persimmons are dangerous. Not only are pitted fruits a choking hazard if your pup decides to chew on the hard seed, but the pits also contain amygdalin (a cyanide and sugar compound) turns into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized and can be fatal.
Onions and onion powder can add flavor to any dish and are a perfect accompaniment to a sandwich or salad, but your dog should never eat them. Whether your dog eats a raw or sauteed onion, he or she could sustain permanent damage to red blood cells.
Avoiding Deadly Foods
Even though some of your favorite foods are deadly to your dog, you don’t have to keep them out of the house, just make sure they are well out of reach. When you cook, clean up any food that drops on the floor rather than letting your dog scarf up the scraps. If you have the bad habit of feeding your pup table scraps, break that habit quickly.
Additionally, teach your kids and any houseguests about toxic foods and make it a rule not feed your dog human food. When your dog begs, only give safe and healthy dog treats; it might be hard, but you’re doing your dog a favor!
If You Suspect Food Poisoning
Anyone who lives with a dog knows that they are smart animals and can be tricky and stealthy. Even when you are careful, your dog may eat a toxic food without you noticing. If your dog unexpectedly has diarrhea, vomits, or even starts to have a seizure, call the vet right away as it’s better to be overly cautious than just waiting it out.
As dog owners, we try hard to provide the very best for our furry friends and occasionally that means sharing a scrap of food from our dinner plates. Rather than taking the risk of feeding your pup food that could kill him or her, choose a sensible treat designed just for dogs.