Guest Post by Sloan McKinney
Infographic: The 10 Most Toxic Foods for Pets
All dog owners know that one of the toughest things to resist is the sad expression on the dog’s face as he or she begs for scraps at the table. And although most of us know we probably shouldn’t feed the dog “human food”, they usually convince us to give them a small bite.
Unfortunately, if you’re giving the dog a large amount of food from your table, or if you’re giving it the wrong type of food, you could inadvertently cause an adverse reaction. No one wants to harm their dog, so it’s important to understand which types of food can cause harm to the dog’s health. You might be surprised with just how many different foods can be dangerous for dogs to ingest.
Humans routinely consume foods that could cause illness in a dog. Such foods include avocado, coffee or other caffeinated drinks, large amounts of milk, and macadamia nuts. When a dog eats a type of food that’s toxic to them, you may notice some external symptoms.
While these initial symptoms generally aren’t life-threatening, you will want to keep an eye on your dog’s health when you notice these problems, because they could be a precursor to more severe health problems in the near future. If you’re unsure, contact your veterinarian. Five of the short-term symptoms you may notice if your dog has eaten a toxic food include the following.
- Dehydration. If your dog is drinking far more water than usual, an illness from a toxic food could be the culprit.
- Fatigue and weakness. An ill dog won’t want to play as usual, and it may even be too tired to come for a favorite toy or healthy snack.
- Lack of appetite. A dog that has eaten the wrong kind of food may not want to eat its regular dog food at the regular feeding time, and it may not really want to drink water.
- Restlessness. Unusual panting or rapid breathing and an inability to lie still can indicate a dog who has eaten dangerous food.
- Vomiting and diarrhea. Keep a close eye on a dog who has these symptoms, as it’s a potential sign of a more serious problem.
Some foods are extremely toxic to dogs, leading to potentially fatal complications. If you suspect your dog may have ingested this type of food, immediately call the vet for instructions. You may be told to induce vomiting. In addition to the five symptoms listed above, look for the following three symptoms that may indicate a much more serious problem.
- Internal organ damage. Damage to kidneys and the heart can occur with certain types of foods for a dog. Such damage can lead to death. Signs of this problem can be extreme fatigue, whining for no perceptible reason, a lack of desire to drink water, an inability to urinate, or vomiting immediately after drinking or eating.
- Pain. Although a dog cannot tell you directly that something hurts, if you watch the dog carefully, you may notice it walking gingerly, which could indicate pain in the joints or other serious internal problems. Unexplained whimpering also can indicate pain.
- Seizures and tremors. Dogs who are having seizures may have a serious illness occurring, possibly from toxicity in food.
The most dangerous foods for dogs that can lead to a long-term illness or death include brittle animal bones, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. However, if you suspect your dog has eaten any food listed in this infographic watch the animal closely.
And when it comes to table scraps, if you’re unsure whether you could make your dog sick with certain foods, just don’t feed them food from the table. Even though it’s tough to ignore the begging and the hungry look from the dog, it’s easier than having to deal with a seriously ill family pet!
Sloan McKinney is a journalist based in Southern California. After writing about pop culture for a number of years, she has recently begun writing for a new audience. Inspired by DeAnthony, her cat, as well as her dog Max, Sloan now hopes to help other pet owners guarantee their animal companions happy and healthy lives.