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7 Foods That You Should Never Feed Your Dog … Ever

At the Animal Medical Center on Romany, we hear it all. Can my dog eat carrots, popcorn, apples? (Those aren’t great, but they probably won’t hurt your dog.) Chocolate and Xylitol are the biggest toxic food culprits, but problems with high fat foods and bacon are the most common problems we see at our Lexington veterinary practice. We offer lots of advice on all kinds of foods throughout the year about what dogs can eat. Here’s a guide to help out. If you ever have a question about toxic dog foods, PLEASE give us a call. If we’re not open, call the

1. Chocolate.

Dogs seem to love the taste and rapidly eat any amount available. Dark chocolate, present in so many candy bars and treats, and baker’s dark chocolate are the most dangerous. Milk chocolate, in larger amounts, is also harmful and when ingested results in similar signs – vomiting, restlessness, tremors, seizures, and cardiac abnormalities.

2. Xylitol.

Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol often used as a sugar substitute in chewing gums, breath mints, and baked goods, causes severe drop in blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and liver failure (hepatic necrosis) in dogs. New products on the market such as nasal sprays, OTC sleep aids, multivitamins, prescription sedatives, antacids, stool softeners, smoking cessation gums, and more may contain unexpectedly large amounts of xylitol. Dogs that ingest these products face a double risk—not only may poisoning result from the active ingredient but also from the xylitol. This can result in a variety of serious and unanticipated clinical signs which can readily complicate clinical treatment and prognosis.

3. Grapes/Raisins/Currants/Sultanas: Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and even currants (some currants are actually small, black grapes) are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, currants, or sultanas can cause anorexia, vomiting, and severe acute kidney failure (several days after ingestion). All types of grape or raisin containing products, including grape juice, trail mix, breads, and breads, when eaten, result in similar signs and should never be fed to dogs.

4. Raw bread dough.

The problem with ingestion of raw dough is both one of toxic potential and mechanical issue. Clinical signs are often evident within an hour but can appear later. The rising of bread dough occurs rapidly, and the dough continues to expand in the warm and wet environment of the stomach. This ongoing expansion of material can cause bloat, foreign body obstruction, stomach torsion, hypovolemic shock, and in very severe cases stomach rupture. Affected pets will often have a distended abdomen, abdominal pain and be retching or vomiting unproductively. Discomfort can also be expressed as agitation, panting, or pacing.

In addition, the alcohol produced and contained in raw dough can cause alcohol toxicity for our pets. Symptoms such as lethargy, difficulty walking, vocalization, behavior change, urinary incontinence, blindness, and coma are possible. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is also a dangerous component of alcohol toxicity. These clinical signs can progress to both respiratory and cardiovascular collapse. Both the toxicity and mechanical risks can result in death as can the combined symptoms of both issues.

5. Fatty table scraps, especially bacon. This is probably the most common food given to dogs that causes problems. High fat food can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in dogs. This is a serious medical condition that requires hospitalization, intravenous fluids and anti nausea medication at the very least in order to treat it.

6. Onions, Garlic, chives and leeks. (Allium species of plants)

These vegetables can cause red blood cell destruction and result in anemia. Ingestions of onions or garlic of more than 0.5% of dog’s body weight are potentially toxic. For example, this would equate to a 30 lb dog ingesting about 2.5 ounces of onion or garlic. Cats and Japanese breeds of dogs (Akita, Shiba Inu, etc) are even more sensitive to the effects of these plants.

7. Bones

Small bones like chicken bones, rib bones or bones in steaks can become lodged in the mouth or airway, or tear the esophagus, irritate the stomach lining or cause an obstruction in the intestines. Larger bones can fracture the teeth, especially in older dogs if the teeth are already worn down.


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