Ellie is a Glasgow-based writer who enjoys writing about many topics including travel, beauty, health and DIY.
If you are a dog owner you know how hard it can be to not share your food with them when they look at you with their big puppy eyes. However, dogs and humans metabolize food differently which is why some of the foods we love the most are not safe for dogs to eat. You have probably already heard that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but what are other foods your dog shouldn’t eat?
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can be found in chewing gum, soft drinks, diet foods and even toothpaste. But whilst xylitol is completely safe for humans (even for those suffering from diabetes), in dogs it can cause hypoglycemia. In other words, it will make their sugar levels drop which can lead to important issues such as liver failure.
Alcohol is intoxicating both for humans and animals. But there is a big difference between the way in which the human body processes alcohol and how a dog reacts to it: it takes a lot less alcohol to cause diarrhoea, vomiting, coordination issues, and breathing problems in a dog.
It can even cause death, so keep your dog away from everything containing alcohol, not just drinks; remember that perfumes, mouthwash, cosmetic products and cleaning products can contain alcohol too (not that these would be safe otherwise)!
Grapes and Raisins
Did you know dogs can eat fruit? But grapes are not one the fruits you should be giving them! Both grapes and raisins in small amounts will make your dog sick, but they can also cause kidney failure and liver damage in the longer term. Avoid everything containing raisins, such as cakes, breads, and biscuits.
Whilst almonds and cashews are safe for your dog in small amounts, macadamia nuts are extremely toxic for them. Even a small amount of macadamia nuts can cause muscle spasms and swell up, fever, vomiting…
Garlic and Onions
Whether they come as processed powders, juice, cooked or dehydrated, onions and garlic are really toxic to dogs (even the leaves!). They contain a compound that damages a dog’s red blood cells, which causes anaemia. The symptoms are weakness, vomiting, decreased appetite and breathing problems.
Sugar and Salt
Salt and sugar are the kind of food that won’t hurt your dog if they eat it once in a while, but when fed regularly could severely damage their health. For instance, salt can cause kidney problems, whilst sugar can cause pancreatitis, obesity or diabetes.
The problem with salt and sugar is that they can be found in large amounts in pretty much every single human food. If you usually feed your dog with leftovers or give them treats from your plate, you could be putting their health at risk without realising it.
Coffee and Tea
Stimulants such as caffeine are extremely dangerous for your dog! It could seem as if caffeine is just going to make your dog a little bit more hyperactive than usual, but there are other risks associated with it: vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, seizures, or lung failure - and again, eventually, it can lead to death.
Even small amounts of caffeine can really harm your dog’s health. Keep coffee, tea, cocoa beans, chocolate and energy drinks out of their reach.
Foods that your dog can eat
While there is a lot that our four-legged companions should avoid, there is still much they could have as little treats every once in a while.
Pineapple, blueberries, watermelon, apples, coconut, mango… The list of fruits your dog can eat isn’t short. But how is that possible, when fruit contains sugar (and we already know what sugar can do to your pup)?
The type of sugar that fruit contains is fructose, which is completely safe for your dog and just another source of carbs. Fruits are a great source of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants that your dog will benefit from in reasonable amounts. This is why dog food brands such as Bella and Duke include berries and other fruits in their prepared dog food.
If you want to feed your dog fruit, remember to get rid of the seeds to avoid choking.
Although we tend to think it’s cats who enjoy seafood the most, dogs really enjoy eating fish and shellfish!
Shrimp is a really healthy treat for dogs, as it contains high amounts of proteins, iron and other minerals and vitamins. Fish like salmon, tuna, cod, or whitefish are also a great source of proteins, like collagen (which helps keep bones, joints and skin healthy), and omega-3 fatty acids, a great natural anti-inflammatory component.
However, when it comes to feeding your dog fish you need to be very careful. Cook it through by boiling it to prevent transmission of bacteria or parasites, and make sure you get rid of the fish bones or shell before feeding it to your dog.
Remember that it's always better to err on the safe side to keep our furry pals healthy. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your dog or in its behaviour, don't delay in talking to your vet.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Ellie Campbell