Feeding your dog: 20 foods to avoid to keep your dog healthy

Dietary advice for humans is confusing, as we often get conflicting information.  As pet owners we are sometimes unsure about what foods are suitable for our dogs. Veterinarians advise that it is better to give dogs only food and treats designed for dogs.  In real life, many dog owners give their pets scraps from the table or use human food as a treat. So how can you be sure that what you are feeding your dog is not doing more harm than good?  We’ve put together a guide highlighting 20 foods that your dog should avoid.

Avocado. This is a fantastic food for humans, but is not a good thing to be feeding your dog.  A substance called persin in the avocado causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Alcohol. Never give alcohol in any form to a dog as this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death.

Hops. This beermaking ingredient is toxic for dogs, causing panting, an increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and can result in death.

Onions and garlic. These vegetables cause gastrointestinal upset, but more worryingly they can also damage red blood cells in dogs. This can be fatal.  It should be noted that garlic in very small doses could be OK for dogs, but larger quantities are dangerous. Because of this, it is recommended to steer clear of garlic.

Coffee, tea, caffeine and chocolate. All of these items contain methylxanthines, specifically caffeine in coffee and theobromine in chocolate.  These cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, arrhythmia, seizures, and can also result in death.  It is best to avoid any kind of chocolate and caffeine entirely.

Grapes and raisins. Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure.  Experts do not entirely understand why this is the case, but it is simply advised that dogs do not consume these because of that potential outcome.

Milk and dairy products. Dogs do not produce large quantities of the lactase enzyme, so are unable to break down the lactose in dairy products.  Although small amounts of dairy products can be tolerated, larger quantities are likely to result in gastrointestinal upset.

Nuts. Macadamia nuts are particularly problematic. Although excellent for humans, these nuts cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, and hyperthermia. Not all nuts are bad for dogs, but the high fat content can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and can ultimately lead to pancreatitis.

Bones. Although this may sound like a good idea, stick to raw bones. Never ever give chicken bones, as these are too fragile for your dog. Cooked bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard for dogs.

Fat trimmings. Feeding your dog with these can result in pancreatitis in dogs, so should be avoided.

Liver. The high levels of vitamin A in Liver contains a lot of vitamin A can adversely affect the bones and muscles of a dog.

Citrus. Although it is ok to eat small amounts of the actual fruit, other parts are toxic to animals.  Keep peel, leaves, and stems away from dogs as the oils can affect the central nervous system.

Corn on the cob. Corn on the cob is not well digested in a dog’s stomach. If your dog eats a large amount of the cob itself, look for signs of gastrointestinal upset or constipation as there may be an intestinal blockage.

Persimmons, peaches and plums. The seeds of all these fruits can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. The stone of a peach is particularly dangerous to a dog’s health as it degrades to hydrogen cyanide when metabolised.

Coconut and coconut oil. Small amounts of the flesh may be eaten, but this can sometimes result in vomiting and diarrhea. Never give your dog coconut with the shell still on, as this can result in choking or even abdominal obstruction.

Raw meat and fish. Feeding your dog raw fish on a regular basis can actually lead to a vitamin B deficiency in your pet. This may shows as a loss of appetite initially, followed by seizures, and possibly death.

Salt. Just as with humans, consuming large amounts of salt leads to excessive thirst in dogs.  It can also result in sodium ion poisoning, so salty snacks should be avoided.

Yeast dough. Raw dough can continue to rise inside the dog, causing bloating and intestinal discomfort.  It can sometimes result in a twisted stomach, which is a life-threatening condition.

Mushrooms. Feeding your dog wild mushrooms is not recommended as there is a higher potential that these may be toxic.

Xylitol. Used as a sweetener in many different applications including gum and candy, xylitol can cause insulin release, which leads to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia. Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. These symptoms can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days. Avoid this product entirely.

What to do if your dog consumes these items

If your dog consumes any of the above foods but has no symptoms, monitor your pet. For all other cases contact your veterinarian for advice.

Information given in this article is not a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional.  Please consult a veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.