We all know that it’s best to provide a steady and consistent diet for our furry friends, but often it can be tempting to give in to those longing looks when you pull out a snack for yourself. After all, your pup is family! Surely they deserve to join in your daily breakfast routine or partake in a guilty pleasure from time to time. Far be it from us preach a Spartan lifestyle, but there are a few foods you should be sure to avoid, and some of them may surprise you:
1. Bacon, Fatty Meat, and Bones
Especially around the holidays we may feel like giving an extra special treat of Christmas turkey or ham, but the skin on turkey and fatty cuts of pork can cause pancreatitis in dogs (infection of the pancreas). As the pancreas houses the cells which produce insulin naturally, pancreatic infections can frequently lead to diabetes in dogs. While manageable with daily shots of medicinal insulin, this disease in dogs almost always leads to blindness within 12 months as well.
Tradition seems to dictate that we give the pooch the bones at the end of a meal, but this is something you should really avoid as well. Beyond the initial choking risk, there is always the threat that they splinter the bone while chewing and swallow a sharp piece which can cause damage to their digestive tract.
2. Grapes and Raisins
Which fruits your dog can eat and which they must avoid can sometimes be cause for confusion (they love blueberries, pineapple, and coconut for example), but grapes and raisins pose a great risk for dogs. Even a small amount can make a dog sick, with kidney failure resulting from eating them in even medium doses. Early signs of exposure to grapes is excessive vomiting, and within a day your dog will become sluggish and depressed. Take them to a vet immediately if you suspect they’ve ingested grapes.
Chocolate as dangerous for dogs is quite well-known: a compound called theobromine in chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhoea initially, but these symptoms can progress to heart problems, tremors, seizures, and even death.
However, there is often some debate about whether milk chocolate or white chocolate pose any risk, with some saying that only dark chocolate is to be avoided. All chocolate is dangerous and contains theobromine, so while unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate have elevated levels, you should make sure your pup stays clear of all of it.
4. Watermelon, Peaches, and Plums
While the watermelon fruit itself is not a threat, the seeds pose a good chance of causing intestinal blockages, and the rind can seriously upset a canine tummy. So if you’re looking to share some at a picnic, be sure to remove these first! Peaches and plums are similar in that the stone can be poisonous: the pit of these fruits contain cyanide. To most humans it’s obvious that it shouldn’t be eaten, but of course you can’t expect a puppy to understand that!
5. Milk and Other Dairy Products
It’s hard to find anyone who can resist a nice scoop of ice cream on a hot day, and dogs are no different. But just like humans, many of them are lactose intolerant. While they may not be able to pass up a cheeky bit of cheese or some Haagen-Dazs, there’s a very good chance that significant exposure will cause them diarrhoea.
No Sunday brunch is complete without a helping of avocado toast, but your pooch may want to give this one a pass. Some dogs find themselves allergic to persin, a fungicidal toxin that leeches into the avocado fruit from the seeds. While it’s generally harmless to humans in such low quantities, dogs, particularly small breeds, can experience vomiting and diarrhoea from even small doses. Persin is also present in the leaves and bark of the avocado plant, so if you grow them at home you’ll want to keep them cordoned off.
7. Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic can have terrible effects on a dog’s red blood cells which are responsible for transporting oxygen around the blood stream to the muscles and vital tissues. All forms – powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated – can kill these cells and cause anaemia, leaving your dog feeling sluggish and lethargic. Eating a lot of either at once will lead to weakness, vomiting, and breathing problems.
8. Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine
We’ve often heard stories of owners who liked to share a cuppa every now and then with their doggy. While it can make for a seemingly lovely daily routine you both can share, the caffeine present in coffee, tea, and things like energy drinks canbe fatal to dogs. This goes for the beans and grounds too, so you’ll want to dispose of those well when finished.
Some human cold medicines and antihistamines can also contain caffeine, so before treating their allergies with a small dose keep an eye out for the contents.
9. Raw eggs
While we are big proponents of treats and snacks made from raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, we don’t recommend extending this approach to eggs (this includes things like cookie dough or cake batter!). With raw eggs there’s always the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. Diarrhoea and vomiting can be telltale signs that your dog has contracted something from raw eggs, and it is a very unpleasant experience in dogs just as in humans.
10. Raw meat and fish
Raw meat carries the same risk as raw eggs in that salmonella or E. coli can cause food poisoning, but fish such as salmon, trout, shad, or sturgeon also run the risk of transmitting a parasite that causes “salmon poisoning disease” (or “fish disease”). The first signs include fever and vomiting as well as enlarged lymph nodes.
Fully cooking fish kills this parasite, so save the sushi for yourself!
BONUS: Check out these tasty treats you may not have realised your dog will love!
Both cooked and raw carrots are safe for your dog to eat, and many find them to be delicious. A great source of fibre and the antioxidant beta-carotene (which is converted in the body into Vitamin A). It can help support healthy skin and fur!
Make sure to always cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces to avoid a choking risk, or check out our selection of homemade, organic Carrot & Coriander treats.