Don’t You Know That You’re Toxic? Household Food Toxicities to Dogs

Don’t You Know That You’re Toxic? Household Food Toxicities to Dogs

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Written by Kealy Fitzsimmons, a veterinary student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine.

Cue Britney Spears! Just kidding.

But there’s a lot of everyday food items you may not know are toxic to your dog! And accidents are called accidents for a reason.

Here at Vetted, we want to make sure you know what to avoid and help keep your pet as safe as possible. While this is not a full list of every human food item that is dangerous to your pet, these are some of the most dangerous foods and how they are toxic to your pooch.

And if you’re ever thinking about giving your pet human food, always make sure it is safe to do so.

*If your animal has consumed any of these items, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control hotline ASAP.*

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435

Pet Poison Control Center at (855) 764-7661

  • Alcohol: can cause diarrhea, decreased coordination, breathing difficulty, tremors, central nervous system depression, and even death. 
  • Avocado and Avocado Pits: not as toxic for dogs as it is for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and cows but avocado toxicity can cause cardiovascular damage and death in birds and rabbits and swollen head and neck in horses, donkeys, and cows.
  • Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: all three of these contain cacao seeds in either the fruit or in the nuts, and the toxic substance in the cacao seeds is called methylxanthines. When ingested by pets it causes vomiting and diarrhea, panting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, excessive thirst and urination, and even death. 

*PS: the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. White chocolate has the lowest amount of methylxanthines and baking chocolate contains the highest

  • Citrus: citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid and can cause damage if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses such as eating the citrus fruit will most likely only result in minor stomach upset. 
  • Coconut and coconut oil: with small amounts, coconut, and coconut oil will most likely not cause serious harm to your dog but the flesh and milk of fresh coconuts may cause stomach upset, loose stools, and diarrhea. 
  • Grapes and Raisins: as more information is coming out about what causes the toxicity in these items, ingesting grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure due to the levels of tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate.
  • Macadamia Nuts: signs appear within 12 hours of ingesting and can last for 24-48 hours. The signs of macadamia toxicity are weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia. 
  • Milk and Dairy: excessive amounts of dairy products can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.
  • Nuts: contain high amounts of oils and fats which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis.
  • Onions, Garlic, Chives: can cause gastrointestinal upset, red blood cell damage, and anemia if a large amount is consumed in dogs.
  • Raw/undercooked meat, eggs, and bones: may contain bacteria called Salmonella and E. Coli. These bacteria’s are harmful to both humans and pets. When dogs are given raw eggs, there is an enzyme called avidin. And avidin decreases biotin, a B vitamin, that helps keep pets’ coats and skin healthy. So with avidin contributing to biotin decrease, it causes coat and skin issues. Raw bones can cause multiple issues like choking on bones or causing injury like a bone splinter or becoming lodged in or stuck in your dog’s throat. 
  • Salt/Salty Snacks: Large amounts of salt in your pet can cause excessive thirst and urination. Excessive amounts can even cause sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too many salty snacks are vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures, and possibly death. 
  • Xylitol:  this is a sugar-free sweetener, which means it looks and tastes like sugar but with fewer calories. This may be good for us humans but not for our dogs. Xylitol is included in products like gum, candy, and human toothpaste. This toxicity causes insulin release and can lead to liver failure. Signs your pet has consumed xylitol are vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination. It can also progress to seizures. Within a few days, liver enzymes and liver failure may be seen.
  • Yeast dough: your pet ingesting yeast dough can cause the dough to rise in your pet’s digestive system causing excessive gas to be produced. It can be painful and can lead to bloat in the stomach and potentially the stomach to twist causing a life-threatening emergency for your dog. Your dog also may show signs of drunkenness (see alcohol) from the yeast producing ethanol as a byproduct. 

Vetted is a membership plan that focuses on your pet’s preventative health. Vetted focuses on empowering pet parents to take control of their pet’s preventive health and guide them through pet parenthood. We want our members to feel confident in caring for their pet’s health and focus on having fun and enjoying life with their pets. A Vetted membership includes; reimbursement on preventative health vet services, preventative health products right to your door, and a 24/7 virtual vet professional chat.

In your Vetted membership, members will be able to chat on the app with a veterinary professional 24/7. Vetted is here to give you advice no matter the time of day as we strive to be the veterinary best friend you’ve always wanted. While Vetted is not pet insurance and doesn’t cover emergencies, accidents, or illnesses; we recommend finding a pet insurance plan that fits you so you will be covered for emergencies/accidents/illnesses and your pet’s health is never compromised.


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