Who can resist those big adorable puppy eyes staring up at you, asking for a treat? It’s a common occurrence in most homes with pets that we sneak them a little bit of our food just to make them happy, or…they help themselves from the table, the garbage bin, or off the floor. The scary part is, sometimes we’re feeding them something harmful, without even realizing.  Just this week, I experienced this first hand with a horrific incident with my own dog when she ingested food she should have. It ended up being a rushed trip to the veterinary emergency, two days in the hospital and thankfully a happy ending in which we got to bring her home. What I’ve learned from this, is that while the food we eat may be safe for us, they can be horrifically poisonous for a dog. You’re not just looking at a sick tummy, sometimes you’re looking at the loss of a pet succumbing to food-induced illness. So now I write quite passionately on the subject, in hopes that the more awareness made about these unsafe foods for pets, can lead to more happy families preventing such nightmarish accidents. While we may be tempted by those puppy-dog eyes to be sharing our table scraps with, we must be aware of what could be doing damage without even knowing! Please feel free to share this article with your doggy-loving friends too. You never know, you may just be saving a tail-wagging life.

1. Avocados

Avocados are a fairly common staple in most households these days, but it’s kind of a shock to think of a mild buttery avocado being toxic to your furry friend.

However, avocados contain a substance called persin. When dogs eat avocado, it can trigger vomiting and diarrhea. Not to mention the massive pit at the core of avocados, which can certainly be a deadly choking hazard for your pet. You don’t need to stop by avocados altogether, of course, but be sure to store them in a spot that’s not easily accessible by your furry friend to avoid any potential harm.

2. Coffee

It’s not uncommon that your dog will hop its front legs onto the coffee table and take a few laps of your morning coffee. While this is considered widely as toxic to them, you can be assured to know that it’s likely not enough to do any major damage.

However, if your dog happens to intake large portions of caffeine, depending on the intake and their body weight, it can cause death. Another deadly source of caffeine is some varieties of diet pills. If your dog happens to find and eat a couple of them, they can also lead to a very serious medical emergency.

3. Apple Cores

If you have kids in the house, you know first hand how often apple cores can be left out. But if an eager pup is looking for a snack and happens to grab one, you might be in trouble.

You see, the seeds of the apple are quite toxic for dogs as they contain cyanide. While one incident may not be an issue, over time and repeated intake of the apple seeds can lead to more serious medical issues in your pet. Be sure to quickly dispose of your apple remains after eating to avoid any potential issues for your furry friend.

4. Raw Potatoes

Potatoes are a nightshade vegetable and contain something called solanine which is toxic to dogs. So when you’re peeling and chopping potatoes at the counter, resist tossing a piece to the dog that is likely at your feet, staring up at you with anticipation. While they may look cute, resisting the temptation can solve them from some major issues down the line.

There’s a loophole to potatoes though, and that’s cooking them! In the process of being boiled or roasted, the heat diminishes most of the solanine in the potatoes, making them an ok option (but still try and avoid them being fed to your floor-dwelling buddy).

5. Grapes & Raisins

This one is a little more commonly known, but it’s important because the fact is – dogs LOVE them. While it’s not entirely known why grapes and raisins are so toxic to dogs, what we do know is that they are SO toxic that the results of eating them can be fatal.

Grapes and raisins are also a highly popular with kids. What are kids known for doing? Feeding the dog. This is a great opportunity to chat with your kids, and let them know that these foods are really dangerous for their beloved pet. Additionally, watch for diaper bags and purses that may be storing packs of raisins for snacks on the go before your pup goes rooting for them.

6. Pitted Fruits

There are a wide variety of pitted fruits which can range from peaches to avocados, grapes, and cherries. While some of these are toxic to dogs, that’s not exactly where the concern lies.

The pits themselves can create havoc in a dog’s digestive system. Problem with that is, you often won’t know that there’s an issue until it’s further down the line, so to speak. Dogs can’t complain when they have a tummy ache, and before you know it, you may be rushing your pooch to the emergency with a blockage, that can lead to surgery and expensive vet bills.

7. Chocolate

Perhaps again a more well-known food item toxic to dogs, it’s still worth a reminder, because this one is a doozy. Small amounts of chocolate shouldn’t be a cause for panic, but will still likely cause your dog an upset stomach.

With larger amounts, the theobromine in chocolate can lead to tremors, seizures, internal bleeding and even heart attack in severe cases. If your dog has gotten into some chocolate, watch for severe hyperactivity which can be the first sign of theobromine poisoning. An alternative to chocolate that’s safe for dogs if you’re looking to make them a homemade treat, is carob!

8. Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Macadamia & Pistachio Nuts

Having a nut on this list is relatively surprising seeing as we all know dogs and peanut butter go together like nothing else, so why would some nuts be ok and other’s not?

Well, the answer isn’t entirely known. What is known is that walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia & pistachio nuts tend to cause dogs quite a few issues. This could be perhaps because of fat content when consumed by dogs cause quite a disruption to their digestion, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. If nuts are a common food that you have around the house, be sure to properly store them in your pantry after eating.

9. Alcohol

A rule of thumb that most dog owners know, but in case it bears repeating – maybe don’t feed your dogs alcohol. Dogs don’t have the liver capacity to properly filter alcohol, which can make it have a poisonous effect very quickly.

While dogs are especially fond of beer and it may be humorous to give them a sip or two, be careful because the results could be deadly if they get too much. Additionally, alcoholic drinks are often left sitting on coffee tables, far too close for a reach of eager pooches. Something to be mindful of at your next event.

10. Garlic & Onions

There are an entire species of plants called Allium, and Allium plants can have a damaging impact on your dog’s red blood cells. Over time, this could lead to anemia in your beloved pet.

Small amounts of garlic and onion are often found in pet foods, and that’s still ok. However, if your dog gets a hold of more than just a tiny flavorful dose, you might be in trouble. Even if you’re chopping through tear-filled eyes, be careful to keep the chopped bits from the floors. Onion and garlic are common ingredients when cooking dinner, so this is one to be especially careful about on the daily.

11. Corn On The Cob

How many barbecues have you attended over the years where people toss their corn cobs to the dogs to chew on for a while? It’s definitely not an uncommon sight. While this may seem lighthearted and fun in nature, it can actually be incredibly dangerous and can cause serious harm to your precious pooch.

Corn cobs can cause an intestinal obstruction to your dog that can cause serious damage and even be fatal. If you’ve noticed that your dog is acting lethargic, vomiting, heaving or otherwise and you suspect they may have ingested a corn cob, contact your vet right away.

12. Blue Cheese

Dogs love cheese! In pet stores, you’ll find cheese worked into bones, treats, and food. So why is blue cheese on this list? This may be a case of extremism, and if your dog got a hold of some, you’re likely in the clear. It’s just that it’s not always safe, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Blue cheese when over-ripened can produce something called roquefortine, which is toxic to dogs. So toxic, it can lead to death. If you’re unsure whether the cheese was toxic or not, simply monitor your dog for any adverse reactions and be ready to bring them to the vet if needed.

13. Yeast Dough

Sometimes when you’re baking you may be guilty of tossing down little bits of dough to the dog to enjoy. Or perhaps, you had some leftover and threw it out into an open waste container.

Beware, yeast dough is very dangerous for dogs. Why? Simply because as the yeast expands in the heat, it will do so in your dog’s stomach which can create bloat and potentially an intestinal twist, causing a life-threatening injury. If your recipe includes yeast, be sure to dispose of it correctly and avoid giving bites to your dog along the way. This can save a lot of issues down the line.

14. Tomatoes

Just like potatoes, tomatoes are a nightshade fruit guilty of producing a toxic-to-dogs element called solanine. This is particularly present in green, unripened tomatoes and should be kept from pets at all costs.

Tomatoes are an especial risk since so many of us grow them in our gardens! Dogs are outside, and get into anything and everything and may even take a liking to your garden’s bounty. If possible, try and keep a barrier between your tomato garden and your pet. Tomatoes are also a common ingredient in many dinner recipes so be sure to clean up promptly after cooking.

15. Chewing Gum & Xylitol Sweetener

So no, you’re not likely going to toss a pack of gum to your pooch for some breath freshening. That said, gum is often found in purses where dogs dig their noses and left out on tables and places for easy grabbing. If dogs can get into it, they likely will.

That’s exactly what happened in our home when my dog grabbed a pack of gum (sweetened with xylitol) and ate the entire bag. We came home to a nearly comatose pup who spent the next two days in the hospital recovering from her crash in blood sugar and treated for potential liver failure. After this experience, I met several others who had the same terrifying ordeal, and sadly…not all had the happy ending we did. Keep purses up high, and gum out of reach, trust me. If your dog loves peanut butter, read the labels before sharing – xylitol is a sweetener used in many nut butters as well!

Final Thoughts:

We know that being in a home with a dog that can’t quite communicate well, can be an interesting guessing game at times. Family members, especially children, may not be aware of the risks of leaving unknowingly dangerous foods out or even directly feeding them to their begging family dog.

So, to help prevent a health scare (or worse) in your home, we’re providing a FREE INFOGRAPHIC DOWNLOAD for you to print out, stick on the fridge, frame it or even just share with your friends. These gentle tips reminders could be saving your beloved pet’s life.


Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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