Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Toxic Foods for Dogs

There are some times that dogs just find their way into some food that's left out or they'll sneak something when we're not looking. Some of these things are perfectly fine, but others will guarantee a quick trip to the vet.

Here is a list of foods that you should have your dog avoid at all costs:

  • Chocolate. It contains caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems. My dog Blackie, an overweight Lab mix, once ate at least 15 of those mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups. We were so scared that he would get sick, but luckily, nothing happened. I guess since it had a fair amount of peanut butter, it helped counteract the chocolate toxicity.

  • Grapes and Raisins. Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. One or two are ok but even as little as 1/3 of an ounce can cause irreparable damage.

  • Macademia Nuts. Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.

  • Mushrooms. The kind of toxin in mushrooms vary with species. Some cause effects including hallucinations, hyperactivity, and coma. Others damage the liver, heart, or kidneys causing death. Clinical signs usually occur within 6-8 hours following ingestion. Mushrooms grow in the wild in most areas, and pets need to be closely supervised to prevent ingestion, if access to the mushrooms cannot be prevented.

  • Onions and Garlic. In dogs and cats, garlic and onion can cause Heinz body anemia, resulting in a breakdown of the red blood cells and anemia. Of the two, garlic is the lesser of the two evils. Still, you really have to watch out for these. The worst case scenario is having your dog go through a blood transfusion. There is no specific treatment for this aside from giving activated charcoal to the afflicted animal.

  • Sugarless Gum. Even though gum isn't really food, it is something chewed by humans. If your dog winds up chewing it, depending on the size and how many pieces it gets into, the principal ingredient Sorbitol can cause liver failure if not treated in time.

  • Baby Food. This contains onion powder and should be kept away from dogs at all times.

This is just a basic list. If you find your dog has consumed any of these items, the best thing to do is call your vet. Some cases you may be able to wait out. A larger breed such as a Golden Retriever is going to have a different reaction than a breed the size of a Bichon Frise. Still, it can't hurt to error on the side of caution. Nowadays, there are many emergency vets that work overnight in case you can't wait until the morning.

As always, have a great night. If you have any thoughts or situations you'd like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

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