Not So Fast! Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

You never thought that sharing your leftovers at dinner with your dog would lead to a frantic late-night race to the animal hospital, but there you were--credit card out and heart rate up. Unfortunately, poisoning is the number one cause of pet deaths in the United States, affecting about 100,000 pets last year. Of the top 10 causes for pet poisoning deaths, eating people food ranks sixth. Here's what you need to know so that your pet's health is never in danger again.

1. Chocolate

This is the substance we probably hear about most often when it comes to no-no people foods for pets, and for good reason. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that causes irregular heartbeat. It also contains methylxanthines, which cause vomiting. The darker the chocolate, the more harmful it is to your pet--and as little as two ounces of baking chocolate can be fatal for a small dog. If you find your dog licking the wrapper of a chocolate candy bar, don't wait for symptoms to appear; head to the vet right away. The vet will induce vomiting and administer laxatives to get the chocolate out of the body as quickly as possible.

2. Candy

Xylitol, an ingredient found in candy, is also toxic to dogs. Often found in sugar-free candy, xylitol causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar, which can result in vomiting and seizures. It can cause liver failure. Only one or two pieces of candy are enough to produce illness.

3. Grapes/raisins

Grapes and raisins are two foods you may not have known are toxic for your dog. However, these seemingly harmless fruits can provoke a variety of problems, ranging from vomiting to death by kidney failure. As in the substances listed above, only a small amount of these foods can cause a dangerous reaction. Obtaining medical attention for your dog within two hours of eating either of these fruits allows your vet to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal.

4. Nuts

Do not share your walnuts or macadamia nuts with your doggy friend. These nuts especially (but all nuts in general) can cause hyperthermia, inability to walk/stand, vomiting, and an elevated heart rate, all within 12 hours of ingesting them. If your dog has consumed chocolate with the nuts, the picture is even more grim and can result in kidney failure and even death. Again, if you know your dog has eaten nuts, head to the vet right away.

5. Alcohol

No, it's not funny to share a brew with your canine buddy. Alcohol causes the same problems in dogs as it does in people, but more quickly because of the difference in body weight between dogs and persons. A dog who has had alcohol is at risk of vomiting, breathing problems, liver problems, coma, and even death.

Are there any foods you can feed your pet without fear of poisoning? Yes. You can share lean meat (make sure it does not contain bones), vegetables such as carrot sticks or zucchini slices, fruits such as orange slices and bananas, plain cooked white rice, and baked potatoes.

Your pet depends on you to feed it nutritious food and keep it safe. Make sure to keep harmful food away from your furry best friend--it will save you untold anxiety and heartache. For more information about what may or may not be harmful or toxic to your dog, contact a company like Centennial Animal Hospital.