It can happen to even the best pet owners. You turn around for one second and the dog is into the chocolate that was sitting on the counter. We just don't realize how determined our pets are to eat the things they shouldn't
Most dogs love food, and they’re especially attracted to what they see us eating. While you may think sharing the occasional tidbit with your dog is fine, it’s important to be aware that some foods can be very dangerous to dogs. Take caution to make sure your dog never gets access to the foods below. Even if you don’t give him table scraps, your dog might eat something that’s hazardous to his health if he raids kitchen counters, cupboards and trash cans.
Of the more than 180,000 cases that the ASPCA Poison Control Center handled in 2012, most of them involved pets who'd ingested human prescriptions. "Many children with ADHD don't want to take their medications, so they leave pills on their plates, where pets can get at them," Dr. Wismer says. "Even nonprescription medications, such as ibuprofen, can be a problem because many brands have a sweet coating, so it's like candy for dogs."
Acetaminophen Which is found in Tylenol and other medications, can cause liver damage in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Avocado, Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic principle known as persin. The Guatemalan variety, a common one found in stores, appears to be the most problematic. Other varieties of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential.
Birds, rabbits, and some large animals, including horses, are especially sensitive to avocados, as they can have respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death from consuming avocado. While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we do not expect to see serious signs of illness. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel. Ingestion of the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care.
Avocado is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit. We would generally not expect avocado meal or oil present in commercial pet foods to pose a hazard to dogs and cats.
Batteries can be toxic to both dogs and cats, leading to ulcers in the mouth, esophagus and stomach. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Bread Dough, Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous if ingested by dogs. When raw dough is swallowed, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach may be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall, resulting in the death of tissue. Additionally, the expanding stomach may press on the diaphragm, resulting in breathing difficulty. Perhaps more importantly, as the yeast multiplies, it produces alcohols that can be absorbed, resulting in alcohol intoxication. Affected dogs may have distended abdomens and show signs such as a lack of coordination, disorientation, stupor and vomiting (or attempts to vomit). In extreme cases, coma or seizures may occur and could lead to death from alcohol intoxication. Dogs showing mild signs should be closely monitored, and dogs with severe abdominal distention or dogs who are so inebriated that they can’t stand up should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover.
Chocolate, Chocolate intoxication is most commonly seen around certain holidays—like Easter, Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day—but it can happen any time dogs have access to products that contain chocolate, such as chocolate candy, cookies, brownies, chocolate baking goods, cocoa powder and cocoa shell-based mulches. The compounds in chocolate that cause toxicosis are caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines. The rule of thumb with chocolate is “the darker it is, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate has very few methylxanthines and is of low toxicity. Dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines, and plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death. Dogs showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Detergents and fabric softener sheets can cause ulcers in the mouth, esophagus and stomach in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Ethanol (Also Known as Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol or Drinking Alcohol), Dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol than humans are. Even ingesting a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Dogs may be exposed to alcohol through drinking alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine or mixed drinks (those with milk, like White Russians and “fortified” egg nog, are especially appealing to dogs), alcohol-containing elixirs and syrups, and raw yeast bread dough (please see the above section on bread dough). Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur. Dogs showing mild signs of alcohol intoxication should be closely monitored, and dogs who are so inebriated that they can’t stand up should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover.
Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze, windshield de-icing agents and motor oils. Dogs are attracted to its sweet taste, but as little as a tablespoon in dogs can cause kidney failure. Recently, antifreeze and engine coolant manufacturers have agreed to voluntarily add bittering agents to reduce the products' appeal to pets and children. Toxicity Ranking: severe to fatal.
Fat Trimmings and BonesTable scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn't eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system. It's best to just forget about the doggie bag. We offer ONLY Raw Beef Bones to our dogs once a week for the nutritional benefit of the calcium and bone marrow. Too much will cause diarrhea.
Fertilizers can contain poisonous amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, herbicides and pesticides. Keep dogs away from treated lawns until they are dry. Check the product packaging, though, since some products must be rinsed into the lawn before it is safe to walk on. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Grapes and Raisins, Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. At this time, the exact cause of the kidney failure isn’t clear, nor is it clear why some dogs can eat these fruits without harm, while others develop life-threatening problems after eating even a few grapes or raisins. Some dogs eat these fruits and experience no ill effects—but then eat them later on and become very ill. Until the cause of the toxicosis is better identified, the safest course of action is to avoid feeding grapes or raisins to your dog. Dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicosis usually develop vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. As signs progress, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may show a transient increase in urination followed by decreased or absent urination in later stages. Death due to kidney failure may occur within three to four days, or long-term kidney disease may persist in dogs who survive the acute intoxication. Successful treatment requires prompt veterinary treatment to maintain good urine flow.
Hops, Cultivated hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs who have ingested them. Both fresh and spent (cooked) hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs. Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature (often greater than 108 degrees Fahrenheit), which results in damage to and failure of multiple organ systems. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent death in these dogs.
Household cleaners, such as bleach, drain cleaners, ammonia and toilet bowl cleaners, can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and other problems in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Insecticides in flea and tick products can cause problems if not used according to labels. Insecticides that are meant for dogs can cause severe toxicity in cats, leading to signs such as vomiting, seizures and difficulty breathing. Products intended for treating the yard or house should not be used on pets. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
Jimson weed, also known as devil's trumpet, can cause restlessness, drunken walking and respiratory failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: moderate.
Kerosene, gasoline and tiki torch fluids can cause drooling, drunken walking and difficulty breathing in dogs and cats. If these products contain antifreeze, they are even more problematic.Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life threatening).
Lilies - Easter, day, tiger, Japanese and Asiatic varieties - can cause kidney failure in cats. Lilies of the valley can cause heart rhythm problems and death in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking:moderate to severe.
Macadamia Nuts, Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever. Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control.
Moldy Foods A wide variety of molds grow on food. Some produce toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if ingested by dogs. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine whether a particular mold is producing tremorgenic mycotoxins, so the safest rule of thumb is to avoid feeding dogs moldy food. In other words, if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your dog. Promptly remove any trash or moldy debris (road-kill, fallen walnuts or fruit, etc.) from your dog’s environment to prevent him from eating it. The signs of tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to very coarse total-body tremors and, finally, convulsions that can lead to death in severe cases. Left untreated, these tremors can last for several weeks. Fortunately, they usually respond well to appropriate veterinary treatment.
Mothballs, especially if they contain naphthalene, can be toxic to dogs and cats, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, and seizures. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life threatening).
Nonprescription medications, such as ibuprofen, can lead to severe ulcers and anemia, as well as liver and kidney failure in pets. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life threatening).
Onions and Garlic, All close members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. A rule of thumb is “the stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions, on an ounce-for-ounce basis. While it’s uncommon for dogs to eat enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of toxicosis. The damage to the red blood cells caused by onions and garlic generally doesn’t become apparent until three to five days after a dog eats these vegetables. Affected dogs may seem weak or reluctant to move, or they may appear to tire easily after mild exercise. Their urine may be orange-tinged to dark red in color. These dogs should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed.
Prescription medications, such as antidepressants and ADHD and cardiac drugs, are commonly ingested by pets when pills are dropped on the floor or left on counters. Even a small dose can cause problems. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Queensland nuts, also known as macadamia nuts, can cause lethargy, vomiting and difficulty walking in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Rodenticides, such as mouse and rat poisons, can contain a number of different toxins, which have different effects on dogs. Several common ingredients, like warfarin and coumarin, can cause blood clotting problems and hemorrhaging. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
Sago palms are one of a number of toxic plants for dogs and cats. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and seizures, as well as liver failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: severe.
Tobacco can be toxic to both dogs. Ingestion of nicotine in the tobacco plant or in cigarettes or patches can lead to vomiting, tremors, collapse and death. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Veterinary prescriptions, such as arthritis medications, are often meat-flavored, which can be enticing to dogs. Ingestion of large quantities can result in stomach ulcers, liver failure or kidney failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Windshield wiper fluid can contain methanol or ethylene glycol. Ingestion of methanol can cause low blood sugar and drunken walking in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Yard products, including snail and slug bait, herbicides and fertilizers, are never good for pets. Signs will vary by the ingredient. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Zinc toxicity can happen when dogs eat metal or coins. Ingestion of even a single zinc penny can be fatal. Zinc can cause anemia, as well as liver, kidney or heart failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Xylitol, is a non-caloric sweetener that is widely used in sugar-free gum, as well as in sugar-free baked products. In humans, xylitol does not affect blood sugar levels, but in dogs, ingestion of xylitol can lead to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels. Dogs may develop disorientation and seizures within 30 minutes of ingesting xylitol-containing products, or signs may be delayed for several hours. Some dogs who ingest large amounts of xylitol develop liver failure, which can be fatal. All dogs ingesting xylitol-containing products should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. How to Safeguard Your PetSo how can you prevent your pet from an accidental poisoning? Start by visiting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center website to learn about other potential poisons, how to poison-proof your home and what to do if you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned.
It's also a good idea to post the organization's phone number - 888-426-4435 - on your refrigerator for easy reference in the event of an emergency. The call center is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"To poison-proof your home, don't keep medications where pets can get at them," Dr. Wismer says. "Keep cleaning products behind doors, and take your medication in another room, behind a locked door."
While dogs can be notorious for refusing to take their own medications, Dr. Wismer adds, "we sometimes say that the surest way to pill a dog is to drop one on the floor."
This information is provided through years of research and should be considered opinion and is not to take the place of your regular veterinary care.