Some foods which are edible for humans can pose hazards for dogs. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness and even death. Here are some common foods that should not be given.
- Raw eggs and raw meat: Raw eggs contain an enzyme avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin.
This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs and raw meat may also contain Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Fish (raw, canned or cooked): If fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
- Bones from fish, poultry or other meat sources: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
- Chocolate, coffee, tea and other caffeine: Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and be toxic to the heart and nervous systems.
- Grapes, raisins and currants: Contain a toxin, which can damage the kidneys.
- Onions and garlic: Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia.
- Mushrooms: Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock and result in death.
- Yeast dough: Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
- Sugary food: Can lead to obesity, dental problems and possibly diabetes mellitus.
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener): Can cause very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can result in vomiting, weakness and collapse. High doses can even cause liver failure.
- Salt: If eaten in large quantities, it may lead to imbalances.
- Marijuana and alcoholic beverages: Can cause vomiting, intoxication and may lead to coma and death.
- Fat trimmings: Can cause pancreatitis.
- Persimmons seeds, pits from peaches and plums: Can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
- Avocado: The leaves, seeds, fruit and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Tobacco: Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems and can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma and death.
- Cat food: Generally too high in protein and fats.
- Milk: Many pet parents believe that milk causes worms as well as hair loss, that’s why it should not be fed to the dog. But it’s not true. The fact is all the dogs are not able to produce an enzyme lactase in their body to digest the milk sugar lactose. So, the lactose remains undigested and tends to ferment in the intestine and cause diarrhoea. Some pets can tolerate little milk, others, none at all. If your pet enjoys and appears to tolerate milk and milk products, you can give your pet small amounts.
(Dr Sandip Umretiya, BVSc & AH, MVSc runs Pets Plus – Pet Clinic, Vadodara, Gujarat.)
Did you know?
- Chocolate and coffee contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cocoa seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremours, seizures, kidney failure. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. Never feed your pet chocolates.
- Large amount of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten salty foods include vomiting, elevated body temperature, seizure, tremors and may even cause death.
- Moldy or spoilt food or garbage can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhoea and also affect other organs.
- Cyanide poisoning can result from giving your dog the apple core. The pits and cores of certain fruits – plums, peaches, pears, apricots may be delicious, but hide cyanogenic glycosides. Some of the symptoms of toxicity are dilated pupils, salivation, dizziness, seizures, shock and coma.
- Bacon is a high fat food and can cause pancreatitis. The salt content in these foods can cause stomach upset and make the dog drink lot of water and later cause bloat, which is a fatal condition.
- Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but rice is generally safe in small amounts
- Raw liver or too much cooked liver can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
–Dr Jacob Mathew, Good Shepherd Veterinary Polyclinic, Secunderabad
Well-balanced diet – a must
Never give onion, garlic, candies, chocolates, grapes, alcoholic beverages, caffeine products, raw egg meal, table scrapes, sugary food, salty food, etc. Consult your vet for well-balanced nutritious diets.
–Dr Madan Dagar, Dog Pet Clinic, Alwar, Rajasthan