Food items to be avoided for your pooch


Dr Anuradha Nema
Sharing our food with our pet is something many of us do and love to do. Generally pet parents slip something or anything from their plates under the dining table for their pooches. But pooches shouldn’t be given every food we eat. Let’s find out why is it so.
This article has listed some of the food items we normally eat, which are however dangerous if eaten by our pooches. Here the point is we should not poison our pooch by giving the eatables meant for us (human).
Chocolates: Caffeine and theobromine present in chocolates have toxic effects on cardiac and nervous system of dogs. Cooking chocolate contains the most theobromine followed by dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning among pooches include increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle tremors and increased urination. In acute cases, there may be seizure, coma and ultimately fatality may follow within 24 hours.
Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol is toxic to dogs. Its toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty in breathing and tremors. In extreme cases, it may also cause depression of the central nervous system and fatality.
Coffee and tea: Coffee and tea we normally drink contain caffeine that stimulates the central nervous system and the heart, which is bad to our pooches. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning among pet dogs include vomiting, restlessness, a racing heart and fatality in severe cases.
Egg white (raw): Raw egg white contains Avidin, a protein, which depletes Biotin (Vitamin-B). Biotin is essential for growth and coat health. Its deficiency can lead to hair loss, growth retardation, weakness and skeletal deformity.
Raw fish: Feeding raw fish to our pooches can result in thiamine deficiency, which may lead to loss of appetite, seizures and even loss of life.
Milk and dairy products: About 50 percent of dogs are lactose intolerant, i.e. insufficient amount of lactase enzyme is present to breakdown milk lactose. Heavy milk feeding to our pooches may result in loose/watery faeces.
Grapes and raisins: Consumption of graves and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can lead a dog to fatality. Repeated vomiting and hyperactivity are early signs of grapes and raisin poisoning among dogs.
Baby food: Dogs consuming baby food can result in nutritional deficiencies and loose/watery faces. It won’t meet growing puppy‘s nutritional requirements.
Bones from fish, poultry or other meat sources: Bones/splinters can cause choking, obstruction or laceration of digestive system among dogs.
Liver (large amounts): Raw liver or excessively cooked liver (three servings a week) can lead to Vitamin-A toxicity in dog. It can affect the pet’s muscles and cause deformed bones, excessive bone growth on elbows and spine, weight loss and anorexia. Liver toxicity is more common in cats.
Excessive fat: Too much fried foods or fat trimmings from ham and other meats could lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of pancreas with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to an extremely painful condition with a life threatening blood infection (sepsis) and internal bleeding. Poultry skin is also high in fat content. Another concern is that food with high fat is hard to digest and slows movement of stomach for dogs.
Onion and garlic: Onion and garlic contain sulfoxides, disulfides and thiosulphates. Dogs consuming these items can develop haemolytic anaemia due to destruction of the red blood cells. Onion is more toxic than garlic. In this case, cats are more susceptible than dogs.
Yeast dough (bread): Too much dough to a dog can expand and produce gas in gastro-intestinal tract, causing pain and may rupture stomach or intestines.
Potatoes (green) or potato sprouts: These vegetables contain solanine glycosides which can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, nervous system stimulation, depression, trembling, paralysis and cardiac arrest among dogs.
Mouldy or spoiled food, garbage: Spoiled food can contain multiple toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and can also affect other organs, if consumed by our pooches.
Avocado: Avocados contain a substance called ‘persin’, which is highly toxic in most animals, including dogs. Consumption of avocados among dogs can cause abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Table scraps (large amounts): Generally table scraps aren’t nutritionally balanced. Take care that fat should be trimmed from meat and bones should not be fed. Another concern is that whenever we give our dog extra food high in fat, sugar and calorie, then there is risk of dogs becoming obese. Therefore table scraps should never be more than 10 percent of the diet.
Macadamia nuts: Toxicity of macadamia nuts may cause muscle weakness, inability to walk, especially in the hind legs of the pet. Other adverse effects include vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and elevated body temperature.
Highly salty food: Avoid giving your dog too much salt, particularly when the pet has kidney problem. Another concern is that salty food items are often high in calorie and fat, so amount of it for dogs should be limited.
Xylitol (sugar free chewing gums): Doggies consuming diets containing sweetner xylitol can cause a sudden drop in their blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of co-ordination, seizures and even life threatening.
(Dr Anuradha Nema is Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary Surgery & Radiology, College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh and Dr Vichar Nema is Assistant Commandant in Siddarth Nagar, UP).