The Ugly (Really, just stay away from these ones.)
- Grapes and Raisins
- These are a bit tricky as the actual toxic component is still unknown. Some dogs have been eating grapes their whole lives and have never had an issue, while others get into just a couple and run into issues. Even though the toxic component is a mystery, the effects are not. Acute (fast) kidney failure will develop within 1-3 days. What will you notice? Your dog may not be as interested in food, may have some vomiting, be quieter than usual, and may be drinking or peeing more than usual. If you think your dog got into grapes or raisins, don’t wait, go see your vet.
- The general rule of thumb here is the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. White chocolate is not toxic, while milk chocolate has a moderate toxicity. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are bad news even in very small quantities. Chocolate contains two components, caffeine and theobromine, that are toxic to dogs. Mild signs of toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea. More significant symptoms include hyperactivity, agitation, tremors, and seizures. If you notice any of those signs, get to your vet!
- If you want to do some more reading about chocolate toxicity, check out our post from Valentines day.
- When people think about caffeine, the first thing that comes to mind is coffee or energy drinks. Most people also forget about tea, chocolate, and the more concentrated caffeine pills and gum. Small amounts of caffeine may cause your pooch to be a bit jittery. Higher amounts can cause an increased heart rate leading to arrhythmias (an irregular rhythm), high blood pressure, increased body temperature, tremors, and collapse. If your pet consumed some form of caffeine, call your vet or the pet poison hotline.
- Garlic & Onions
- Garlic is one of those things a lot of people used to use as a tick and flea repellent (thankfully there are tons of safer options available now). Garlic and onions are part of the Allium family, which also includes chives and leeks though these two usually don’t cause many issues. So what’s the big deal with garlic and onions? Toxic doses damage red blood cells leaving them fragile and more likely to rupture. As a result, dogs and cats will develop anemia - a low red blood cell count, which can be fatal. Early signs of anemia include lethargy, pale gums (should be bright bubblegum pink), high heart rate, high breathing rate or difficulty breathing, and collapse. Typically these signs don’t happen immediately after digging into that delicious garlic bread but a few days later. Cats are more sensitive to garlic as are Japanese dog breeds such as Akitas and Shiba Inus.
The Good Stuff
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
The Good but in Moderation
- Sweet Potato
What about bully sticks and bacon strips and raw hides and pepperonis or ice cream?
Think of all of these things as the fried dough of dog treats. Similar to cake, whoopie pies, cookies, candy, cupcakes - you get the idea. These do not add much nutritional value and if your pup has a sensitive stomach, can lead to some soft stools. That soft serve ice cream might come out in the same shape it went in. It is also adding extra calories, so if you’ve noticed your weiner dog is starting to look like an overstuffed sausage, this is a no brainer. Try to limit these to once, maybe twice per week.