From avocado to chocolate, what foods must dogs not eat?

Anyone lucky enough to have – or have had – dogs in their life will be familiar with the feeling: you’ve made a lovely dinner or a snack, you settle down to watch your latest Netflix favourite and you feel a set of eyes on you.

There’s your pup (or pups) looking at you with those irresistible puppy dog eyes, pleading for a morsel of your food.

What do you do? Do you risk breaking their hearts and saying no, or do you acquiesce and give them a little bite? After all, you already have to deal with separation anxiety once you go back to the office.

You should always take a paws – sorry, pause – before giving in. It’s better to risk being in the dog house than getting your best friend sick, after all.

Here’s a list of foods you should never feed your dog, and some that you can share to keep tails wagging…

What foods should dogs not eat?

From well-known prohibited foods like chocolate to more surprising bad foods, the list of toxic food for dogs includes:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocado
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Mushrooms

As well as understanding that some foods have toxic ingredients, there are other foods that dogs should avoid in terms of physical issues digesting.

Cooked bones, for example, can prove fatal to many pups.

Though throwing a dog a bone is a good thing – so much so it’s become a common saying about helping somebody out – a cooked bone is much softer than an uncooked bone. Uncooked bones are great for your dogs to chew on but a cooked bone is much easier to break apart, and these splintered pieces could cause digestive issues at best or a perforated gut at worst for your dog.

Similarly, avoid giving your dog any corn on the cob. Corn itself can be digested but the cob can cause intestinal blockages.

How to spot if your dog has eaten something dangerous

If your dog is acting differently and you haven’t been around to check everything it has eaten, there are some common signs that can alert you to potential poisoning.

Common signs of dog poisoning include:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea and sickness
  • Pale gums
  • Tremors or convulsions

Less obvious signs that a dog can be suffering from eating something it shouldn’t include a loss of appetite, lethargy, grunting or moaning and stretching a lot – this could be a sign that they are trying to get pressure off their belly.

What to do if your dog eats something they shouldn’t

Even small amounts of these foods and their ingredients can be fatal so, if you’re worried your dog has consumed some, you must act immediately and take your dog to the vets.

Some toxic foods, like onions, cause long term kidney failure in dogs. So, even if some of these symptoms show up only mildly, if you’re ever in doubt, seek out medical help immediately.

What can dogs eat? Human food and treats that are fine to share

If you never want to be ‘bad cop’ when it comes to giving your dog a taste of your favourite snacks and treats, the good news is there’s plenty of food you can share.

Foods that are considered safe (and often beneficial!) for a dog include:

  • Lean meats – chicken, turkey, pork, beef
  • Fish – salmon and sardines are considered especially healthy
  • Apples (ensure you remove any seeds and slice the apples first)
  • Strawberries (cut into pieces)
  • Tomatoes (when ripened and with the stem removed)
  • Blueberries
  • Cooked eggs
  • Carrots (cut into pieces to avoid choking)
  • Honey – small amounts of honey introduce pollen to a dog’s system, building immunity to allergens in your area

There are also foods that your dog can safely eat, but you should try to limit how much they have for different reasons. Either they provide little to no nutritional value or, just like humans, it’s all about moderation.

This includes bread, cheese, yoghurt, milk, and bananas.

It’s important to remember that every dog is different. Just like their owners, some dogs might be lactose intolerant or have allergies to different foods. If you’re introducing a brand new food to your dog’s diet, start off small to begin with and be observant of any adverse reactions, always ready to seek medical help in an emergency.

Moreover, owners shouldn’t consider this list exhaustive – there will be other foods that are harmful to your dog not listed – if you’re ever in doubt, always check first.

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