What Seven Foods Are Really Toxic for Dogs
Those "Poison" Lists Are Wrong
Fat is not toxic. Those people who tell you that you cannot give your dog some chicken skin, steak trimmings, or a little cheese are wrong.
If your dog is obese and you give her a high fat meal she may develop pancreatitis. (No one is really sure about the mechanism here, just that the problem is seen more in overweight spayed females that gorge on fat, like a big plate of turkey skin on Thanksgiving.)
A dog in good shape, however, does not suffer from eating a little fat added to her meal.
Dogs all over the world live off of fatty meals with no ill effects. Pancreatitis is very serious and very dangerous, but telling the dog owning public that fat is toxic is like stating that sugar is poisonous because some kids have diabetes.
A few eggs a week are not toxic: Raw eggs may prevent the ingestion of a vitamin but it is not necessary for your dog to consume that vitamin every day. She will still have a healthy coat if she does not consume the vitamin every day.
Raw eggs keep your dog healthy. Some holistic veterinarians believe that the beneficial effects of the egg are lost through processesing and it is better for your dog if given still raw.
Bones are not toxic. Some people get nervous about feeding bones because some dogs have been known to break off a piece of bone and it can cause an obstruction. I read an article recently about one of the healthy “greenies” causing impaction also. I guess the only healthy kind of a bone you can give 100% safely is a nylon bone, and the reason it does not cause problems is that the dogs do not like its taste or texture, and thus it is not chewed on.
If the dog leaves it in the yard and does not touch it, the nylon bone is 100% safe.
Just an aside here: I give my own dog old sea turtle shell bones. They are large and flat, impossible to swallow, and, since they are about 100 years old, very hard and give her plenty of chewing exercise. I am sure that there is a company that could replicate the object if enough dog owners were interested.
This book was written by an Australian veterinarian and it explains how natural dog food can improve your dog;s health. I found it useful because he gives formulas, how to use the diet for puppies, adults, and in special cases. If you are interested in the wellbeing of your dog I recommend you read this book and improve your dog´s life by taking advantage of a homemade raw diet.
Garlic is not toxic. Okay, on this subject I have to admit that there is no evidence that garlic is toxic, but I would be glad to accept that garlic is mildly toxic if anyone is willing to produce any sort of proof. It does have the misfortune of being related to onion, which is toxic, and even has a chemical name that is similar to onion.
One web site published an article where an owner told of her dog dying only a few days after eating garlic; the story was reproduced on another web site as proof of the toxicity of garlic, and before long other “experts” were using the second web site as their evidence of the danger of garlic.
There was one study done by some veterinarians in Japan. Dr. Lee and his fellow researchers decided that garlic was toxic so they gave a large dose and monitored the results. None of the dogs developed anemia. Therefore they decided to recommend no garlic be fed to dogs. Do you think they would get away with that type of conclusion if they were investigating a big industry? How about “coffee causes anemia.” They study it, determine it does not cause anemia, and then decide to recommend coffee no longer be consumed anyway.
So What Has Proven to Be Toxic?
1. Chocolate is toxic. This is a dose-related toxicity. If your Great Dane eats an M&M there is no reason to call poison control. If your teacup Yorkie happens to get into your secret store of Godiva dark chocolate and eats the whole box, however, you have a serious problem on your hands.
If a four-pound dog eats about one ounce of dark chocolate, he can die. Dark chocolate (like the kind you put in chocolate chip cookies) is dangerous because it has high levels of theobromine, the toxic substance in chocolate. A Hershey’s bar is only 1.55 oz and milk chocolate so it only contains 6mg of theobromine per oz., nothing to worry about since the toxic dose of theobromine is about 100mg/kg.
Nestle Toll House chocolates come in 6, 12, and 24-ounce sizes, and since they contain about 30mg/oz a big bag would be enough to kill a 15-pound dog. Even if the dog does not die from the toxin in the chocolate, he might have enteritis or pancreatitis from all the sugar and fat. So, the thing to remember is that chocolate is toxic but it is not like “biting down on a hollow tooth filled with arsenic.” Be careful, keep the chocolate out of reach, but if the dog eats some do not freak out.
2. Onions are toxic. They can cause a type of blood poisoning called hemolytic anemia. The red cells are weak and break up easily so the anemia doesn’t develop for several days. The only reports out there of onions causing problems are when the dog ate a cup or more—onions are only toxic when consumed at more than 0.5% of their body weight.
It takes a lot of onions to cause toxicity so they can only be considered mildly toxic.
3. Raisins and grapes may be toxic. The dose of raisins and grapes that have caused toxic signs in dogs is not really that high, half an ounce per pound of body weight, and the symptoms have been so severe that the poison control centers are recommending aggressive treatment like pumping the stomach, inducing vomiting, and putting the dog on IV fluids for at least a few days.
The strange thing is that no one is able to reproduce this poisoning with the normal components of grapes so there is obviously something else going on, like maybe molds, strange mixtures, who knows?
Something about eating raisins is causing kidney failure though so this is definitely something to avoid.
Other Things That Can Be Toxic:
4. Macadamia Nuts
5. Avocado Pits. The pits may act as a foreign object and cause blockage. There is actually dog food made out of avocado so, although it may be toxic to some animals, in dogs the flesh of the fruit does not cause a problem. Peach and apricot pits can also cause problems.
7. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in some brands of gum.
There are other substances but they can be toxic for us too! Dogs can be poisoned by lead from eating old paint chips, antifreeze from drinking from a pan that is left around instead of being disposed of, they can be poisoned from agro toxins dumped on your lawn, or they can be poisoned with toxic mushrooms.
There are a few things that we can eat that can sometimes cause problems in dogs, like broccoli if over 10% of a dogs diet (would anyone ever feed their dog this much broccoli, and would he even eat it?).
There are not a lot of toxic substances out there you need to be careful of but there is a lot of hype about the few that do cause problems. I'm sure that if a group of Japanese researchers selected a bunch of our normal fruit and vegetables and fed high levels to dogs they would determine them dangerous. There is still a lot we do not know.
If you do have a dog that goes “dumpster diving” however, you are never sure what he has eaten, how much may have been dumped in the trash, and what strange mixture he may have picked up. It is better to take your friend in to the emergency clinic and have his stomach pumped, given a dose of activated charcoal, and then put on IV fluids to make sure everything in flushed out of his body.
© 2012 Dr Mark