Everyone knows dogs can’t eat chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, or household cleaning products. But the recent boom in gourmet doggy treats—from doggy bagels at Einstein Bros Bagels to doggy cake pops at PetCo—has blurred the line even further between what foods dogs can eat and which ones they cannot eat. Here’s the top 8 dog poison items in your household food pantry that dogs shouldn’t eat:
- Onions and garlic: Onions and garlic break down a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Small doses seem to be okay, but recreating the famous spaghetti scene from “The Lady and the Tramp” on a regular basis will make your pooch lethargic and sluggish.
- Medicine for People: You dog can’t pop painkillers like you might when you have a headache. Many human medicines contain caffeine, which can raise his heart rate to alarming levels, plus the liver damage human painkillers warn about increase tenfold for dogs. Get him to an animal clinic if he seems to be in pain.
- Avocados: Avocados contain a chemical called persin, which can be toxic for dogs in large amounts. Make sure your dog doesn’t slurp the guacamole during your next Taco Tuesday.
- Grapes or raisins: Some have offered this fruit as a healthy treat for dogs, but veterinarians warn against this due to grapes causing liver failure in dogs. Stick to carrots or apples for healthy treats.
- Raw Meat: While wolves eat raw meat in the wild, your pup’s stomach doesn’t have the same digestive capabilities of her wild ancestors. Raw meat contains enzymes that block the absorption of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A in dogs, plus dogs are susceptible to foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli.
- Bones: Your average rawhide bone is a good treat for your dog to gnaw on, but real bones can splinter, giving him gum disease and poking his digestive track. Especially do not feed dogs chicken bones, as those bones are small enough to both splinter and for your dog to swallow whole, which can lead to choking.
- Macademia or Brazil nuts: Macademia nuts contain a chemical that is as toxic as chocolate to dogs. This means white chocolate macademia nut cookies have double the danger for Fido!
- Too Many Table Scraps: Cheese, peanut butter, and the occasional table scrap are tried and true treats for dogs. However, these three things are high in fat and can lead to heart problems in dogs. Exercise your dog regularly—you’ll feel the benefits of walking her or playing Frisbee in the park as well!
So what can you give your dog when he’s giving you the puppy eyes? Cooked meat and processed dog treats are a good bet, but it may surprise you to learn that dogs love crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, and cucumbers. The crunchy fruits and vegetables also scrub away plaque on his teeth, giving him pleasant breath! (Just make sure to remove the core of an apple before giving it to your dog.) As the temperatures outside climb, we also encourage you to check out DO•FRO•YO, which is an organic, all-natural frozen treat sold by select retailers in Chicago. All proceeds benefit 1FUR1 and they come in scrumptious recipes such as apple&banana, pea&carrot, and pumpkin&banana. It might take a minute for your dog to figure out the little cup, but we guarantee he’ll be licking his lips for more!