It wasn’t all that long ago that my dog got into two pounds of See’s candy. It didn’t contain that much real chocolate, but she started having full-body tremors and acting oddly, so I rushed her to the emergency vet.
It turns out it was just the high sugar and fat in her system. It sort of makes you wonder why See’s is so damn expensive when it doesn’t really contain much chocolate, doesn’t it?
There are some other very common “people foods” that can be very harmful to your dog, and your vet may not have informed you of what they are.
This is the big one that most people are aware of. Chocolate is dangerous not just due to the high sugar and fat, but cacao. It contains theobromine, which is a toxic diuretic and cardiac stimulant.
Generally the more bitter the chocolate is, the more dangerous. White chocolate is just packed full of sugar, but baking cocoa has a high amount of cacao. The dangerous amounts depend on your dog’s weight, so what might not hurt a Saint Bernard will definitely poison a Chihuahua.
Onions contain thiosulphate, that in larger doses can cause red blood cells to rupture, which in turn causes anemia.
Again, the toxicity depends on the amount eaten. Raw onions are the worst offenders, but be aware of feeding your dog foods or sauces that contain them.
Garlic also contains thiosulphate, but the amount eaten is much higher. In smaller amounts garlic can actually prevent fleas, so there’s definitely two camps on that one. Stay away from the onions though!
3. Grapes & Raisins.
There is an unknown as-of-yet substance in grapes/raisins that causes renal failure in dogs. The most frightening part is that it can be a large amount that causes it, or even just a handful.
Sadly, I personally have met people who fed their dog raisins as treats. Though they survived the initial poisoning, the renal failure affected them for the rest of their lives.
If you want to give your dog a dried-fruit treat, dried cranberries are texturally similar and have great health benefits.
4. Macademia Nuts.
Macademia and other nuts with high phosphorous content are thought to cause kidney stones in dogs.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in chewing gum. It causes spiked insulin levels and can possibly damage the liver, and it only takes a small amount to be deadly.
Remember to always keep an eye on what your pet is eating, and if your dog shows signs of food poisoning or you find gum wrappers all over the floor, call your vet. It’s much better to be safe than sorry in this situation!