7 Toxic Foods for Your Dog

by Jill LaCross

Many of the foods we find delicious to our senses and nutritious to our bodies can cause big problems for our Labrador retrievers. Here are seven toxic foods, with details from the Pet Poison Helpline. Some of them might even be in your garden this year.

Don’t be alarmed; just be aware. For a full list of plants, foods, medications, and household items that could pose problems for your dog, please visit the Pet Poison Helpline website.

Alcohol

Toxicity Level: mild to severe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: Alcohol toxicity can occur without your dog downing the hard stuff or helping himself to a glass of wine left on a low table. “Rum-soaked fruitcake or unbaked dough containing yeast result in alcohol poisoning and other life-threatening problems. When the yeast in the unbaked dough is fermented, it results in the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in alcohol poisoning quickly.”

Symptoms: Drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

 

Chocolate

Toxicity Level: mild to severe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “The less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog,” reports the Hotline. Make sure to watch your dog when there’s Baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate around. “Other sources include chewable, flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. The chemical toxicity is due to a methylxanthine (like theobromine and caffeine).”

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and rarely, even death.

 

Garlic

Toxicity Level: mild to moderate

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “Garlic is considered to be about five times as potent as onions. Garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset, and clinical signs may not be apparent for several days. Large ingestions can be very toxic.”

Symptoms: Oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) , nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea. Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.

 

Onions

Toxicity Level: mild to moderate

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: From the same family as garlic, onion poses a risk to dogs. The Hotline website reports, “If you suspect your dog or cat have onion poisoning, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment recommendations.”

Symptoms: Oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) , nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea. Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.

 

Grapes/Raisins

Toxicity Level: moderate to severe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, or currants can result in severe, acute kidney failure. All types of grape- or raisin-containing products (including grape juice, trail mix, bagels, etc.) can result in this. Even organic, pesticide-free, grapes grown in home gardens can result in toxicity.” The reason for its effects is unknown at this point.

Symptoms: Anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially severe acute renal failure (usually several days later). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately for treatment options if you suspect your dog has ingested grapes or raisins.

 

Mushrooms

Toxicity Level: mild to severe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “While the majority of mushrooms are considered non-toxic, some may result in severe clinical signs (even death). Depending on the type/species of mushroom ingested, several general organ systems can be affected. In general, all mushroom ingestions in veterinary patients should be considered toxic unless accurate, rapid mushroom identification can occur.”

Symptoms: “Clinical signs from mushroom poisoning are dependent on the species of mushroom ingested, the specific toxin within that mushroom, and the individual’s own susceptibility,” says the Hotline. Early clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, walking drunk, depression, tremors, and seizures, with liver and renal damage occurring later. If you see your dog eat a mushroom, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

 

Yeast Dough

Toxicity Level: mild to severe

According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “When ingested, unbaked bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloated stomach; this can then progress to a gastric-dilitation volvulus (GDV), which is a twisted stomach.”

Symptoms: Vomiting, non-productive retching, a distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, weakness, collapse, and death.

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