Dog looking at chocolate

When tucking in to your feast of goodies during the festive season it is only natural to want to share the spoils with your dog. However, whilst feeding your dog may seem harmless, there are a few foods that can actually be dangerous, even deadly, if ingested by your pet. Let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous food for dogs.

1. Chocolate

There will be an abundance of chocolate about during the Christmas period and it is essential that you keep it away from your dog. The ingredient that is dangerous to dogs is theobromine, which can actually be lethal if ingested by an unwitting pup. The toxicity of an ingested chocolate can vary depending upon the amount eaten, the cocoa solid content and also the size of the dog that has consumed it. It is important to note that the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of theobromine. If your dog does ingest chocolate then contact your vet immediately, especially if you see any symptoms of vomiting, excessive thirst, drooling or convulsions.

In addition, hide away any sweets and confectionary that have wrappers as they can pose a threat if your dog starts to eat them, potentially causing choking or breathing difficulty.

2. Bread Dough

If you are planning to get creative and bake in the kitchen this Christmas, then please be vigilant of not letting your dog eat raw bread dough. If this is ingested then the live yeast can multiply in the warm and wet environment of a dog’s stomach, meaning that the dough can greatly expand in mass. If this occurs then the abdomen can expand and decrease blood flow to the wall of the stomach causing death of tissue. If the expansion is large enough then the stomach may push up against the diaphragm causing breathing difficulties. Not to mention the fact that as yeast multiplies it produces alcohol that can be absorbed by the dog, causing intoxication and resulting in vomiting. Signs that a dog may have a distended abdomen include a lack of coordination, vomiting and in extreme cases, comas or seizures (which can be fatal) induced by severe alcohol intoxication.

3. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are unusual in that they don’t affect all dogs if ingested. What is also interesting is that a dog can ingest a grape or raisin numerous times without suffering any illness but then on one occasion become greatly ill from it. The main health issue that grapes and raisins are associated with is the development of kidney failure. A dog experiencing grape or raisin toxicosis usually develops vomiting, lethargy or diarrhoea within 12 hours of eating them. From here they can then become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated and will refuse to eat. If you think that your dog may be displaying signs, again, please do contact your vet immediately.

4. Xylitol

Xylitol is used as a non-caloric sweetener in sugar-free chewing gum and sugar-free baked products. Unlike in humans, xylitol greatly affects a dog’s sugar levels if ingested by leading to a rapid and drastic drop in sugar levels. This can cause a dog to become greatly disorientated and cause seizures within 30 minutes of ingestion, although it must be noted that the onset of seizures can take several hours to start. If a dog ingests a large amount of xylitol, then they may actually develop liver failure, which can be fatal. Even if your dog only ingests a tiny amount of xylitol, it is imperative that you contact your vet as soon as possible.

5. Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions contain compounds that can seriously damage a dog’s red blood cells if ingested in large enough amounts. Whilst it is uncommon for a dog to eat enough raw garlic or onions to be affected, they can be in great danger of suffering from toxicosis if they eat high concentrates such as onion soup mix or garlic powder. If a dog’s red blood cells are damaged then it can take up to five days for it to become apparent, usually in the form of lethargy, a reluctance to move and tiring easily after even light exercise. Sometimes, a dog that has ingested high concentrates of garlic or onion will have orange – dark red coloured urine. If a case is severe enough then a dog may need a blood transfusion.

Please be aware that this article is for advice purposes only and should not be read as a medical document.

Hello, I’m Dan Tiley, Senior Content Writer for Animal Friends Pet Insurance. I’ll be keeping you regularly up to date with all latest animal related news, charity updates, donations and stories from around the animal kingdom. Please feel free to leave a comment or two.