What Not to Eat – Holiday Dog Edition (Dr. Jenna Koenigstein)

First things first…This is a slightly outdated photo because Dr. Gatsch is now Dr. Koenigstein. Congratulations! Onto her blog.

Now that we are all stuffed to the gills from our Thanksgiving feasts and looking forward to more gluttony next month, I’m going to take a moment to refresh you on those foods to avoid giving to your pup.  In addition to those listed below, it is also important to remember that giving table food to your canine companion can cause gastrointestinal upset and obesity, which can predispose them to other health issues.  Yummy human food can also cause them to become more finicky about eating their usual dog food.

Also beware of leaving food on the counters, especially if you have an experienced counter-surfer at home.

Alcohol – While it may seem funny to some to give Fluffy some beer and watch him act silly, don’t do it. Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, and slowed breathing, but potentially even coma or death.

This is what NOT to do.

Avocado – Avocados contain persin, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Baby food – Some varieties contain onion powder, which is harmful to dogs (see below under Onion).  Otherwise not harmful for dogs, but does not provide a balanced diet.

Bones – Intact bones can cause choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.  Splintered bones can cause damage to the lining of the GI tract and even possible perforation.

Cat food – Too high in protein and fat to be a primary diet for dogs.  Occasional consumption is not harmful and is often unavoidable 🙂

Chocolate, coffee, tea – This is probably not new information for you, but be sure to avoid chocolate for your pup.  It contains caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and, in more severe cases, is toxic to the heart and nervous system.  The darker the chocolate, the worse for your pet.

Corn on the cob – A common cause of intestinal obstructions every summer.  Make sure to dispose of garbage well so that your pup can’t go dumpster diving to find a prize.

Corn cob visible in the intestine causing obstruction.  The only treatment is surgery to remove the cob.

Fat trimmings – Can cause GI upset and occasionally pancreatitis.

Grapes and raisins – Grapes contain a toxin that can cause acute kidney failure. Some dogs seem more sensitive to the toxin than others, but best to avoid altogether.

Hops – One of the main components of beer, hop consumption by your dog can cause panting, an increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and even death.

Macadamia nuts – These contain a toxin that can cause weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting, and hyperthermia.

Milk and dairy products – Dogs are naturally lactose intolerant, so large amount of dairy products can cause diarrhea.

Moldy food – If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your pup.

Mushrooms – Just as the wrong mushroom can be fatal to humans, the same applies to dogs. If your pup eats an unknown mushroom outside, seek veterinary care immediately.

Onions and garlic – In all their forms (raw, cooked, powder, etc), they contain disulfides and sulfoxides, both of which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia.

Persimmons, peaches, and plums – Persimmon seeds and peach and plum pits can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Raw eggs – The most obvious concern is salmonella, which is why mom always said not to eat the cookie dough. But raw eggs also contain the enzyme avidin, which inhibits the absorption of Biotin (a B vitamin) that your dog uses to keep a healthy coat and skin.

Salt – Excessive intake can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

Sugar – Avoid sweet snacks in your pet.  Just as with people, sugar can lead to obesity, which may predispose your pet to diabetes.

Tobacco – The nicotine in tobacco can damage your pup’s digestive and nervous systems, increase their heart rate, lead to coma, and ultimately result in death.

Xylitol – An artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum which causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  Symptoms include vomiting, weakness, and collapse.

Yeast dough – Yeast can expand and produce gas in the GI system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

These by no means are the only things to avoid in your dog, but keeping these in mind can help your pup to have a happy and healthy holiday season.  If you ever have any question as to the safety of something your pet has eaten, call us anytime.

Happy Holidays!


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