Dogs owners are faced with decisions on a regular basis when it comes to food. Most like to share their food with their dogs and there isn’t really any harm in this if you are adding to their bowl and not feeding them from the table, teaching them to beg. By adding it straight to their food, it is just part of their regular meal and they’ll love you for it.
What is safe though? It’s sometimes hard to know without specifically looking things up and finding out. Sesame seeds are something that are quite benign. Dog experts and the folks at animal poison control all agree that sesame seeds are a food that you can feed Fido without worries and concern.
What foods should you really be concerned about though? There are several things that could be in your house right now that are lurking and risky to your dog. Would you know them? Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should be very careful and never allow your dog to eat.
One of the biggest problems for dog owners is that dogs will quite honestly eat anything. They don’t know what is harmful to them and they’ll eat it. Sadly, many owners lose their dogs to this issue because they don’t even know the dog has been into something until it was far too late. The best practice is to be safe about what you keep in the house and if you have something that is toxic to dogs, keep it well away from anywhere they can find it or reach it.
Toxic Foods for Dogs
This is a list of the foods that dogs shouldn’t ever eat, and some foods that might be okay in tiny doses only.
1) Macadamia Nuts – it isn’t clearly understood why, but macadamia nuts are very bad for dogs. If they eat enough of these, they can suffer from kidney damage and even death. It doesn’t take more than a couple of nuts so do not ever feed your dog macadamia nuts, no matter what. If you have them in the house, it will be in your best interest to keep them under lock and key. If you have children, make sure they understand that this is a potentially deadly threat to dogs.
2) Almonds – These are a threat due to the fact that dogs will swallow them whole and they are sharp enough to damage the esophagus and stomach lining. It’s best to avoid these for dogs, unless they are crushed. The almond itself isn’t harmful, it is the shape that poses a risk.
3) Pits and seeds – Avocado seeds, peach pits, apple seeds and many other types of seeds are toxic as well as being choking hazards. Avoid letting your dog have any whole fruits or the seeds from them. Apple seeds contain cyanide and can be deadly poisonous. The large pits from peaches are a choking hazard, just large enough to become hopelessly lodged in the windpipe.
4) Xylitol – This is an artificial sweetener that is making its way into many of our foods now. No artificial sweetener is good for dogs but this one is lethal. A very small amount can kill a dog. This is a neurotoxin that will induce tremors, seizures, and death, usually within hours. Check peanut butter and sugar-free gums for xylitol. If they are in your home, get them out. Don’t let children have sugar-free gum around the dog. Reports of dogs finding a chewed piece of this gum, ingesting it, and dying later have been reported. This is a huge risk factor.
5) Grapes and raisins – Be very leery of anything with grapes or raisins. A small handful of grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Raisins are just as potently dangerous. Do not let dogs have any grapes, grape juice, oatmeal and raisin cookies, treats with raisins, etc. This is very harmful to them and can cause symptoms anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Often, by the time sickness is noticed, it is too late and the kidneys are shutting down completely.
6) Milk products – This isn’t something that is lethal, unless you consider the gas and diarrhea to be lethal to you. Many dogs are lactose intolerant and this will cause them stomach pain, diarrhea, and excessive gas. It likely won’t kill your dog, but giving them milk products should be done sparingly.
7) Yeast dough – Dogs should not be given raw dough of the type that has yeast in it for rising. They will consume this and it will continue rising in their stomach, causing pressure and in extreme cases, can rupture the stomach. It is very painful and require veterinary intervention if this happens. Make sure that if you are preparing fresh breads, that you keep your dog out of the kitchen to be safe.
8) Salt – It seems benign but in truth, too much salt for a dog can become deadly. It will dehydrate them dangerously. Please, don’t feed excessively salty foods to your dog as it can cause heart problems, toxic levels can build to dehydration that can hospitalize and/or kill them. Stay away from salt, it isn’t in their natural diet. Their body doesn’t metabolize it as ours does so it takes very little to be toxic.
9) Sugar – Sugar is not good for dogs at all. They can develop type two diabetes quite easily and this is something that they do not recover from. Dogs then need to go on insulin or die. Steer clear of sugars in foods and scraps. It is not a normal dietary need for dogs and should be avoided to prolong their life and keep them healthy.
10) High fat foods – Avoid high fat foods that can cause heart disease and high cholesterol. Just like humans, this is no good for them but it takes even less of these types of foods to dramatically impact their health in a negative way. Steer clear of fried foods, buttered foods, salted foods, etc.
What Should Dogs Eat?
Dogs need a well-balanced diet, just like humans do. They are omnivores like us. An omnivore eats a little of all things, vegetable and meat. Dogs like some leafy greens once in awhile and they also love vegetables. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are great sources of fiber that help balance stools and improve digestion when they have an upset stomach.
Seeds, like sesame seeds are a good addition to their diet as fiber and will also contain a bit of omega fatty acids, which are good for the body. Other good sources of fiber are vegetables that are high in fiber. Dogs enjoy broccoli but be careful not to overfeed this one. Too much broccoli can overload their system with vitamin A, which dogs don’t need in great supply. It might be bad for them in the long run.
Give them carrots, celery, some green pepper if they’ll eat it. Allow them to try new things and expand their horizons if you’d like. Simply make sure that it isn’t something that is bad for them and you’ll be fine.
When it comes to meat, they can usually eat anything unless they have a specific food allergy to it. There’s really no way to know without trying it. Keep the cuts of meat as lean as possible, don’t feed them all your fats trimmed off the steak. It’s possibly worse for them that it is for you. Trash it instead. Give them a carrot stick.
High starch foods aren’t great for dogs because as a general rule they don’t require a lot of carbs at all. Dogs need less carbs than anything in their diet, in fact. Try to give them as close to 20% of their diet as protein, and mix that with meat and vegetable proteins. Then add a little of everything else.
Make sure that you stick with 4 to 5% of their diet being fiber, to keep their bowels consistently happy. This will ensure they aren’t constipated or have diarrhea, which translates to less gas you have to deal with too. There is truly nothing worse than sharing living space with a gassy dog. If you see your dog eating grass, add fiber to their diet. This is them crying for help.
Dogs are just like people, they have things they like and things they don’t like. Not all dogs will be the same. If you have three dogs, they will not all like the same thing. One out of a hundred dogs will hate peanut butter, while the other ninety-nine will kill you to lick the spoon.
Laura Barnes is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.