Certain fresh and natural foods intended for human consumption can produce harmful or even fatal effects for your dog, and you should know them by heart. If you suspect your dog has consumed a harmful or poisonous food, take note of how much he has eaten and contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Members of the Allium family, including onions, garlic and chives, can produce toxic effects in dogs. These plants contain an ingredient called thiosulphate, which at best can produce nausea, vomiting, stomach upset and diarrhea. In large amounts, this toxin can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, causing them to burst. Generally, onion or garlic poisoning signs don't appear until several days after ingestion. If cell damage occurs, your dog will show signs of anemia including pale gums, lethargy, weakness, increased pulse and respiration, and exercise intolerance. Garlic is five times more toxic to dogs than onions, and Japanese breeds possess a higher sensitivity to these toxins.
Take measures to prevent your dog from eating pitted fruits such as apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, persimmons and apples. While the pulp itself isn't toxic to dogs, the fruit pits contain cyanide. This toxin prevents cells from obtaining oxygen from the blood, leading to symptoms such as inadequate oxygenation of organs, difficulty breathing, bright red gums, dilated pupils, shock and even death.
Fruits such as grapes, raisins and currants or products containing these fruits such as juices, bagels or trail mix cause kidney failure in dogs. This group of fruits is not dose-dependent, meaning even a small amount ingested by a dog could produce devastating health results. Signs may not appear until a few days after ingestion and include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, refusal to eat, excessive drinking and urination, and dehydration. Ingestion of these fruits requires immediate, aggressive veterinary treatment.
Some plants in your vegetable garden can prove harmful to your dog. The green stems and leaves of tomato, potato and rhubarb plants can produce vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, weakness and lethargy in your dog. In rare instances, the loss of calcium created by rhubarb ingestion can lead to renal failure. While only certain varieties of mushrooms are toxic to dogs, it's best to consider all mushrooms off-limits. Signs of mushroom poisoning include a drunken demeanor, difficulty walking, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea.
Some fruits and vegetables, while not toxic to your dog, pose a severe choking hazard. Items such as corn on the cob or pits from avocados can become lodged in your dog's intestinal tract, requiring surgery. Signs of obstruction by a foreign body include drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, refusal to eat and lack of feces production. If untreated, an obstruction can lead to rupture of the intestine and death.
- ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- Veterinary Pet Insurance: Alternate Dog Treats
- Pet Poison Helpline: Garlic
- The Humane Society of the United States: Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets
- Pet Poison Helpline: Grapes
- Pet Poison Helpline: Tomato
- Pet Poison Helpline: Rhubarb
- Pet Poison Helpline: Mushrooms