For some, pet dogs are treated like an integral member of the family. Dogs share in holiday activities, sleep on special beds in the home and occasionally share meal time with their human family members. However, many human treats are unhealthy, and potentially dangerous for dogs. Upset of the digestive system, illness and even death is possible from some human foods and beverages according to pet experts and retailer Doctors Foster and Smith. Sharing a bite of dinner with your four-legged pal may be fun, but think twice before serving up an extra slice of birthday cake for old Fluffy.
Giving the dog your left over milk from the cereal bowl may cause him to have digestive upset. Many dogs, and cats, don’t have enough of the lactase enzyme in their system to effectively break down the lactose in milk products. Milk products may cause digestive upset, flatulence or diarrhea for pet dogs.
Although sugar free gum may be just what the dentist ordered for humans, the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, is extremely toxic to pets. Xylitol has been known to cause liver failure in dogs, according to Doctors Foster and Smith. Loss of coordination, seizures and a drop in blood sugar levels has also been reported in dogs that have ingested Xylitol.
Sweet treats in general should be forbidden for the pet dog. Sugary treats are known to cause obesity, diabetes and dental problems. Theobromine, or theophylline in chocolate can cause damage to the heart and nervous system of dogs.
Although a scoop of stew over dry dog kibbles might make dinnertime more appetizing for the family dog, think again if the meal contains raw onions, cooked onions or onion powder. This vegetable has been known to cause anemia in dogs. Sulfoxides and disulfides in onions can damage red blood cells, making the dog ill. Garlic is also known to have similar effects on dogs. Baby food is known to contain onion powder, and shouldn’t be fed to dogs as a treat.
If the pet dog likes to help in the garden, and occasionally chews plant foliage, make sure he doesn’t reach for the tomato and potato plants. The leaves of a tomato plant and the stems of a potato plant contain oxalates, which may effect the urinary, digestive or nervous system of a dog.
Toxins have been found in grapes and raisins, and may cause damage to a dog’s kidneys. However, grape seed oil, often used as an additive in holistic pet foods, has been deemed safe for pet consumption by Doctors Foster and Smith.
Feeding a dog a whole fruit with a large pit can be dangerous. Plums and peaches may double as a ball-style toy and sweet treat, but can also pose a choking hazard. These fruits are safe for dogs to eat when cut into bite sized pieces.
Questions about a particular human food, and its safety for dogs, can be answered by contacting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour emergency hotline at (888) 426-4435. The sources below also contain more comprehensive lists of foods that are dangerous for dogs to eat.