Although it may be tempting to give your dog some of your food -- and the constant begging may make you feel guilty enough to do it -- in the end you may wish you hadn't. Many foods that you eat on a regular basis can cause digestive and other systemic problems for your pet. Instead of giving your buddy a treat, you can end up hurting or even killing him. When it comes to feeding the dog, stick to foods that are specially designed for nutrition and safety.
Grapes and raisins should be kept away from your dog at all times. They cause digestive upset including diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains. The symptoms can also include fatigue, depression, a refusal to eat and eventually kidney failure. Death is sometimes the end result unless treatment is provided quickly.
Besides being a sugary food that is bad for your dog's health, chocolate can be a killer. It is the caffeine in the cocoa from which chocolate is made that affects your dog with kidney failure, arrhythmia and even death. Chocolate may not be toxic in extremely low doses, depending on the size of the animal and the cocoa content of the chocolate. Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa and therefore a higher caffeine content than milk chocolate, but neither should ever been given to dogs of any size or breed. Caffeine is also present in coffee and tea, but these beverages rarely find their way into the dog dish.
Many snack foods, fast foods, prepared foods and preserved foods have high levels of sodium that can cause many of the same symptoms in dogs that they do in humans. Salt is present to some degree in most foods, but it is only considered dangerous to animals in high doses. Some signs of sodium ion poisoning include diarrhea, seizures, fever, listlessness and vomiting. If untreated, sodium poisoning can lead to the death of your pup.
Onions & Garlic
Anemia and the loss of normal levels of red blood cells are the result when your dog ingests any quantity or form of onion or garlic. Onions themselves are not the only culprit since foods that contain onions, garlic, onion or garlic powder or dried onions or garlic are just as deadly. The amount of onions or garlic that each type of dog can handle without adverse side effects varies, but the general rule is to avoid them altogether. If your dog becomes weak, short of breath, starts vomiting or no longer eats after ingesting onions or garlic, get him to the vet immediately.
Xylitol is a common additive to gums, candies and other artificially sweetened snacks. It is a man-made substance that causes serious health problems in dogs. Xylitol often results in seizures, low blood sugar, permanent liver failure and death in some cases. In the case of accidental ingestion you should take your dog to an emergency pet hospital immediately. Call poison control if you can't make it to the hospital right away and use teaspoons of peroxide to cause vomiting so the poison is removed from your dog's system to some extent.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.