Poisonous Plants (and foods) For Dogs

Posted in Dog Friendly Gardening

Poisonous Plants (and foods) For Dogs

Dogs love to see what we are eating and would jump at the chance to try most anything. As their guardians and pack leaders we must keep them safe from harmful foods. Don’t give into those pleading eyes … only feed your dogs food that is healthy for them!

First of all, we need to educate ourselves and others about foods that can be very dangerous to their health …

Please take caution to make sure your dog never gets access to the foods below. Even if you don’t provide your pooch table scraps, he or she might eat something that’s hazardous to his health by raiding trash cans, kitchen counters, or even cupboards when you’re not home to supervise. Of course, training your dog is very important. To be on the safe side, ensure the items listed below are out of your dog’s reach …




12 Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat:

Avocado – Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic principle known as persin. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel.

The main threat is ingestion of the pit which can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. This is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care.

Bread Dough – Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous if ingested by dogs. When swallowed, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach.

The expanding stomach may press on the diaphragm, resulting in breathing difficulty. Perhaps more importantly, as the yeast multiplies, it produces alcohols that can be absorbed, resulting in alcohol intoxication. Frequently the first signs of a problem are a distended abdomen from the expanding lump of dough, and gassiness. There may also be vomiting or unproductive retching …

Chocolate – Chocolate intoxication is most commonly seen around certain holidays (Halloween, Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day) but it can happen any time dogs have access to products that contain chocolate, such as chocolate candy, cookies, brownies, chocolate baking goods, cocoa powder, and cocoa shell mulches.

The compounds in chocolate that cause toxicosis are caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines.

The rule of thumb with chocolate is “the darker it is, the more dangerous it is.” Dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines, and plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines …

Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death. Dogs showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately …




Ethanol / Alcohol – Dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol / alcohol than humans are. Even ingesting a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Dogs may be exposed to alcohol through drinking alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine or mixed drinks. Also exposure to certain alcohol-containing beverages, mouthwashes, medications, disinfectants, perfumes, rotten apples, and paints can cause toxicity.

Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur. Dogs showing mild signs of alcohol intoxication should be closely monitored, and dogs who are so inebriated that they can’t stand up should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover …

Fruit Pits and Seeds – Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain toxic cyanide, which is poisionous to dogs. Additionally, pits and seeds can cause intestinal obstruction.

Signs of intestinal obstruction may include: anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, no appetite, swollen abdomen, fever, dehydration, and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within 3 to 4 days …

Grapes and Raisins – Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. Dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicosis usually develop vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion …

Eating as few as 4 to 5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog, though the exact toxic dose will vary between dogs. As signs progress, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may show an increase in urination followed by decreased or absent urination in later stages …

Hops – Cultivated hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs who have ingested them. Both fresh and spent(or cooked) hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs …

Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature (often greater than 108 degrees Fahrenheit), which results in damage to and failure of multiple organ systems. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent death in these dogs. I’ve read Greyhounds and Labradors are particularly sensitive to hops poisoning …




Macadamia Nuts – Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever …

Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control.

Moldy Foods – A wide variety of molds grow on food. Some produce toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if ingested by dogs. The safest rule of thumb is to avoid feeding dogs moldy food.

In other words, if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your dog. Promptly remove any trash or moldy debris from your dog’s environment to prevent him from eating it. The signs of poisoning generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to very coarse body tremors and, finally, convulsions that can lead to death in severe cases. Fortunately, they usually respond well to appropriate, prompt veterinary treatment …

Onions and Garlic – All close members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, chives … etc.) contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. A rule of thumb is “the stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions, on an ounce-for-ounce basis.

While most dogs will stick their nose up at enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix, or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of toxicosis. The damage to the red blood cells generally doesn’t become apparent until three to five days after a dog eats these vegetables.

Affected dogs may seem weak or reluctant to move, or they may appear to tire easily after mild exercise. Their urine may be orange-tinged to dark red in color. These dogs should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed …




Tomato Plants – Tomato plants (the vines, stems and leaves) are toxic and can cause serious symptoms if eaten by a dog. Tomatoes contain tomatine, an alkaloid related to solanine and atropine. As the fruit ripens, the tomatine is metabolized. Therefore, ripened, red tomatoes are not likely to be harmful to a dog when eaten …

Green, unripened tomatoes can be potentially harmful, but contain less of the toxic chemicals than the plant parts and therefore might simply cause stomach upset. Atropine is concentrated in the vines and leaves of a tomato plant and can cause dilated pupils, tremors, and heart arrhythmias. Tomatine triggers abnormalities with the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract.

Xylitol – Xylitol is a non-caloric sweetener that is widely used in sugar-free gum, as well as in sugar-free baked products. In humans, xylitol does not affect blood sugar levels, but in dogs, ingestion of xylitol can lead to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels.

Dogs may develop disorientation and seizures within 30 minutes of ingesting xylitol-containing products, or signs may be delayed for several hours. Some dogs who ingest large amounts of xylitol develop liver failure, which can be fatal. All dogs ingesting xylitol-containing products should be examined by a veterinarian immediately …




*** Important: If your dog ingests any of the above – Take your pet to your vet or emergency clinic as soon as possible. The vet may start by inducing vomiting, or the stomach might be pumped (gastric lavage). Treatment can involve aggressive supportive care including fluid therapy and medications. ***

In summary, to be on the safe side … never feed any of the above listed items to your dog friends. Educate your family members and friends as well. Keep these foods out of your dog’s reach. If accidental ingestion occurs, contact your vet immediately.

(Sources: www.aspca.org, www.humanesociety.org, www.dogheirs.com)

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