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Dog Owners all over the world have been known to spoil their pets from time to time by feeding them leftovers or delicious scraps right from the table. While this might seem like a perfectly loving gesture, it could actually lead to tragic results. While the majority of veterinarians agree that giving your dog “people food” is not healthy, there are certain foods that are deadly no-nos for dogs.

1: Alcohol 
Consumption of alcohol for dogs can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, damage to the brain and liver and difficulty breathing. These are the same effects that alcohol has on us, but it is much worse for dogs because they are smaller than us. The smaller the dog, the more damage the alcohol can do. If the damage is severe enough, intoxication can put your pup in a coma or even kill it. So next time you and your buddies are looking for a good laugh, visit a comedy club because a drunk dog is no laughing matter.

2: Avocados (fruit, pit, and plant) 
I know what you’re thinking: Avocados?! But they are a super-fruit! They are probably one of the best things we as humans can eat! But there is the key word, “humans”. So Guacamole is not so good for the doggie. Persin, which is a fungicidal toxin found in avocados, is fatal to many animals, especially dogs. It can damage the heart, lung, stomach and other vital tissues due from major swelling in the animal’s body after consumed. The fruit’s high fat content can also lead to pancreatitis.

3: Chocolate
A misconception among some is that only cats can get sick from chocolate, when in fact it is incredibly lethal for dogs as well. The threatening factor is theobrime, which gives chocolate its bitter flavor. There is a high content of theobrime in dark chocolate like “Baker’s” baking chocolate, so the dark the chocolate, the more deadly. Chocolate has the potential to overstimulate a dog's central nervous system and cause heart palpitations. Also, it causes seizures, vomiting, and can lead to a coma. It only takes a small amount in comparison to the dog's weight to result in dire consequences. Symptoms are not immediate, so if your dog accidentally consumes chocolate and seems okay, still seek veterinary attention within 24 hours. Death becomes a serious possibility when your pet consumes chocolate.

4: Caffeine
While on the topic of chocolate, please note that anything with high caffeine content (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc) is also highly poisonous to your pet.

5: Grapes and Raisins
Surprised? Even the seemingly benign grape can be a threat to your dog’s life. While the deadly toxin in this fruit hasn't been pinpointed as yet, the effect it has on dogs is serious. Even small amounts over time should never, ever be fed to your pets. Once again, toxins can build up in the dog's system, leading to kidney failure and potential death.

6: Nuts
Some nuts can be extremely harmful to dogs, especially macadamia and walnuts. Like  with chocolate, symptoms are not immediate, usually appearing around 12 hours after consumption. Ingestion of nuts can result in paralysis, hyperthermia, inability to stand or walk, tremors, and death. Also, watch out for cookies, cakes, and anything containing nuts that your dog may try to consume.

7: Onions, garlic, and chives* (important warning below)
While cats are more affected by consuming these, it is still very dangerous for dogs. Not only can onions, garlic and chives cause gastrointestinal irritation and difficulty breathing, but the sulfoxides and disulfides in them can be deadly. They can destroy red blood cells (which are crucial for delivering oxygen to body tissues) and cause anemia. Garlic is less toxic than onions, and if you look carefully, you'll see that a lot of the cheaper dog food brands contain small doses of garlic powder. While this hasn't been proven to be an issue in smaller doses, there is the potential for buildup in the system. The warning is be cautious when selecting food for your pet.

8: Seeds and pits found in fruits, such as apples, cherries, and peaches
Most humans do not have a problem with throwing out the pit when they are done snacking on the fruit. But believe it or not, the pits contain cyanide. Yes, cyanide, the poison that leads to comas, seizures, breathing difficulties, permanent paralysis, liver and kidney damage, inflammation of the small intestine, and cardiac arrest in both people and pets. Sound scary? Yes, since dogs don’t know when to stop snacking on a tasty treat.

9: Tomatoes (plant and fruit)* (important warning below)
Tomatoes have not just one but two deadly factors: tomatine and atropine, both of which are poisonous. Dogs that eat them can experience lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, seizures, coma, and death. The threat is greater in green tomatoes than ripe tomatoes, but the risk is still there. Like with garlic, some cheaper dog foods will contain tomato pomace, a filler that is a combination of leftovers from making tomato sauce, paste and juice. Since pomace is made from ripe tomatoes, the risk is greatly minimalized, but once again why take a chance with your precious pet? Fun fact: all parts, minus the actual tomato, are poisonous to humans.

10: Yeast Dough 
If a dog consumes yeast dough, it can still  rise, even inside your pup's body, possibly rupturing the stomach and intestines. Bread is a safer bet for your pet, if you must, since the dough is cooked - however, this should only be offered in very small amounts, or even better, not at all. Bread is not a natural or required nutritional source for your dog

11: Xylitol 
This natural sugar substitute is especially dangerous, as it is found in so many different products, including chewing gum, some toothpastes, sugar-free candy and baked goods, and various beverages. Upon swallowing anything with xylitol (even in a small amount) your dog's body will respond by releasing a surge of insulin, possibly launching your pet into hypoglycemia-induced convulsions. Hypoglycemia, which occurs when your blood sugar is dangerously low, sometimes leads to vomiting, seizures, coma, possible liver failure, and death. Keep a careful eye on your pet when he is around any products that are sugar-free or reduced sugar. It only takes one gram of xylitol to kill a 10-pound dog. One 3.75-oz cup of sugar-free pudding has 7 grams of xylitol in it, enough to kill a large dog.

So next time you think, "Oh, it's just a little bite, so it can't hurt!" take a minute to calculate what you are putting in your puppy’s body. You could be killing him, and not even know it. It’s worth it to research so healthy treats for your dog because there is plenty out there and your dog will thank you for it.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 190 - August 3326
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