Dogs chew almost anything. Hey, if it's on the floor it's fair game, right? Unfortunately, certain foods and everyday substances that are perfectly fine for people can be toxic for dogs. Even a small quantity of the following substances can put your dog's health at risk.
Alcoholic beverages. Because alcohol can be fatal to dogs, no amount of any alcoholic beverage is safe.
Chocolate is toxic to canines. The darker the chocolate, the more harmful. The methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine) in chocolate can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, experience rapid, irregular heartbeat, have increased urination, and experience muscle tremors and seizures. The effects can be serious. Death from chocolate toxicity can occur with 24 hours.
Coffee, tea and cola are people-food. They contain caffeine, a methylxanthine also found in chocolate. The signs of toxicity include rapid heart beat, hyperexcitability, tremors, and seizures.
Macadamia nuts can temporarily cause muscle weakness, often in the hind legs. Other signs include vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. The mechanism of the toxicity is unknown. Affected dogs recover with no treatment and no long-term effects.
Onions and garlic have a chemical that damages red blood cells in dogs and can cause anemia. Even one small whole onion can cause major illness. So be particularly careful when disposing of leftovers that contain a significant amount of onions, such as pizza or Chinese takeout. The small amounts of onion and garlic powder used in pet foods are safe and well below the toxic levels.
Raisins and grapes seem like fun toys to a dog. But they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure. The minimum safe amount is not known, so keep these foods well out of reach of curious muzzles.
Sugarless gums and candies are certainly sweet, but the sugar substitute xylitol can cause a rapid and fatal drop in your dog's blood sugar.
Moldy or spoiled food and garbage should stay safely in the trash. They can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting, diarrhea, and damage to internal organs.
Yeast dough, like the kind used in making bread or desserts, is designed to expand. If swallowed by an unsuspecting canine, it can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possibly rupture of the stomach or intestines.
Medications such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen may give you some relief, but painkillers and other common medications can be deadly to your dog. Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs (including painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, cold medicines, diet pills, antidepressants, anti-cancer drugs, and vitamins) in closed cabinets out of your pet's reach. Never give your dog medication unless directed by a vet.
Plants are pretty but possibly deadly for your dog. Many common yard and houseplants can be poisonous, including lily, daffodil, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew, foxglove, rhubarb leaves, and cycads.
According to the ASPCA, thousands of dogs needlessly suffer (and many die) each year by ingesting these common household foods and substances. If you suspect that your pet has eaten any of them, seek emergency help right away.