Some foods commonly enjoyed by humans are dangerous to dogs:
Dogs love the flavor of chocolate, but chocolate in sufficient doses is lethally toxic to dogs (and horses,
parrots, and cats). Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical stimulant that, together with caffeine and
theophylline, belongs to the group of methylxanthine alkaloids. Dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine
effectively. If they eat chocolate, the theobromine can remain in their bloodstreams for up to 20 hours, and
these animals may experience fast heart rate, hallucinations, severe diarrhea, epileptic seizures, heart
attacks, internal bleeding, and eventually death. A chocolate bar can be sufficient to make a small dog
extremely ill or even kill it. Approximately thirty grams of baking chocolate per kilogram (1/2 ounce per pound)
of body weight is enough to be poisonous. In case of accidental intake of chocolate by especially a smaller
dog, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately; it is commonly recommended to induce
vomiting within two hours of ingestion. Large breeds are less susceptible to chocolate poisoning, but can still
die after eating four ounces of chocolate.
It has recently been confirmed that grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs[citation
needed] (see also grape and raisin toxicity in dogs). The exact mechanism is not known, nor is there any
means to determine the susceptibility of an individual dog. While as little as one raisin can be toxic to a
susceptible ten pound dog, some other dogs have eaten as much as a pound of grapes or raisins at a time
without ill effects. The affected dog usually vomits a few hours after consumption and begins showing signs of
renal failure three to five days later.
Onions contain thiosulfate which causes hemolytic anemia in dogs (and cats). Thiosulfate levels are not
affected by cooking or processing. Small puppies have died of hemolytic anemia after being fed baby food
containing onion powder. Occasional exposure to small amounts is usually not a problem, but continuous
exposure to even small amounts can be a serious threat. Also garlic contains thiosulfate, even if to a
significantly lesser extent, and it is also known to cause diarrhea and vomiting. Small doses of garlic 5-6 times
per week can improve dog health, since garlic is a natural antimicrobial and helps to prevent heart disease. It
is stated that garlic also has repellent effects on fleas and ticks, especially in combination with brewer's or
Macadamia nuts can cause stiffness, tremors, hyperthermia, and abdominal pain. The exact mechanism is
not known. Most dogs recover with supportive care when the source of exposure is removed.
Alcoholic beverages pose much the same temptation and hazard to dogs as to humans. A drunk dog displays
behavior analogous to that of an intoxicated person. (However, beer presents another problem; see below.)
Hops, a plant used in making beer, can cause malignant hyperthermia in dogs, usually with fatal results.
Certain breeds, such as Greyhounds, seem particularly sensitive to hop toxicity, but hops should be kept
away from all dogs. Even small amounts of hops can trigger a potentially deadly reaction, even if the hops are
"spent" after use in brewing.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in chewing gum, chewable vitamins, candy, toothpaste, and other products.
Although empirical studies indicate xylitol may be safe for dogs, there have been cases of foods, candies
and gums containing xylitol causing toxic or even fatal liver damage in dogs and should be avoided.
Some dogs have food allergies just as humans do; this is particular to the individual dog and not
characteristic of the species as a whole. An example is a dog becoming physically ill from salmon; many
humans likewise have seafood allergies.
If dogs eat the pits of fruits such as peaches and apricots or apple seeds, they can get cyanide poisoning
due to cyanogenic glycosides. However, the dog has to chew on the pit or seed to release the cyanide.
Swallowing them whole will not cause poisoning but may lead to choking. It should be noted that a very large
amount of seeds would need to be chewed and swallowed in order to cause problems.
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