In the midst of the holiday season, with lots of cooking and entertaining going on, I thought I’d share some foods that can be potentially poisonous for your dogs. Perhaps you’re already aware of most or all of them. I found a few that surprised me.

Here’s to safe and happy Holidays for you and your pets.

Foods and Substances That Could be Deadly for Your Dog:

  • Alcoholic Beverages: Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
  • Avocados: The fruit, pit, and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.
  • Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and damage a dog’s internal organs. Raw bones should always be supervised.
  • Chocolate (all forms): Can cause staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death. Bakers (semi-sweet and dark) Chocolate is the most dangerous.
  • Coffee, Coffee Grounds, Tea: Drinks or food containing caffeine cause many of the same symptoms as chocolate.
  • Fatty and Fried Foods: Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.
  • Fruit Seeds and Pits: Contain cyanide. The core/pit of fruits can also become lodged in the intestines and kill a dog in 24 hours with no warning.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, kidney failure in dogs. A single serving of raisins can kill a dog.
  • Hops: Causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Can cause locomotion difficulties, tremors, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated. Limit all other nuts, as their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. The exception seems to be Peanut Butter (Organic salt & sugar free is best.)
  • Moldy or Spoiled Foods: Can cause indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting. Molds and bacteria go hand in hand. If the dogs are small, they will not be equipped to ward off diseases caused by these bacteria.
  • Mushrooms: Can cause abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarhea, convulsions, coma, death. The only safe mushrooms are shitake, maitake, and reishi.
  • Nutmeg: Can cause tremors, seizures, and death.
  • Onions, Onion Powder (and Garlic in large quantities): Can cause Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine. Weakness, confusion, dizziness and accelerated heart rate are other symptoms of onion poisoning. Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.
  • Raisins: (see grapes)
  • Salt: Excessive salt intake can cause kidney problems and may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
  • Sugar and Corn Syrups: Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus. Small amounts of honey or molasses are okay (but not for dogs with cancer.)
  • Tobacco: Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
  • Tomato Plants: Can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias.
  • Yeast dough: Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
  • Xylitol Sweetened Products: Even a small amount can cause liver failure and death.

Because your dog’s, weight, age, and health will impact how any of these substances affect your dog, don’t take any chances. If your dog has ingested any of these foods, get veterinary help immediately. I also keep the Emergency Vet’s phone number by the phone along with the ASPCA Poison Hotline (888)426-4435