When it comes to feeding our dogs, there are a number of sources, blogs, and opinions about what is best for your pup. To avoid the information getting lost in translation, I will debunk a few food myths while helping you steer away from foods that are toxic for dogs.
First and foremost, "toxic" foods do not necessarily mean that those foods will be lethal to your dog, but the symptoms can range anywhere from mild discomfort to severe poisoning. The amount that your dog ingests is also a huge factor contributing to the toxic effects it will have on your dog.
Three Red flag foods
Let’s focus first on the human food that dogs should avoid to prevent the deadliest consequences. Chocolate and Xylitol are the two of the most important foods to avoid, but certain fruits can also be dangerous.
1. Chocolate has an ingredient called theobromine in it that affects the heart, leads to increased heart rates and arrhythmias, and can result in cardiac arrest and/or a fatality.
2. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that, in very small doses, causes deadly low blood sugar in dogs and liver failure.
3. Grapes (and dried grapes or raisins) are another big no-no to avoid with dogs, since ingestion of the fruit can cause sudden kidney failure and lead to the dog’s death.
High-fat Foods = Tummy Troubles Ahead
You may crave those delicious high-fat foods, but they can make your dog pretty sick! Before letting fido finish your fries, you should be aware of the consequences that can range from serious gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea and vomiting, to death.
Other specific food questions
Greek Yogurt: What about trendy human foods? People have asked if Greek yogurt is safe for dogs? Yes, I’ve seen many dog parents that put 2-3 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt on their dog’s food. Greek yogurt is full of good probiotics and is healthy for dogs to eat. But if your dog has issues with any lactose products, Greek yogurt may upset their stomach. But in most cases, dogs can eat a small amount of Greek yogurt mixed into their dog food.
Potatoes: I get asked about feeding potatoes to pups and if raw potatoes are toxic for dogs. In short, raw potatoes are not good for dogs. Why not?
Raw potatoes contain toxins such as solanine and chaconine which are compounds that are toxic to dogs. Solanine is a cholinesterase inhibitor that prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Chaconine is a compound that causes irritation to the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. These two toxins also affect the way the body’s organs metabolize things and lead to a buildup of even more toxins in the dog’s body.