Most dog owners are very conscious about monitoring what types of food their dog is eating. If you have a dog that is kept indoors or in a fenced yard this task can be much easier than if you have a farm dog or a dog that is often in and out of boarding kennels or other situations where they may have access to different types of foods. Knowing what foods your dog should eat is definitely important, but knowing what type of food you definitely need to avoid can be just as critical.
1. Chocolate Most dog owners understand not to feed chocolate to their dog but they may not understand just want the dangers are. Chocolate has several ingredients that can be harmful and even fatal to a dog depending on the amount and type of chocolate that the dog ingests. The most problematic ingredient is theobromine, which is a diuretic and metabolic stimulant that alters the chemistry in the central nervous system. Dogs that have eaten chocolate will often show signs of vomiting, racing heart rate, frequent urination and straining, muscle tremors, pacing and restlessness. Depending on the size of the dog even a small amount of any type of chocolate can be a problem, particularly if any other metabolic problems or cardiovascular issues are present. Overall the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains, so be particularly careful with any type of baking chocolate.
2. Onions and Garlic Both onions and garlic are found in a lot of table scraps which is one reason why they are not recommended for any type of supplement to a good high quality dog food or raw food diet. Onions and garlic both contain chemicals known as sulfoxides and disulfides that actually damage existing red blood cells and limit the production of healthy new red blood cells. When this happens oxygen is not correctly carried to all the cells of the body and the dog will suffer from a condition known as anemia. If other health conditions are present this can be fatal, but it doesn't develop immediately and may take months to be diagnosed. Typically any type of anemia will take a long period of time to develop, often only after months of eating harmful foods.
3. Artificial Sweeteners No artificial sweetener is good for your dog but anything with xylitol is extremely deadly. Even one candy can cause a huge drop in blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include vomiting, muscle weakness and even a coma and then death. With a high dose, which may just be a piece or two for a small dog, it can also trigger liver failure and death within a short period of time.
4. Sweet Treats No matter how longingly your dog looks at that cupcake, cookie or piece of candy it is important to just say no. Even small amounts of refined sugar in a dog's diet can lead to the development of diabetes mellitus. Undiagnosed and untreated this can cause weight problems and rapid weight loss as well as potential digestive problems, urinary problems, cataracts and coma followed by death if not treated.
5. Salty Foods Salt or any type of salty food including potato chips, pretzels or other snack foods is deadly for your dog. Not only are these foods full of simple carbohydrates and high levels of unhealthy fats but the salt will be quickly absorbed into the dog's system and can result in electrolyte imbalances.