What a dog eats depends on what its owner provides and what it can scavenge. Dog food is the ideal chow for any canine, but sometimes table food is given to them by their human companions. It’s important to know that there are hidden dangers in some human table food for dogs. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Chocolate. Any type of chocolate is potentially dangerous to dogs. They contain caffeine and theobromine. These chemicals affect the heart and nervous system of dogs. Chocolates can cause vomiting, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea, restlessness, seizures or death. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are more potent poisons than less concentrated chocolates like milk chocolate.
  • Caffeine. Coffee, tea and some sodas contain caffeine. While it’s unimaginable for somebody to give their dog any of these, a dog might stumble upon an unattended cup and start licking on it. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause heart palpitations and seizures to dogs.
  • Grapes and raisins. Dog treats should not include any of these because they contain a toxin that can cause damage to the kidneys. Large quantities can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure.
  • Onions and garlic. Canine consumption of these bulby plants can cause damage to red blood cells and lead to hemolytic anemia. A small quantity in leftover food is safe but regular meals containing onion can be harmful, much more if it is eaten by itself. Garlic poses a similar threat but will only be harmful when a large amount is consumed. When preparing dog food, avoid all variations of onions and garlic (raw, cooked, leaves, powdered or dehydrated). Also be wary of packaged food that may contain onion, especially onion powder, such as baby food.
  • Bones. Dogs and bones do not always go well together. Brittle bones like fish, cut meats and chicken leg bones can break into sharp pieces when chewed on by a dog. These small pieces can choke or puncture the digestive tract. If you are to give your dog a bone, stick to big pork bones or smaller ones like chicken neck bones.
  • Fatty and oily food. Fat trimmings, fried dishes, some dairy products and other greasy food are not good for dogs, especially the small ones. Too much of it can cause pancreatitis, the symptoms of which include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • Raw eggs. When baking, keep raw eggs or bowls mixed with this out of your dog’s reach. This may contain salmonella or other harmful bacteria. Raw eggs also cause skin and hair coat problems because it contains avidin – a protein that depletes biotin, a B-vitamin responsible for their growth and coat health. Aside from hair loss, it can also cause weakness, hindered growth or skeleton deformity.
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts. Watch out for these when giving your dog a treat. Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that may affect different systems in the body. Reported symptoms include rise in temperature, faster heartbeat, tremors, and weakness to paralysis of the hindquarters. Walnuts may contain a fungus poisonous to dogs. It may lead to death in severe cases.
  • Fruit pits or seeds. Aside from the possibility of choking, dogs should not be chewing on fruit pits because some may contain the poison cyanide such as apple seeds, apricot, cherry, peach, pear and plum pits. Occasional serving is okay, though.
  • Sugary food. Just like in humans, excessive sugar can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. Be wary of sugar free alternatives, too. Sugarless candies with Xylitol may cause liver damage and even death to some dogs. Xylitol can also be found on some toothpaste.

Your pet dog’s health is just as important as any other family member. It’s easy to get carried away by your dog’s begging look. In case of emergency you may contact the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) at 1-888-426-4435 or go to the veterinarian.