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Food

The following foods are potentially dangerous to your dog.

Onion and garlic poisoning

Onions and garlic are dangerous food ingredients that cause sickness in dogs, cats and livestock. The food contains a toxic ingredient called thiosulphate. Poisoning can occur a few days after the onion is eaten. All forms of onions can cause health problems.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop a condition that causes the red blood cells to burst.

Symptoms of poisoning are:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dullness and weakness
  • Red pigment in the urine
  • Breathlessness

Forms of onion:

  • Dehydrated onions
  • Raw onions
  • Cooked onions
  • Table scraps containing cooked onions or garlic, for example left over pizza, chinese dishes, commercial baby food

Onion poisoning can occur with a single ingestion of large quantities or repeated meals containing small amounts of onion.

Macadamia nuts

Dogs can be affected by eating as few as six macadamia nuts, while others as many as 40. Some dogs can also be affected by eating macadamia butter.

Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles and weakness or paralysis of the hind quarters. Usually dogs are unable to rise, are distressed, and panting. Some dogs may have swollen limbs and show pain when limbs are manipulated. Muscle weakness is painful to the dog, but has a short duration. They will recover.

Owners should be careful if they have a macadamia tree in the yard. All nuts should be collected and discarded so that the temptation is taken away from the dog.

Chocolate poisoning

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The effect theobromine on the heart is the most dangerous. It will either increase the dog's heart rate or cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible.

When effected by an overdose of chocolate, a dog can become excited and hyperactive. Due to the diuretic effect, it may pass large volumes of urine and become unusually thirsty. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic. These forms of chocolate contain 10 times more theobromine than milk chocolate, so consuming mum's chocolate mud cake or a sneaky lick of the chocolate icing could be disastrous for a dog.

Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous.

Pet owners assume their pet is ok after eating the chocolate if there are no immediate signs of sickness. Symptoms may be present within several hours and death within 24 hours may occur.

Milk

  • Pets older than three months of age do not need milk
  • Many pets are intolerant of the lactose in cow's milk
  • If the pet is intolerant and given milk it will get an upset stomach and possibly diarrhoea and vomiting

If you are tempted to give your pet milk, purchase lactose-free pet milk from a supermarket or pet shop.

Fat

  • Fat is dangerous for pets in excessive doses
  • Fat fed over time can cause obesity and related diseases such as arthritis and diabetes
  • Dogs can develop pancreatitis through eating leftovers from barbecues fat on chops, steaks and marrow from bones
  • Most dogs are admitted to the Vet from boxing day onwards displaying symptoms of pancreatitis

Dogs with pancreatitis can become very sick. Effected pets have no interest in food and will vomit. They are lethargic, dull and often dehydrated.

Raw fish

Tuna and salmon contain a large amount of vitamins B1. If fed to your pet raw over long periods of time they can become quite unwell. Pets can develop seizures, stupor and coma. Death is possible. This condition is easy to prevent by feeding your pet a balanced diet.

Liver

Liver can be fed to pets in moderation. Liver is high in vitamin A. If fed excessively for more than two years it can cause a condition that fuses bones together, usually in the vertebrae.

Other potential food dangers

  • Pear seeds/pips
  • Plum, peach and apricot stones
  • Apple core pips
  • Potato skin
  • Green potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Mouldy/spoilt foods
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee grounds, beans and tea
  • Hops
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Broccoli in large amounts
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Cigarettes, tobacco and cigars