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What NOT to Feed Your Dog - Part II

The is the second half of our blog entries on What NOT to Feed FidoPart I covers Xylitol, Avocado, Alcohol and Onions. Chocolate has it's own entry.

Caffeine is naturally produced in coffee and cocoa plants. It functions as a mild pesticide. Pound for pound both cats and dogs are more sensitive to caffeine's effects than humans.

Found in:

Coffee, tea, coffee grounds, tea bags, energy drinks, some OTC medications, human supplements {including some weightlifter specific supplements}, and chocolate products. Dogs which scavenge garbage cans {bad dog!} are the ones most likely to come across and eat coffee grounds or tea bags so don't dismiss these as potential problems. Be careful about dropped supplement pills and all dropped medications.

Effects on dogs:

A few laps of coffee or tea will usually not be a problem. However, a single caffeine pill {NoDoze or similar} is enough to kill a small dog. Effects may take a few hours to show up. Watch for hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, an elevated heart rate, tremors, hypothermia (elevated body temperature), and seizures.

Grapes, raisins (dried grapes) and currants are fruit from plants of the Vitis family. While the toxicity of grapes for dogs is well documented, the problem substance is still not identified. There also appears to be no significant variation in toxicity between different varieties of grapes. Finally, the toxic agent appears not to be effected by any preparation process.

Found in:

The usual fresh and dried fruit. Dried fruit can be added to trail mix, baked goods and cereal. Fresh fruit can be added to salads, side dishes and deserts.

Effects on dogs:

Since the toxic agent is still not identified, it's difficult to determine what amount is toxic. What is known is that different dogs are much more sensitive than others and the their sensitivity is apparently random between dogs. While an individual dog may show no problem to a few raisins or grapes, others can show a severe reaction including death. Watch for vomiting {usually within 24 hours of ingestion}, lack of appetite, lethargy and possible diarrhea. More severe symptoms can show up in the next 24-48 hours. Kidney failure often starts before the more severe symptoms show up.

Milk and dairy products from cows and other ruminants. Cow milk in any form is not essential for your dog's health and well being. Dogs can be both lactose intolerant {unable to digest lactose} and lactose allergic. While your dog may be OK with dairy products today, they can develop lactose intolerance or a food allergy at any future time. Note that lactose free products often contain soy. Soy is also one of the more common triggers for food allergies in dogs and should be avoided.

Found in:

Various beverage formulation such as skim, whole, 1%, 2% or flavored milk, cheese, yogurt or similar. A common ingredient in many recipes, especially baked goods.

Effects on dogs:

Look for vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence and skin rashes. Lactose intolerance can start as young as 3 months. Because of the unpredictability of individual puppies, giving cows milk to puppies is never recommended.

Macadamia nuts are from Macadamia trees native to Australia. Interestingly enough, dogs are the only species so far reported to have an intolerance to macadamia nuts.

Found in:

Snacks, cookies, chocolate candies, some backed goods.

Effects on dogs:

While considered non-fatal, you should still look for vomiting, weakness, tremors, fever and depression. Six nuts are enough to make most dogs quite sick.

Peaches, plums and persimmons are the fruit of their respective trees. The problem with these are the pits {seeds}. The pits of peaches and plums also contain cyanide which is poisonous. Since these seeds are usually discarded, they’re really only a problem for dogs which scavenge.

Effects on dogs:

Look for all the symptoms associated with constipation. These seeds can block the small intestine and subsequently lead to very serious problems requiring surgery to correct


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