- Dogs will eat anything and everything. Be aware of the foods that could cause serious problems
- The British Veterinary Association states the most commonly reported cases of toxic ingestion for dogs last year was chocolate poisoning (seen by 69% of vets)
- If your dog gets his paws on any of these toxic foods, expect a hefty vet bill
One of the ways we reward our dogs when they've been good is to treat them with food. Watch out - what we consider a treat can be extremely dangerous for dogs. To keep your dog from needing a trip to the emergency vet, here are seven foods to avoid giving them.
I know, it's hard to imagine how something so delicious could ever be harmful. But as all good dog owners know, chocolate can be extremely poisonous for dogs. That's because it contains naturally-occurring chemicals – caffeine and theobromine. Dogs who have eaten chocolate can suffer from vomiting, heart palpitations, tremors, seizures and even death. Save your dog a trip to the vets and keep chocolate out of your pooch's reach.
2. Onion and garlic
You'd never think that the humble onion could upset your dog's digestion so much. Or that an accidentally gulped bulb of garlic could lead to red blood cell damage. Avoid giving your dog onions and garlic – even if it's just a small amount amongst other table scraps. Interestingly, cats are more susceptible to getting ill from eating onions but dogs are also at risk if they've scoffed a lot.
A delicious tub of fresh guacamole, or thick slices of gooey avocado on a salad is such a treat for us humans – but can be extremely bad for dogs. Avocados contain a toxin called persin, which can cause upset stomachs, breathing difficulties or even fluid build-up in your dog's chest. Even more dangerous is the slippery stone in the middle. If your dog accidentally swallows that, it can get stuck in their throat or stomach, meaning an emergency trip to the doggy hospital.
4. Grapes and raisins
The most poisonous fruit your dog can eat are grapes and raisins. Many dogs get badly ill after eating these, suffering from vomiting, dehydration, diarrhoea and even rapid kidney failure.
5. Corn on the cob
"But my dog eats sweetcorn all the time – and he's fine." Corn on the cob may seem like a delicious and healthy treat for both humans and dogs – but our canine pals can't easily digest sweetcorn. If they swallow the cob too, it can get trapped in their digestive system, leading to intestinal blockage and abdominal pain.
6. Macademia nuts
Much like grapes and raisins, these nuts are a no-no for your dog. Scientists don't know what toxins are in this popular human treat that affect dogs so badly. You'll know if your dog has sneakily eaten macadamia nuts; he may become weak and have trouble walking, get tremors or even hypothermia.
7. Chewing gum
This seems like a no brainer – although sometimes our dog's breath is so bad that it might be very tempting to give him gum. Sugar-free chewing gum (in fact, any food containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener) is highly toxic for dogs. Even a small amount can lead to lethargy, vomiting, seizures and liver problems. Keep sugar-free foods well out of your dog's reach. If you want to freshen his breath, try giving him a carrot instead.
And what about that one food that your dog can eat but shouldn't?
Bones! You'd think that giving your dog the leftover bones from your Sunday roast would be a delicious treat. Your dog would certainly agree.
Unfortunately for Rover, bones can often lead to an emergency trip to the vets. Roasting meat makes the bones inside more brittle, meaning they're likely splinter when your dog starts to chew on them.
Dogs can break their teeth on tougher bones and shards of bone can get stuck in their mouth, throat, stomach and intestines. In the worst cases, this can be life threatening and may need emergency surgery to remove.
So, sorry boy – bones are off the menu.
What to do if your dog has eaten one of these forbidden foods.
If your dog becomes poorly after accidentally eating any of these foods, take him straight to your vet. The vet can induce vomiting, put your pooch on a drip and do everything they can to make him feel better.
Vet bills can be extremely expensive – especially if your dog needs surgery. It's worth making sure your canine companion has decent pet insurance in case you ever need to make a claim.