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There are a number of commonly eaten foods lying around the house which are not good for our pets, and yet still get given as treats - so let's look at a few of them, and we'll start with the most common substance given in error as a treat.

Celebrations are often a time when there's food left lying around, so where's the danger in that slice of two of celebration cake, half empy cups of tea or coffee lying around, and of course the odd Belgian chocolate or two just left within reach?


Please note that we're talking about human grade chocolate here, not the choccy drops made specifically for dogs!

Theobromine is found in chocolate, cocoa beans, cocoa bean hulls (landscape bedding), cola, and tea. Milk chocolate contains 58 mg/oz. and unsweetened baking chocolate contains 390 mg/oz.

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, and human stimulants.

Theophylline is found in tea and human and veterinary preparations.

Caffeine and theobromine have an effect on animals similar to that on people. They increase the breathing and heart rate, sometimes causing irregular beating of the heart. They cause restlessness because of the changes of calcium and energy sources at the cellular level. Caffeine also directly stimulates the myocardium and central nervous system.

Toxic Dose
Mild symptoms occur with the ingestion of 45 mg per pound of body weight of either caffeine or theobromine. Severe signs occur around 20 mg/lb and seizures and possible death can occur after ingestion of 27 mg of theobromine or caffeine per pound of body weight. Since milk chocolate contains 58 mg/oz of theobromine, this means a dose of less than 1 oz of milk chocolate per pound of body weight could potentially cause death. Usually the more bitter the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine.

Common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, bloating, increased drinking, hyperactivity, restlessness, ataxia, muscle tremors, increased or decreased heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, and increased body temperature. Signs usually occur 6-12 hours after ingestion. Seizures, coma, or death may occur. Less frequent symptoms include abdominal pain and blood in the urine.

Let's briefly look at a few others, some of which are potentially more serious than others.

Foodstuff Problems it might cause
Alcoholic drinks can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, poor breathing, abnormal blood acidity, coma and death, just like in humans. The difference is that dogs are much smaller and are more susceptible to intoxication.
Avocado the substance Persin can cause vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes heart congestion..
Baby food Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Cat food Generally too high in protein and fats.
Corn on the cob one of the most common ways a dog can get a blocked intestine. The dog bites of a piece of the cob one inch long and swallows it. The corn is digested off the cob in the tummy and the cob is left to block the small intestine and feels like a brillo pad trying to scrape it's way down the digestive track. This is seen in vet offices often and can kill the dog if not removed surgically.
Grapes and raisins Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract..
Human vitamin supplements containing iron Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
Large amounts of liver Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones
Macadamia nuts Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
Milk and other dairy products owing to the lack of lactase, consumption may lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea and other digestive upsets.
Mouldy or spoiled food Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs..
Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) Onions, garlic and chives in all forms (dry, raw, cooked) contain thiosulphate, which can irritate the gastrointestinal system of your dog. A relatively high dosage (600-800 grams) in one meal or spread apart over a few days can damage red blood cells (haemolytic anaemia) Garlic is less toxic than onions.
Pits from peaches and plums Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract..
Raw eggs Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella..
Raw fish Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.
Salt If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
Sugary foods Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus
Sweeteners (Xylitol) this can lead to liver failure through the over-release of insulin, vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. It does not take long to see signs of nearing liver failure - only a few days. Be very careful as this substance in a wide range of products, such as candy, chewing gum, toothpaste and baked goods.
Yeast dough Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

source: pet education.com, Wikipedia

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