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Human Food, Dog Poison

from PLC Insurance

by Michelle Ferris on Jul 28, 2015

At PLC Insurance, we love our four-legged family members. Many of us here own dogs, cats, and other types of pets, too. As such, we think it’s important that you know what common human foods are dangerous to our canine friends.

Not all foods or household items are dog-friendly. In fact, some are poisonous and even deadly. Just like their two-legged counterparts, there are many poisons in food and surroundings that dogs need to avoid.

Bacteria:  Common food poisoning bacteria, as salmonella, e. coli and yersinia, affect dogs as well as humans. Use the rule that if you don’t want it served to you, don’t serve it to your dog. Homemade foods, especially meat components, should be properly cooked to prevent food-borne illness. Storage and cooking removes vitamins and minerals, so supplements when appropriate should be added prior to feeding. If untreated, symptoms can last up to 3 days and be fatal!

Chocolate:  The younger the dog, the more dangerous is the risk of chocolate poisoning. Cooking chocolate is the most dangerous for dogs. Two different toxins called methyxanthines are in chocolate: caffeine and alkaloid theobromine (lesser known and more dangerous). Ingesting chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, muscle tremors, excessive thirst with frequent urination. The dog can become agitated and start pacing. More dangerous symptoms can develop including elevated/irregular heart rate, blood pressure changes and seizures.

Alliums (Garlic, Onion):  You might wish to treat your dog to a family leftover, not thinking about the ingredients. Onions and garlic contain substances called disulphides that can poison your dog. Disulphides damage the surface of red blood cells, causing them to burst. The result is a disease called Heinz body anemia. The dog becomes weak and breathless, and may require a blood transfusion for recovery. The red pigment in urine (hemoglobinuria) is easily confused with urinary tract problems.

Mushrooms:  Poisons in different mushrooms can have a variety of results for your dog: kidney and liver failure (with abdominal pain), delirium, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, coma, possibly death. Symptoms can begin 20 minutes to 8 hours after ingestion. Pay attention when walking your dog in grassy or forested areas!

Grapes:  Grapes can be a fatal poison for your dog. Dogs everywhere love grapes, but in 1989, the ASPCA reported an emerging trend – nearly all dogs that consumed grapes or raisins developed kidney failure. When medical care was sought, elevated levels of blood calcium, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and phosphorous were observed. These chemicals reflect kidney function. If urine production is halted, grapes can be a fatal poison for your dog. Treatment can be successful with immediate medical intervention – call your vet! 

Bones:  Whether bones are good or poisonous for dogs is hotly-debated. Cooked bones become dry and brittle, absorb water from the dog’s gut, and cause constipation and intestinal blockage. Raw bones can splinter (especially poultry!) and perforate the gut, usually requiring surgery to repair. Bone fragments can also lodge in the mouth or throat, causing discomfort, mouth roof punctures, dental damage, and choking at worst. Raw bones can be poisonous to your dog if contaminated by bacteria. Overindulging in bone marrow, which is mostly fat, can result in pancreatitis in susceptible dogs.


Other Potentially Harmful Foods for your Dog

  • Pear pits, kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pits (contains cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide poisoning)
  • Potato peelings and green looking potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Moldy/spoiled foods
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee grounds, beans and tea (caffeine)
  • Hops (used in home brewing)
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Broccoli in large amounts
  • Turkey skin


Other Doggie Dangers

Fluids and Outdoor Supplies:  Antifreeze, that collects on road surfaces and driveways, smells and tastes good to your dog but is poisonous and very lethal. Other very accessible outdoor poisons to avoid for your dog are:

  • charcoal lighter fluid
  • gasoline
  • kerosene
  • lead
  • lime
  • paint thinner
  • cleaning fluids
  • rodent poison
  • turpentine
  • cocoa mulch


Household Poisons:  Among many of the things to keep out of reach of your four-legged friends are:

  • cigarettes/tobacco/cigars
  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • caffeine pills
  • acetone
  • ammonia
  • bleach
  • deodorants
  • furniture polish
  • fly strips
  • insecticides
  • mothballs
  • rubbing alcohol
  • soap


Hazardous Plants: Many plants are poisonous to dogs. Make sure you either don’t grow them, or keepan eye on your dog when they are near these plants:

  • amaryllis
  • azalea bush
  • boxwood
  • cactus
  • columbine
  • daffodil flower bud
  • dumbcane
  • English ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Hemlock
  • Honeysuckle
  • horse chestnut
  • ivy
  • lily of the valley
  • lupine
  • mistletoe
  • morning glory
  • oleander
  • philodendron
  • poinsettia
  • rhubarb
  • skunk cabbage
  • tulip bulb
  • yew


If your pet accidentally ingests any food, plant or chemical poison, call your veterinarian right away. To learn more about poisons for pets, visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control

© 2019, PLC Insurance. The reader assumes all responsibilities for his/her own actions in regards to any items discussed in this report. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, federal, state and local, governing the use of any product or service described in this report in the US or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The publisher and author assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of the reader of these materials. The reader is encouraged to consult directly with his/her insurance professional.

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