Oh, if we had a dollar for every time we heard a story about the bad things someone accidentally fed to their dog…well, we might not be millionaires, but we might have enough to pay for our web hosting.  But enough of that, to jump right in, the number one culprit is…

Raisins
That’s right, raisins are extremely bad for your dog, and it follows that grapes are bad also.  For some reason, most people don’t realize the serious danger that raisins pose.  Even just a few raisins can cause serious harm.  Ingestion of raisins and grapes can cause severe kidney failure and be life threatening.

Other food items that you must avoid feeding to your dog include:

Chocolate (dark chocolate is the worst)
Alcohol
Coffee & Tea (including grounds and beans)
Macadamia Nuts
Onions/Garlic
Salt

Some other items that you might not intentionally feed to your dog but are equally toxic when ingested include:

Moldy or Spoiled Food
Blue-Green Algae
Your Medications (even in small doses can cause serious problems)
Household Cleaners
Pesticides
Mothballs
Tobacco
Mushrooms
Pot Brownies
Yeast Dough
Any Chemical Products
Certain plants (that list is extensive and deserves its own attention in a separate article)

In general, if you wouldn’t eat it, your dog probably shouldn’t either.

During the winter make sure you purchase Ice Melting products that are labeled safe for animals.  These products are easy to come by and are a must have if you plan to use them anywhere that you pet might be walking.  Safe Pawhappens to have a wooly Airedale on the front page of their website right now, but that’s not the reason we use their product during the winter.  We use it because it works as well as regular ice melting products and is safe for pets.

Keep dangerous foods and substances out of the reach of curious noses.  Also, make sure that your garbage is secure and unreachable by your pet, many garbage eaters end up with intestinal blockages that require surgery even when the ingested item wasn’t necessarily toxic.  Always supervise your pet when they are chewing on treats of any kind.

The type of reaction and severity to ingested items may vary depending on the specific item ingested, however, even a very small amount of some of these substances can cause serious health issues and be life threatening.

If you think your pet has ingested something it shouldn’t have you MUST: 1. Stay calm! 2. Contact your Veterinarian.  Different toxins require different treatments and your Vet is best qualified to assist you.  If at all possible try to identify exactly what your pet has ingested.  If you can, bring it with you to the Vet office (the actual item and the container if available).  If your pet has ingested a toxic substance and is not exhibiting symptoms, it is still important to seek assistance, it might save your dogs life.

Always keep a list of important phone numbers handy including your Veterinarian’s office number and their EMERGENCY number which may be different.  The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at (888) 426-4435 (there is a $60 consultation fee for using their service).

One common story we hear involves events along the lines of the pet acting sick, getting better for a day or two, then appearing sick again.  This may repeat for quite some time before a cause is found.  The cause is usually the pet chewing on or eating some toxic substance until they feel ill.  The pet stops chewing on or eating the substance for a couple days because it simply doesn’t feel well.  When the pet starts feeling better it returns to chewing on the toxic substance.  If this sounds familiar, consider that you might be feeding your pet a toxic substance or the pet may have access to something they shouldn’t.  Always consult your Veterinarian.

*This is NOT a comprehensive list of items you should avoid feeding your dog, for further items try typing “What not to feed your dog” into a Internet search engine or talking to your Vet.