Dangerous Foods for Dogs

While out dog training in Los Angeles I came across a very nice couple starting out in the pet food business.  They were very pleasant and eagerly passing out pamphlets of their new venture espousing the virtues of gourmet food for dogs.  Their pamphlet looked professional, shiny, pretty, well put together and had a few of their different prepared foods on the back with the ingredients listed.  They were selling meals fit for humans made with premium ingredients, but they were making these meals to be consumed by dogs without considering the balanced and complete nutritional profile for canines, life stages, sex, breed, or what spices, minerals and ingredients were harmful or deadly for dogs.

When I inquired whether there food was rated by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) they weren’t familiar with AAFCO and were doubtful for a reason to be sanctioned by them or anyone. I thought that was rather odd being that their business was in selling dog food.  Nonetheless I returned home where I had the chance to further examine some of their special gourmet prepared dog food.  While these dishes all sounded very nice and tempting to eat for human consumption, I would not feed any of this to my dog!  Some of the harmful ingredients I noticed were garlic and onions which are dangerous for dogs to eat.  The meals were also heavily spiced which is also not good/dangerous for dogs to eat. These meals were made according to a human’s pallet and digestive system and not a dog’s. These harmful ingredients were in several of their gourmet dishes made for consumption by dogs. I was completely dismayed by the ignorance displayed and that these nice people didn’t do the most basic research into what is healthy and not healthy (and in some cases deadly) for dogs, before starting their dog food business.

I then wondered to myself whether or not other people were also confused or unclear about which foods are not good for dogs.  By “not good” I am referring to varying degrees of health. From the benign and neutral end of the spectrum, foods that may have little to no nutritional value to the downright dangerous dog foods that may cause a dog to get sick, or even die.

Ancestral Diet or Not?

To quell some of the proponents for ancestral, raw food diets and all of the other quirky diets that people think are good for their dogs here is some food for fodder (pun intended :)).  Just because dogs are believed to be descendants from wolves tens of thousands of years ago, doesn’t mean their diets are the same or can nutritionally digest the same types of enzymes, organisms and substances. We share nearly identical DNA from Chimpanzees but do not share the same diet. Dogs are domesticated for a reason and although they love to scavenge and forage it doesn’t mean what they find to ingest will be healthy for them. In addition the AVMA, American Veterinarian Medical Association also condemns raw diets.

List of Harmful Foods for Dogs to Eat:

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate, white, dark, powdered, all kinds
  • Raw baked potatoes (cooked are fine)
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, tea or other caffeine sources
  • Milk, ice cream and dairy products
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Nutmeg
  • Almonds
  • Apricots
  • Green parts of Tomatoes (leaves, stems)
  • Tomatoes
  • Rhubarb plant
  • Candy or gum
  • Nothing sweetened with xylitol
  • Fat trimmings from bones
  • Bones, they splinter and cause lacerations in your dog’s digestive system
  • Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums
  • Raw eggs (ecoli and salmonella) and the enzyme in raw eggs that interferes with the B vitamin
  • Lunch meats or cold cuts contain way too much salt and nitrates which can lead to digestive and kidney problems. Store bought cold cuts are bad foods for dogs
  • Hops which are used to make beer as well as other foods are very toxic to dogs causing heavy panting, increased heart rate, fever, seizures and death
  • Raw meat and fish (just as with humans, eating raw foods causes bacteria poisoning that can be fatal)
  • Salt
  • Sugary foods and drinks (obesity and dental problems)
  • Mushrooms
  • Citrus Fruits including oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, etc.
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Apples are fine but the seeds, cores and stems are not
  • Yeast/ dough
  • Human medicine
  • Baking soda and baking powder
  • Stay away from fatty and seasoned foods

spices bad for a dog

Toxic Plants for Dogs to Eat:

  • Wild Cherry
  • Azaleas
  • Mushrooms and toadstools
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Mistletoe
  • Lilies
  • Tulip and Narcissus bulbs
  • Rhododendrons
  • Tomato and potato leaves and stem
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach

Homemade dog food can be great for your dogs health and well-being and much more healthy than store bought extruded or wet dog food if you take into consideration your dogs biological nutritional needs from a board certified professional veterinarian or canine nutritionist. However, please do not assume because it is healthy for a person or is what you love, it’s the same for your dog. That is a recipe for disaster and could be deadly. If you accidentally feed something to your dog that you shouldn’t have or your dog has gone counter surfing please have a look at our resources page where there are emergency pet poisoning numbers and many other resources for your pet’s health.

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