With the humanization of pets, it is common to think about sharing your food and some with your dog. However, some human foods contain substances that are toxic to animals. These substances can cause gastrointestinal disorders to death, depending on the amount ingested and the body’s sensitivity.
What Makes Food Toxic For Dogs?
Some foods have substances that can cause intoxication or poisoning in dogs, but after all, why can humans eat them and dogs can’t? It happens because we have a different metabolism from dogs, some substances we humans can synthesize, but dogs cannot, so poisoning occurs. Usually, poisoning occurs accidentally, as dog parents are unaware of the harm of some foods. Some studies indicate that 90% of animal poisonings are accidental, as the owners are unaware of some foods’ toxic potential and damage. Therefore, seeking information before introducing food into your furry’s diet is very important. The main substances in foods that make them toxic for dogs are theobromine, caffeine, persin, oxalic acid, n-propyl disulfide, and solanine.
- Theobromine: it is an alkaloid of the methylxanthines family. In short, it is a natural stimulant found in foods similar to caffeine. It has numerous pharmacological effects, mainly action on the central nervous system. When ingested by dogs, it causes cardiac stimulants, vasoconstrictors, diuretic action, brain stimulation, and increased cardiac muscle work, which can result in arrhythmias. When consumed in more significant amounts, theobromine can lead to death.
- Caffeine: like theobromine, it is also an alkaloid of the methylxanthine family and a central nervous system stimulant. When ingested by dogs, effects similar to theobromine ingestion occur like cardiac.
- Persin: is an antifungal component naturally present in avocados. Its ingestion can cause fluid accumulation in vital organs.
- Oxalic acid: naturally present in many foods, in high amounts, it can form calcium oxalate crystals that accumulate in the kidneys, causing kidney damage.
- N-propyl disulfide: is an oxidizing substance that inhibits energy metabolism enzymes. When consumed by dogs, it promotes hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemia (a disease characterized by the destruction of red blood cells caused by the body’s antibodies).
- Solanine: It is a natural toxin present in some foods that serve to ward off insects and parasites. When ingested in large amounts by dogs, they can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and even breathing difficulties.
What Are The Main Toxic Foods For Dogs?
Now that you know what substances make foods toxic, learn about five foods that are toxic for dogs:
- Chocolate: that many people very much appreciate chocolate is not new, but it contains theobromine and caffeine in its composition, and as we have already seen, both substances are toxic to dogs. Theobromine contents vary according to the chocolate category. The more bitter, the greater is theobromine content and, consequently, the greater the toxicity of the food. To exemplify, a dose of 8,8oc of cocoa powder for a 22lb dog can be fatal. The smaller the dog, the lower the tolerated amount of theobromine in the body. In general, side effects depend on the dog’s weight, dosage, and type of chocolate ingested. The toxic doses of theobromine are close to 100 mg/kg, being fatal at close to 200 mg/kg, but it depends on your dog’s metabolism. Usually, this substance’s first clinical signs of poisoning appear within 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. When absorbed by the body, it can remain active for 24 hours. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, excess, and increased frequency of urination.
- Coffee: Our beloved everyday coffee is essential for some people, as it helps to keep the mood during the day. But if you want to start your day right, don’t share coffee with your pet. Clinical signs of coffee poisoning are related to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system. Soon after ingestion, the main symptoms are hyperactivity, vomiting, abdominal pain, panting, and weakness. In more severe cases of intoxication, there is also: a lack of balance and motor coordination, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, convulsions, coma, and until death.
- Onion: Is widely used in world cuisine. For sure, you have a couple of onions in your kitchen. Although very beneficial for us humans, for dogs, it can cause severe damage when ingested, as it contains toxic components that can damage red blood cells and cause hemolytic anemia. Studies show that 15-30g/kg is enough to intoxicate a dog. And attention, all onions can be toxic, even dehydrated, powdered, raw, or cooked. The first clinical sign of onion poisoning is gastroenteritis, inflammation or infection of the stomach lining, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
- Avocado: it is a potentially toxic fruit for dogs, but don’t panic. Only the pit and skin are toxic because they contain a high amount of persin. Clinical signs are directly related to the lung, such as pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, respiratory distress, and death from lack of oxygen to the brain. The avocado pulp is not harmful to our buddies but contains a high amount of fat and can cause pancreatitis, so be very careful when providing it to your dog.
- Potato: the potato belongs to the Solanaceae family and has a toxic component called solanine, but poisoning only occurs in supplying this raw food, especially the skins, where 90% of the poisonous substance is found. Studies indicate that foods containing solanine harm animals with locomotor problems, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and back pain, due to their inflammatory potential, so avoid giving potatoes to your fellow! Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
What To Do In Case Of Poisoning?
First of all, it is essential that you keep calm and take him to the vet immediately if there is an accident with the ingestion of potentially toxic foods. In the MV, the usual protocol for treating food poisoning in dogs is very similar for all the substances. In most cases, gastric lavage, administration of activated charcoal, probiotics, and fluid therapy are indicated. If you have activated charcoal at home, you can use it to prevent the progression of intoxication, but be careful, don’t look for help on the internet, and provide medicine on your own. Call the vet you trust and ask him to help you at this first moment. With the wrong move, you can harm your pet even more. Pay attention to what your pet eats, and always look for information in trustful sources before giving your dog something different to eat, so that you can prevent food poisoning!