As pet owners, we all have experienced it; you are in the kitchen preparing an amazing meal and your pups are watching you intently, hoping you are going to drop something soon, or maybe even share a little with them! And in my household, it’s not just the dogs begging, the sound of whipped cream coming out of the spray-can will send my cat running for me and protesting for some! But wait, not all foods we eat are healthy for pets.  Here are a few foods that should NOT be fed to your pets, and great alternatives instead:

Unsafe: Grapes: even a small amount of grapes can cause kidney failure in pets.  It is unknown as to what exactly is in this great fruit that is toxic to pets, but research has shown that dogs ingesting even small quantities of this fruit have been harmful.   Instead of grapes, feed apples or bananas (in small quantities) to your pup. If you choose to share an apple with your pup, make sure you do not feed them the core or seeds from the apple as these contain amounts of arsenic.

Unsafe: Nuts such as pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds can be harmful to your pets. Pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts can cause bad side affects to your dog such as vomiting, drunkenness, hind limb weakness, abdominal pain, or even pancreatitis, which usually requires intense hospitalization and treatment. Almost all nuts contain a higher fat content, which can cause digestive issues for your pup. Almonds are not necessarily toxic to your pup however if not chewed thoroughly they can tear the lining of the esophagus or get caught in the throat of a smaller dog.  A safe alternative to feeding nuts as a treat would be giving your dog some unsalted popcorn (no flavorings added). As with any treat, the key is moderation!

Unsafe: Onion and Garlic of any kind! Onions, leeks, and Chives are all part of a plant family called Allium, which is toxic to dogs and cats.  Eating onions and garlic can cause your pup’s red blood cells to rupture. A good alternative to onions or garlic would be broccoli or green beans. Other yummy veggies that are dog safe are celery, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, and peas.  It is not a good idea to feed your pup any canned vegetables as they may contain too much sodium or other preservatives your dog might not be able to handle eating.

Unsafe: Yeast and Alcoholic products of any kind. Eating yeast, or raw dough, can be harmful to dogs as the dough can expand in their stomach and the alcohols from the yeast can be absorbed into the bloodstram and cause alcohol poisoning.  Products containing large amounts of alcohol such as wine or liquors can cause your pet to experience similar signs to us humans when we have had one too many, however their tolerance is a lot less and it could cause severe respiratory or cardiac issues.  Safe alternatives to Yeast and alcoholic products would be, silly enough, “beer for dogs”!  There are actually several “dog beers” popping up all over the place so your dog can indulge in a beer with you, safely!

Unsafe: Products containing xylitol, such as sugar free gum and even some brands of peanut butter! Xylitol is an artificial sweetener known to cause vomiting, lethargy, drunkenness, and even liver damage to pets. Check any food items containing artificial sweeteners to ensure that Xylitol isn’t listed as an ingredient. If your like me and love to treat your pets to a lick of peanut butter, try dog-safe peanut butter instead! There are many different brands of “dog peanut butter” at pet stores. 

Unsafe: Chocolate!  Believe it or not, chocolate is not safe for your pup. Chocolate can cause mild symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, but can also cause your pet to have a very high heart rate, and even seizures! Safe alternatives to this sweet treat would be using Carob, which is naturally sweet and has a chocolate like aroma.

Bottom line is, If you are unsure if your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, check with your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information. My special thanks to the ASPCA Pet Poison website and the AKC website for providing information for this post!

Happy Snacking with your pets!

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