20 Things Your Dog Shouldn’t Eat

Most dogs are natural-born eating machines. Puppies, in particular, are inclined to sample the world with their mouths, much like a two-year-old human toddler. What are the most common things that Sparky shouldn’t eat… but might really, really want to?

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"People" Food and Other Kitchen Hazards

Grapes, raisins, chocolate, artificial food sweeteners containing Xylitol, and macadamia nuts are all considered toxic to dogs.   

It is generally considered safe to feed raw bones to most dogs but avoid cooked bones. They can splinter easily and become lodged in the throat or obstruct the digestive tract, both of which may require surgery to remove. 

Containers of garbage (organic or otherwise) provide an eclectic mix of anything from rancid meat and curdled milk to discarded elastic bands and broken glass. To you, it's garbage. To Sparky, it's a smorgasbord of delights to be chewed up and swallowed. Keep all garbage containers safely sealed.     

Many popular household cleaning products contain ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, glycol ether, and formaldehyde. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, anemia, and liver and kidney damage when ingested or, in some cases, inhaled. Check ingredients carefully and keep these products stored in a secure location where your dog can't possibly reach. Consider replacing them with "natural" alternatives if possible.     

Other household toxins
Antifreeze, commonly used in winter for vehicles, is very sweet-tasting to animals but can deadly if ingested even in tiny amounts. Insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides (bait to kill mice and other rodents), and even some popular fertilizers and other lawn treatments can also be toxic to dogs. Read labels carefully, keep containers tightly sealed, and store all of these products in a safe place.

Plants - outside and inside the home
Many plants can be dangerous to a dog's health. Lillies, tulip bulbs, azalea, poinsettia, and chrysanthemum are just a few popular types that can be toxic to a dog. For a list of plants that your dog shouldn't eat, check out 17 Common Posionours Plants by ASPCA.

 

If a favoured plant is on this list and you simply can't give it up, place it in a location that is inaccessible to your dog such as atop a tall cabinet or in a hanger. 

Medicine cabinet
Over-the-counter or prescription medication, human or veterinary, can wreak havoc if they fall into the wrong paws and ingested without doctor's orders.

Avoid overdosing your dog with any veterinary medication by reading the label carefully and asking your veterinarian for clarification if necessary. Pay special attention to any meds - human or animal - that are flavoured for palatability as these can be particularly difficult for a dog to resist. Keep all medication stored far, far away from Sparky's reach.

Things that defy categorization
Shoes, socks, remote controls, plastic bags, kitty litter... all of these things, and many more, can create digestive tract obstructions.

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Uh-oh... What to Do if Sparky Has Eaten Something He Shouldn't?

Call a veterinarian immediately for instructions, and get ready for an emergency dash to the clinic. If possible, take along a sample of the ingested item or its packaging, even if it's in bits 'n' pieces and scattered across the floor.  

What can you do to prevent that dash to the clinic?
(1) Keep all hazardous products in cupboards with child-proof locks or install baby gates to block Sparky's access from areas that contain these items. Yes, just as if you had a human toddler in the house! 

(2) "Drop it!" is an obedience command that is just as important as sit, stay, or heel. When your dog mouths something he shouldn't, say "Drop it!" When he complies, give him lots of praise and present him with a chewy toy as the correct alternative to his first object of desire. When he takes the toy, give him more praise. Teach him that good things happen when he obeys your command.

"Drop it" are two simple words that could be a life-saver.