August 18, 2015 | Posted in Doctor Sigmund Furry Series

A-Moveable-FeastDear Dr. Furry,

What table scraps can I feed to my dog?

Louella, San Francisco, CA


Dear Louella,

Even though you’ve made a delicious meal and it tastes good to you and your family, chances are that it can harm your dog. In fact, some human foods can make your pets very sick or may even cause death.

In general, pets should never be fed human food, unless approved by your vet.

Here are some of the most harmful human food items for a dog:

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in candy, mints, chewing gum, toothpaste and mouthwash. It prompts a sudden release of insulin in the body, producing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It can cause liver damage in dogs. Within 30 minutes of ingesting it, a dog may vomit, be lethargic or seem uncoordinated in its movements. Some signs of toxicity may not show for hours or even days. If untreated, it can be fatal.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine are some of the worst things for dogs to eat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that is toxic to dogs and caffeine, normally present in coffee, tea and certain soft drinks. Chocolate toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors and seizures. If untreated, death can occur within 24 hours.

Grapes and Raisins can cause acute kidney failure in both cats and dogs. Clinical signs of toxicity within 24 hours include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, which can lead to the eventual shutdown of kidney function.

Avocados (including tree leaves, pits, fruit and plant bark) are toxic to dogs and cats. Signs of ingestion include vomiting and diarrhea.

Garlic and Onions, while tasty and savory to us, contain chemicals that damage the red blood cells of dogs (and cats), causing them to rupture or lose their oxygen-carrying ability. Cooking these ingredients does not reduce their potential toxicity.

Macadamia Nuts (especially those covered in chocolate) can cause clinical signs of toxicity in dogs, including weakness, vomiting, tremors, join pain and pale gums. These signs usually appear within 12 hours.

The best thing you can do is keep the yummy ingredients confined to human food, intended for human consumption! As a general safety rule, keep ALL food ingredients wrapped, sealed, covered and stored in places your pets cannot access.

~ Dr. Sigmund Furry