7 Lesser-Known Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs
There are many foods that we eat every day that are toxic to dogs. But did you know that some lesser-known foods are also poisonous to dogs? Continue reading to learn about the dangerous foods you might not know about.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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Learn more about poisonous foods in our article, What foods are toxic to dogs?
1. Currants (a.k.a. Zante currants, black Corinth grapes, Champagne grapes):
Many people know that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. What many people don’t realize is that what is labeled as “Zante currants” in the U.S. are actually raisins made from black Corinth grapes from the family Vitis. These are also toxic to dogs.
You may see these in food products such as Irish soda bread and scones. Actual true currants can be black, red, or white and are from a different taxonomical family, Ribes, and are not toxic to dogs.
If you aren’t sure whether your dog ate raisins/grapes or currants, contact a vet immediately. Better safe than sorry! Your vet will likely induce emesis (vomiting) if the fruit has been eaten recently, or run blood work, monitor, and provide supportive care if too much time has passed and the fruit has already been digested.
If the fruit has already been digested, clinical signs you may see in your dog are vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
So, just to review, don’t be confused, REAL CURRANTS ARE NOT TOXIC TO DOGS BUT CERTAIN TYPES OF RAISINS ARE LABELED AS CURRANTS AND CAN CAUSE KIDNEY FAILURE!
For more information on grape and raisin toxicity in dogs, check out our article, here!
2. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Hops is a plant used in the brewing of beer, and with more and more people brewing their own beer at home in the past decade, a rise in hops toxicity in dogs has been seen.
Dogs may eat Hops plugs (the dried bud of the plant) or pre-made pellets (seemingly less toxic than the plugs). Clinical signs of toxicity include a condition called malignant hyperthermia, where the dog’s temperature can go up to 105°F, increased respiratory rate, vomiting, anxiety, tachycardia (increased heart rate), abnormal blood clotting, and death.
If you suspect your dog has eaten even the smallest amount of Hops, contact your vet immediately. The exact mechanism by which Hops causes toxicity to dogs is still unknown. Breeds that are more susceptible to malignant hyperthermia may be at greater risk. These breeds include greyhounds, Labrador retrievers, Saint Bernards, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and northern breeds.
3. Moldy food (mycotoxins)
Never give your pet moldy food or allow them access to it (trash, compost piles, etc.). Some molds can contain what are called “tremorgenic mycotoxins” that can cause vomiting, agitation, ataxia (drunken walk), tremors, seizures, and a high body temperature. In addition, liver failure can occur due to a specific mycotoxin called aflatoxin.
Many of these molds are found on bread, cheese, nuts, pasta, and your backyard compost pile.
Only a small percentage of the thousands of species of mushrooms in the U.S. are toxic. Always assume a mushroom is toxic when found in the wild and never let your dog eat them!
Mushroom identification is extremely complex and cases of “mistaken identity” are easy to make and can be fatal. Most fatal mushroom toxicities in dogs are due to the genus Amanita, Galerina, and Lepiota.
Because mushroom toxicity can affect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, liver, and kidneys, there are a wide variety of clinical signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia (drunken walk), tremors, seizures, aggression, disorientation, hallucination, vomiting, black and tarry stool, and increased thirst and urination.
If you suspect your dog may have ingested any part of a mushroom of unknown species, or known toxic species, contact a vet immediately. Some mushrooms may cause clinical signs of toxicity in as little as 15 minutes, while some may take up to 24 hours. It is vital to decontaminate your pet as soon as possible after ingestion. It’s always helpful to bring a sample of the mushroom if possible to assist in identification and treatment.
For more information on mushroom identification and poisoning in dogs, check out our article, here!
Playdough may seem innocent enough, after all, it’s just made up of flour, oil, food coloring, and salt. However, the extremely high salt content can easily cause salt toxicity in your pet.
Clinical signs of salt toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, ataxia (drunken walk), excessive thirst, and urination. If the toxicity is significant enough, tremors, seizures, coma, and death may occur.
If you have kids in the house, keep the pets away while the kids play (and don’t let your kids eat it, either!)
6. Potatoes (raw/green)
Solanine is a compound found in the Nightshade plant family (Solanaceae), including tomatoes and potatoes. Eating a raw potato or the leaves of the plant is toxic to dogs. Cooking the potato lowers the levels of solanine, thereby making it safer to eat.
Never feed your dog raw potatoes. If you have a compost pile where you dump potato peels, keep it fenced off from pets.
Clinical signs of toxicity include tachycardia (increased heart rate), tachypnea (increased respiratory rate), elevated body temperature, dilated pupils, blindness, muscle twitching, anxiety, confusion, delirium, convulsions, ataxia (drunken gait), urine retention, collapse, paralysis, cardiac arrest, and death.
7. Rhubarb & Star Fruit
Rhubarb and Star Fruit contain soluble calcium oxalate crystals (just like some Lilies). These oxalates exist in all parts of both plants. However, in rhubarb, the concentration is higher in the leaves. The stems aren’t really considered toxic (and that’s what we make our rhubarb pies with!).
Unlike lilies, rhubarb and star fruit have less calcium oxalate concentration, so often a large quantity needs to be eaten to cause toxicity (more commonly seen in grazing large farm animals). When a dog eats Star Fruit, the calcium in their bodies binds to the soluble oxalates and causes their calcium levels to drop. In severe cases (consumption of large quantities), kidney failure can occur. Most often, the clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation (excessive drooling), lethargy, weakness, tremors, blood in the urine, and increased thirst and urination.
It’s best to avoid feeding these fruits to your pet. If you have rhubarb growing in your garden, be sure to fence it off.
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