Many of the foods you eat and enjoy every day are actually unsafe for your dog. Pets have different digestive and metabolic systems from humans, what's healthy for you isn't always healthy for Fido. Feeding your dog table scraps is never a good idea, no matter how hard he turns on the puppy dog eyes, but there are certain foods that are more dangerous than others. The following list covers some of the more common -- and most dangerous -- foods that you should avoid feeding to your dog.
Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol can cause intoxication, coma, and even death in dogs. Grapes also have a toxin in them that can cause kidney damage, making alcoholic drinks containing grapes, like wine, particularly dangerous. Make sure any open drinks or even emptied bottles are kept out of reach of your curious pooch.
Chocolate, coffee, and tea: It's fairly well-known that chocolate is a no-no for dogs, but all of these items contain caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, all of which can damage the heart and nervous systems in dogs. In large quantities, chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated foods and drinks can even be lethal to your pet.
Citrus fruit: Fruit and other foods containing citrus oils and juices are hard on a dog's digestive system and can cause severe vomiting. Make sure that if you feed your dog scraps of meat, it hasn't been cooked with any marinade containing citrus.
Fat trimmings: The fat trimmings from meat can cause pancreatitis in dogs. While meats themselves can be good for your dog, all fat should be trimmed off before you feed it to Fido. In addition, meats heavy in salt, spices, and sauces should be avoided.
Bones from fish, poultry, or meat: Dogs love to chew on bones, but chewing the sharp bones from table scraps can lead to choking, digestive system obstructions, or laceration of the digestive system. As an alternative, give your pet rawhide bones, pet treats, and chew toys specifically designed for dogs.
Onions: Ingesting onions can cause anemia due to high levels of sulfoxides and disulfides, which affect red blood cells. Be careful of table scraps, fresh onions, and foods made with spice mixes that contain dried onions or onion powder. Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous to your dog.
Moldy or spoiled foods: Just like in humans, spoiled food can upset the stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. It may be hard to keep your dog from rooting through the garbage, so keeping a tight, locking lid on garbage cans with food waste is important, especially in the kitchen where lots of food scraps are thrown away.
Foods sweetened with Xylitol: This specific artificial sweetener can cause liver failure in your dog. Once again it is important not to feed sweets to your pet and to keep scraps and waste out of his reach. While xylitol is the most dangerous, other artificial sweeteners can cause similar health issues in dogs.
Macadamia nuts: These nuts contain a toxin that can affect the digestive system, nervous system, and muscles of dogs. In addition, most nuts should be kept away from your pup because of the choking hazard. If you give your dog peanut butter as a treat, make sure it's creamy and not chunky.
If you think your dog ate something that might be toxic for him, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.