There are a few foods which you are likely to have at home which can poison your dog. They have varying levels of toxicity, depending on the amount ingested and the size of your dog, but some can be fatal. Here are some of the most dangerous foods for your dog.
The skin and flesh, the pit and even the leaves all contain persin which is a fungicidal toxin. Many dogs can eat a small amount of flesh with no ill effects, and in reality the danger of them eating the pit and having an obstruction in their gut is probably far greater.
The allium family comprises onions, chives and garlic. They contain a toxin that affects red blood cells. If your dog snaffles a small piece of onion that falls to the floor whilst he's on kitchen duty, don't panic, it's unlikely to do any harm. But toxins build up, and this is one of the foods where the size of the dog and the amount eaten are relevant. What a great dane can get away with, a chihuahua can't.
Caffeine is very toxic to dogs, and even a small amount can be fatal. Caffeine is present in tea, including green tea, coffee and energy drinks. Don't forget about your packet of coffee beans and be mindful where you dispose of coffee grounds.
Chocolate including cocoa (or cacao) contains theobromine. A small amount might only give your dog an upsety tummy, but this is another one where the size of the dog and the amount ingested is relevant. Large amounts can lead to miuscle tremors, internal bleeding, irregular heartbeat and heart attack. The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the more toxic it is. A 90% cocoa bar of dark chocolate is poison to your dog.
Grapes and Raisins
Some dogs seem able to eat grapes without any problem, but they contain a toxin that can lead to acute kidney failure. Probably best not to find out if your dog is one of the lucky ones.
At this time the reason that macadamia are toxic to dogs is unknown. Although not fatal, the poisoning is unpleasant causing vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia and depression.
Xylitol is a fine white powder used as an artificial sweetener. It is highly toxic to dogs, so labels of any packaged items which are sugar free or diet should be examined carefully. Xylitol is well known as an ingredient in gum (Wrigleys etc) and dogs are known to have died after eating just a few pieces. Xylitol is also the sweetener in sugar free candy. Probably the food most dog owners wouldn't expect to find xylitol, and something that is very popular with dogs, is peanut butter. There are a couple of brands on sale in Australia which list xylitol in the ingredients, so check carefully.
We have produced an infographic which you can download to stick on your fridge door - handy if you have children so they can easily be reminded what not to feed.