In the heat of summer, it’s likely you’ll find yourself at picnics and parties surrounded by friends, family and, of course, your furry friends. Nothing says summer like a barbeque, but it’s important to remember that some summer foods are only meant for humans—not dogs.
Some of the most common summer visits to the vet are related to toxic poisoning—not caused by chemicals but actually by foods that dogs aren’t supposed to eat. Giving your dog some human foods may seem harmless, but the wrong food could make your dog very ill and may even put it at risk for serious health complications.
If you find yourself itching to slip a table scrap to Fido under the picnic table, make sure you’re not giving it one of these toxic foods.
Summer foods to keep away from dogs
Some of the most popular summer dishes and treats can actually be dangerous when given to dogs. Make sure to keep these foods away from your pup.
- Grapes: Grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to dogs, leading to gastrointestinal distress and even kidney failure after ingestion.
- Lemons and limes: Lemons and limes both contains psoralens, which are compounds toxic to dogs. Small quantities of lemons and limes are likely to cause gastrointestinal upset, while larger amounts can cause more severe effects.
- Peaches and plums: The pits of peaches and plums are dangerous because they can be choking hazards and can also cause intestinal blockages. Pits also contain a type of cyanide that is toxic to dogs.
- Cherries: Like peaches, cherries have pits containing cyanide that is toxic to dogs. These pits can also be choking hazards.
- Chocolate: Found in tons of summery desserts, chocolate poses a significant health risk to your pup. Large quantities can be toxic to dogs, so keep Fido away from the chocolate pies, cookies and cakes!
- Fatty meats: Fatty cuts of meats like bacon have been known to cause pancreatitis in dogs and may also cause gastrointestinal upset because of salt.
- Meats with bones: Meats are a great treat to slip to your pup, but meats that contain splintering bones like ribs or chicken wings can be dangerous. These bones can splinter in your dog’s mouth, causing wounds or posing a choking hazard.
- Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts can alter your dog’s nervous system and body temperature, cause vomiting and lethargy and result in muscle tremors and ataxia.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is extremely toxic to pets and should never be given to your dog. Not only can it cause intoxication-like symptoms, but it can be fatally poisonous if enough is ingested.
- Onions: If you’re frying up some onions to add to your burger or brat, keep them out of your dog’s reach. Onions, as well as garlic, are part of the allium family and can lead to potentially fatal anemia if enough are eaten.
Fruits that contain seeds are generally okay, but avoid giving your dog parts with seeds. It won’t be able to digest the seeds properly and might choke on them.
Additionally, just because a food is not considered toxic to dogs doesn’t mean your dog will have a positive reaction to it. Some dogs will have food sensitivities that result in an upset stomach or diarrhea. If you notice these signs after giving your dog a particular food, make sure to avoid giving it as a treat in the future.
Identifying toxic poisoning in dogs
The best ways to keep your pup away from potentially toxic human food is to not give it table scraps and keep food you’re preparing or serving out of your dog’s reach. Even still, some pups have the ability to sneak into food platters when we’re not looking, and you may discover that it has devoured a bowl or plate full of a toxic food on accident.
If you see your dog eat a toxic food and know exactly what it was, call your vet right away. Make sure your dog can’t access more toxic foods and follow the instructions your vet gives you. You may need to bring your pup in for treatment or monitoring.
If you don’t see your pup eat something toxic but notice it’s acting strange, carefully watch its symptoms. Common signs of toxic food poisoning in dogs includes vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. If you witness these symptoms and have reason to suspect your pup got into something it shouldn’t, call your vet as soon as possible.