Not all human food is safe for our pups to consume, some can be fatally toxic while others can cause severe tummy upsets when ingested in large quantities. Here are 7 common food items you should pay extra attention to.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding dogs and garlic. Some experts believe that garlic is toxic to dogs, while others swear by it to promote good health. New research is showing that garlic can actually be good for dogs but the amount fed matters greatly.
Garlic contains organosulfur compounds which can make some pets ill when ingested in large quantities. These compounds extracted from garlic has been studied extensively and have been shown to possess anti-cancer properties against both humans and canine tumour cells. In small quantities, garlic has been shown to enhance liver function too.
How much garlic to feed before it becomes toxic to dogs? With the exception of Akitas and Shiba Inus, according to one study, garlic is toxic to dogs at 5 gram per kilogram of the dog’s body weight. The recommendation is to feed not more than ¼ teaspoon of freshly chopped garlic for small dogs and up to ½ teaspoon for larger dogs.
Japanese breeds such as Akitas and Shiba Inus tend to be more sensitive to garlic. So, do not feed garlic to these breeds, pregnant dogs, puppies below 6 months, and any dogs with digestive issues. With garlic, a little goes a long way. Do not go overboard! Symptoms of allium poisoning can occur a day or several days after ingestion, depending on the amount eaten.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. When ingested in large quantities, a dog may experience general weakness, rapid breathing, red blood cell damage and anemia.
Similar organosulfur compounds with anti-cancer and liver enhancing properties are found in cruciferous vegetables. You can likely steam a little broccoli, chopped them finely and add to your doggy’s meal or supplement with the Four Leaf Rover (GREEN ROVER) Organic Greens to Maintain Healthy Liver Function Dog Supplements. This formula contains organic broccoli sprouts and other healthy greens. NEVER use garlic supplements on dogs. Garlic supplement is too potent for our furry friends.
2. Chia seed
Chia seeds are packed with fibre, rich in omega 3 and a little-known micronutrient called manganese. Dogs need manganese for energy production and maintenance of healthy bones and joints. This micronutrient is added into most canine joint supplements.
Adding a little chia seed into your dog’s meal will boost its fibre and manganese content. Feed ¼ teaspoon for small dogs and up to 1 teaspoon for large dogs. Like garlic, do NOT go overboard. While fiber can be beneficial to dogs, too much fibre can cause gas, tummy upset, diarrhea and interfere with nutrient absorption.
Some dogs just don’t do well with too much fibre. As such, using chia seeds to boost manganese content may not be the best option. Try green lipped mussels instead – freeze dried or air-dried. The Freeze Dry Australia Whole Green Lip Mussels Freeze Dried Cat & Dog Treats is rich in protein, omega-3, iron and manganese.
Chocolate and any food containing cocoa or chocolate, is toxic for dogs.
Chocolates contain a substance called Theobromine. This compound is poisonous to dogs but not humans. Theobromine is more concentrated in dark chocolates making them more dangerous than milk chocolate. The ‘darker’ the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for our dogs.
Small doses of chocolate may not be fatal but can cause nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and diarrhea. Consumed in high enough doses, dogs can develop tremors, seizures and possibly death.
The toxicity level is based on the size of your dog and the type of chocolate that your dog ate. Here’s an online chocolate toxicity calculator.
4. Grapes and raisins
One of the most searched phrases on the internet is “Can dogs eat grapes?”. According to the University of Milan researchers, grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants — both raw and cooked — can cause kidney failure in dogs. Though not all dogs react poorly to grapes, it is best to avoid them due to the possible risk of kidney failure.
To date, scientists have not identified the substance in grapes that is poisonous to our pups. To be safe, let’s agree that grapes are not for dogs. Dogs cannot eat grapes.
There are many other “super-berries” that dogs can eat and benefit from like acai berry, cranberries and blueberries. They can be given all year round, fresh or defrosted if frozen. For daily feeding, add a handful of fresh berries or sprinkle some mixed berry powder from the Four Leaf Rover (RED ROVER) Organic Berries Dog Supplements into your doggy’s food for a boost in antioxidants.
5. Milk and dairy
Just like humans, as dogs age, they begin to lose their ability to digest lactose and suffer from lactose intolerance. Some dogs may have a lower tolerance level than others. Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include tummy upset and diarrhea.
Fermented milk like kefir and yogurt are usually better tolerated. The fermentation process helps to break down lactose, making it more digestible for dogs. Even then, every dog is different. When feeding dairy to your pups, fermented or not, start with a small amount. A single tablespoon is a good amount to start with. Monitor your pup’s reaction before giving more.
When feeding milk to a senior dog, choose a lactose-free milk formula like this Zeal Lactose Free Pet Milk 380ml to avoid tummy upset. A lactose-free milk formula is easier to digest, while still maintaining the natural goodness of milk.
6. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in lauric and caprylic acid. These medium chain fatty acids have potent antifungal and antibacterial properties. When applied topically, coconut oil helps to soothe dry skin and fight fungus infection.
Can dogs eat coconut oil? Yes, coconut oil is safe for dogs, but too much can cause loose stool. In fact, too much of any type of oil can cause stomach upset and diarrhea in dogs.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil makes a perfect natural teeth cleaner. It helps eliminate the harmful bacteria that live in your dog’s mouth. This can help prevent plaque from forming and avoid dental disease. Dip your finger in a little coconut oil and rub onto your dog's teeth and gums. Most dogs love the taste of coconut oil and will happily eat it without fuss.
Macadamia is toxic and should not be given to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning include limb weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, trembling, and stomach pain.
Peanut, though technically a legume, is safe for dogs. Cashew is safe for dogs too. Most dogs love peanut butter and you can give it in moderation as treats. Give only pet-safe peanut butter with no added xylitol. Xylitol is toxic to dogs! The Barkery Organic Peanut Butter For Dogs is hand-made with 100% roasted organic peanuts and it does not contain added xylitol, oils, sugar, salt, preservatives, additives or flavourings.
Except for macadamia, most other nuts are relatively safe for dogs in small quantities. However, from a nutritional perspective, there are no health benefits in feeding nuts to dogs. There are safer and healthier food options for dogs like berries and fresh vegetables. Nuts are naturally high in fats and too much fat can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Your dog will be fine if he picks up a few peanuts or cashews from the floor, but it is not a good idea to feed your dog nuts on a regular basis.
If you suspect your pup has been poisoned, call your vet immediately.
Some vet clinics do not operate 24/7. So, here's a list of vet clinics and hospitals that provide 24/7 emergency care for your consideration.
We are not affiliated to any of these vet clinics and hospitals, and we do not endorse their services in any way. Please contact the clinics directly for more information on their products and services.
Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital
Address: 2 -14 Rochdale Road, SINGAPORE 535815
Emergency contact: +65 6581 7028
Address: 18 Jalan Pari Burong, Picardy Gardens, Singapore 488684 (Shophouses along Upper Changi Road)
Emergency contact: +65 6636 1788
Westside Emergency Vet
Address: 41 Eng Kong Terrace, Singapore 599013
Emergency contact: +65 6463 7228
Mount Pleasant Vet Centre
Mount Pleasant operates 8 vet clinics. Please check their website for the individual clinics’ addresses and contact details.
Beecroft Animal Specialist and Emergency Hospital
Address: 991E Alexandra Road, #01-27, Singapore 119973
Emergency contact: +65 6996 1812
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and have been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.