10 Healthy People Foods That Can Hurt Our Dogs

You know not to share grapes with your dog, but eggs, any caffeine, and bread dough should also be kept well out of their reach.

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As pet parents, most of us know that chocolate is evil incarnate when it comes to canines. It’s true that even small amounts of chocolate can wreak health havoc for dogs; but in our collective scramble to get chocolate up high and out of sight, there are multiple other “pooch-problematic” foods we may overlook. Since many of these troublesome foods are actually considered healthy for humans, they’re not necessarily on our Rover-restricted radar. So here’s a handy a checklist of beneficial human foods to keep off-limits when it comes to man’s best friend.

Dairy products and eggs

People perks: Every serving of milk, yogurt, and cheese packs an impressive calcium and protein punch. And eggs are routinely classified as being among the most nutrient-rich superfoods on the planet — plentiful in Vitamin A, folate, phosphorus, selenium, and a range of B Vitamins.

Canine concerns: The biggest danger involving eggs has to do with the uncooked variety. Raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella or E. coli, which can do a number on your pet’s gastrointestinal tract — even causing outright food poisoning. In moderation, though, well-cooked eggs can promote stronger canine teeth and bones, even softer fur. We sometimes feed our dogs a plain, hard-scrambled egg once or twice per week.

Related: The Best Dog Foods

Eggs by Shutterstock.
Eggs by Shutterstock.

But with milk and yogurt, always exercise caution. Dogs don’t produce significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that helps break down milk products. This can result in tummy upset, vomiting, and pronounced diarrhea. I’ll occasionally give my dogs a quick lick of plain yogurt, but it’s always wise to monitor your pet’s reaction closely.

Grapes, raisins, and currants

People perks: Raisins are dried grapes — so they’re packed with grape-y goodness, but in higher concentrations. Ounce for ounce, they generally deliver several times the amount of antioxidants found in their fully hydrated counterparts. And currants, which are actually a very tart berry, offer measurable amounts of Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

Canine concerns: Unfortunately, all of these options can be toxic to canines. I confess that I didn’t realize this when I was a teenager, and fed our family pup frozen grapes during the summer. He suffered no ill effects, but that’s precisely the problem: Some dogs consume grapes and raisins with no issue, while many others wind up suffering irreversible kidney damage.

The same applies to currants — they can cause gastrointestinal issues, sudden vomiting, diarrhea, even renal failure. So keep these fruits well away from Fido.

Garlic and onions

People perks: Powerfully pungent garlic (an herb) and onion (a root vegetable) belong to the Allium genus. They contain sulfur-like compounds and saponins that protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, even cancer. An especially beneficial nutrient found in the Allium family is the phytochemical quercetin — thought to help reduce inflammation; even help minimize age-related memory loss.

Canine concerns: Garlic represents a “bone”-afide canine controversy, with some animal experts singing its praises and others advocating utter abstinence. In his book Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, for instance, noted holistic veterinarian Dr. Richard Pitcairn recommends up to several cloves per day depending upon weight. Similarly, in The Nature of Animal Healing, Dr. Martin Goldstein suggests adding garlic to homemade pet food; and animal herbalist Gregory Tilford claims that dogs can safely consume 1/8 tsp. of garlic powder per pound of food, up to three to four times per week.

However, the Pet Poison Helpline maintains that the risk of canine garlic toxicity is very real; with symptoms that include elevated respiratory rate, severe lethargy, even collapse. So perhaps the best approach might be exercising caution with any garlic-containing canine consumable. When it comes to onions, however, there’s no debate: Even small amounts can break down red blood cells and cause severe canine anemia, shortness of breath, weight loss, decreased appetite, and more.

Garlic and onions by Shutterstock.

Whole-grain bread dough

People perks: No bones about it — whole grains are brimming with nutrients; including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain forms of cancer.

Canine concerns: Actually, the drawback’s in the dough. Anything made with live yeast can expand in your pup’s stomach and lead to gastrointestinal issues. Remember, too, that yeast dough contains ethanol. Like canine alcohol intake, yeast dough consumption can cause weakness, disorientation, and low body temperature.

Caffeine in any form

People perks: Perks, indeed — coffee and other caffeinated beverages have been energizing our species for centuries. Caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine, a brain chemical responsible for alertness and problem-solving.

Canine concerns: Unfortunately, anything caffeinated — in large enough quantities — can literally kill your dog. That includes tea, energy drinks, coffee, and coffee grounds. Even small amounts can lead to heart palpitations, rapid breathing, tremors and seizure-like symptoms.

Coffee and tea by Shutterstock.

Apricots and cherries

People perks: Tasty apricots are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber. Cherries deliver a potent boost of powerful anti-inflammatories. They also contain the free radical scavenger cyanidin; along with melatonin to help regulate the sleep cycle.

Canine concerns: Most experts agree that the pulp of these fruits is generally safe for canine consumption — but in both cases, the pit and the plant are a problem. They contain cyanide, so they’re definitely toxic for our furry friends.

Have you ever experienced pooch-related issues when it comes to certain people-friendly foods? Share your thoughts and insights below!

Top photo: Dog at table by Shutterstock.

Marybeth Bittel

Marybeth lives in the Midwest with her wonderful husband, and her rescue dogs Grant and Maizy — all of them Heinz 57 mixed-breed types. A freelance writer and marketing consultant, she’s been rehabilitating severely abused rescues for over two decades. She’s currently working toward specialized certifications in animal nutrition counseling. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her family Instagram feed.


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