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Posted on 07-01-2016


Fourth of July festivities are right around the corner! Many people host BBQ parties to celebrate but may not know what types of food could be harmful to their pets. People love to give snacks to dogs! A great idea to keep friends and family from accidently giving a food listed here would be to set out a dish of small dog treats so guests can give your dog something special throughout the party. While the following foods may sound delicious to you, be sure to keep them out of your pet's reach.

Chocolate, Caffeine, Coffee & Macadamia Nuts:

Chocolate, caffeine and coffee contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Onions, Garlic & Chives:

Many summer salads contain onions, garlic and chives, so it is important to keep these foods out of reach of both dogs and cats. These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

Grapes & Raisins:

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Alcohol and Marijuana:

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Marijuana (especially edibles with chocolate) may cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression and urinary incontinence if ingested.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones:

Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet's digestive tract.

Avocados, Corn Cobs, Pitted Fruits & Food Wrappers:

The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart.

Corn cobs and the pits of avocados, peaches, mangoes and the like should not be ingested due to the potential for a foreign body becoming lodged in the intestines.

Be sure to keep all food wrappers contained where your pet does not have access. These materials can lead to a potential intestinal obstruction, while foil wrappers can cause lacerations in the stomach and intestines.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these foods, please call our office at (503)206-4163 as soon as possible, or contact Dove Lewis Animal Emergency Hospital at (503)228-7281 for further instructions.

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