It’s not just the high fat content found in chocolate (which is horrifically bad for dogs) but rather caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. Levels of caffeine and theobromine vary in different types of chocolate with baking and dark chocolate having the highest levels of these toxic stimulants.
Symptoms can start with vomiting and diarrhea but in higher doses of poisoning can quickly elevate to restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and excessive panting.
Heart rate and blood pressure levels can also increase and severe cases may lead to seizure. Avoid feeding all chocolate at all times to your pet. If you happen to have an abundance of this delectable human treat around, err on the side of caution and don’t leave any around where your dog can get into it.
But chocolate isn’t the only thing that can be very bad for your canine companion. I am guilty of feeding many of the following foods to my dog over the years without realizing how toxic they can be to her kidneys, liver and central nervous system. Toxicity usually shows up immediately, but does not always show up right away and can accumulate and cause internal organ failure down the road contributing to earlier death than necessary.
Do not take chances! Do not feed your dog the following foods:
• Alcoholic Beverages: this seems like a no brainer, but many animals die each year of “ethanol” toxicity, the component found in alcohol
• Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums: not the fruit but the stems, seeds and leaves contain a cyanide type compound.
• Avocados: avocados contain a toxic compound for dogs called “persin” which is a fatty acid derivative.
• Baking Powder and Baking Soda: both of these leavening agents can cause electrolyte abnormalities, congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.
• Chocolate: as above.
• Coffee (grounds and beans): Dogs that eat coffee grounds or beans can get caffeine toxicity.
• Fatty Foods: Fatty foods are the biggest cause of pancreatitis.
• High Fat Dairy Products: Another cause of pancreatitis and obesity.
• Grapes and Raisins: Both of these foods, in large amounts, will result in kidney failure.
• Macadamia Nuts: Again, the toxicity is a mystery, however it has been noted that as few as six to forty nuts have caused severe toxic signs.
• Moldy or Spoiled Food: Moldy or old food is no better for your dog than it is for you!
• Nutmeg: can be fatal. The toxic compound or component is unknown, simply avoid at all times.
• Onions: Dogs and cats lack the enzyme needed to properly digest onions. Feeding them is likely to result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea or severe gastrointestinal distress.
• Xylitol (sugar sweetener): Dogs that ingest this product may have symptoms including sudden drop in blood sugar, weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination, collapse and seizures.
• Yeast Dough: Bloat, the deadliest and one of the most hideously painful of all conditions for your dog, is highly possible.