Picture this. The sun’s a scorcher, the barbecue’s sizzling away beautifully, and your favourite people and pooches surround you. Then you look over at Great Aunt Mabel and see what she’s feeding the dogs… eek.
She means well, but all is not well. In fact, it’s extremely dangerous. Here we discuss the risks of toxic human food for your fur baby, and how to make sure they enjoy the summer socials just as much as you.
We know how tempting those puppy dog eyes can be when they get a scent of our tasty human scran. But human food, especially during barbecue season, can be packed with harmful ingredients that are poisonous to our pooches. Marinades on the meat, ingredients in the side dishes and grown-up 'lemonade' are just some of the watchouts.
Let’s look at the full list:
Garlic is used in so many of our dishes. Sauces, marinades, oils, and tons more. This favourite ingredient is toxic to our dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. This can make your pooch very sick.
As per above (they’re all part of the onion family), onions and chives are toxic and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage too. As a popular condiment to hot dogs and other barbecue delights – be extra careful with what may fall on the floor and within doggo’s reach.
This is where people don’t realise the damage they’re doing, as dogs are usually encouraged to chomp raw bones, safely. However, cooked bones are completely different. They easily splinter in the mouth, and in large quantities cause constipation and perforation of the gut - which is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal.
Our fun liquid is not so fun for our pets. Alcohol intoxicates our animals in the same way it does us, but can lead to severe sickness, diarrhoea, and even central nervous system damage. You should keep all drinks off the floor and out of reach of your pooch.
A classic, healthy barbecue side, that when eaten by dogs can cause blockages in the intestine. Anything but healthy, as blockages could turn fatal.
Another firm favourite on the barbecue sides list, and another to keep away from pets. Avocado plants contain an ingredient called Persin – found in its leaves, fruit, and seed. Persin can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs, making them very poorly.
Found in many human sweet treats, chocolate should never be fed to dogs. You can get pooch-safe chocolate as an alternative, but the chocolate we know and love contains a stimulant called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine levels. This is toxic to our fur babies and can cause kidney failure.
Quite often a Christmas ingredient, but around any time of year, Macadamia nuts are another poisonous food on the list. They contain a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system – which can cause weakness, swollen limbs and panting.
Grapes and raisins can be found in cous-cous, salads, on a BBQ cheese board and in other barbecue food and sweet treats. The active ingredient with toxic properties isn’t known, but these fruits can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure in our precious pooches.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in loads of food we eat. Although safe for us, your dog could go into hypoglycaemia if consumed. Hypoglycaemia is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders, so needs to be avoided at all costs.
It’s a good idea to educate everyone who’s around pooches at social gatherings, on the dangers of human food. We’re sure they wouldn’t want your dog to become unwell and will start to think twice before offering dangerous scraps.
Act with urgency. But try not to panic.
It’s sensible to contact your vet straight-away, who can offer their professional opinion. They’ll probably ask what they’ve eaten, in what quantity, and whether you’ve noticed any visible signs of distress.
Give as much info as possible, so they can decide whether they want to check your dog over.
Your gut instinct will be to help your dog! However, this could cause more harm than good. Always take your vet’s advice and bear the below in mind:
Your vet will share a list of symptoms to look out for, and some might follow a few days later.
Here are a few they may mention:
If you notice any of these, contact your vet straight away.
Our pooches are an important part of the family (if not Head Of!) – so it’s only right we have some tasty snacks on hand to include them in the joy of barbecue season.
Some of our Pooch & Mutt favourites are:
Always feed treats according to the label and as part of a complete diet. Treats should be a maximum 10% of a dog’s daily diet and shouldn’t be used to substitute food.