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What Foods Are Toxic to Labradors?
Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but there are lots of other foods out there that should never be fed to your Labrador. Not only are some foods toxic, but other foods are just plain bad for your dog. Let’s take a look at what foods to avoid feeding to your pooch, and why they are dangerous.
One of my dogs loves onions. So it came as a shock to me that onions, like garlic, chives, and leeks, are toxic to dogs. Now I never just sat there feeding him onions, but he has eaten a piece or two that fell on the floor while I was chopping them.
Once I found out that these foods can cause a decrease in red blood cells in dogs like Labradors, I started being very careful when preparing food for my human family members. A loss of red blood cells leads to anemia which can be deadly.
Signs of anemia in dogs are weakness, fatigue, labored breathing, fast heartbeat, blood in stools or vomit, loss of appetite, pale gums, and weight loss. This can lead to death.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who think it is funny to give alcohol to their dogs. Alcohol is a poison to all pets, even dogs, so it is never funny to give even a small amount to your dog.
Since dogs are smaller than people, even a small amount can cause alcohol poisoning. Even with larger dogs like Labradors, it only takes a small amount of alcohol to be deadly.
Signs of alcohol poisoning in your Labrador are difficulty breathing, staggering, vomiting, loss of coordination, diarrhea, dehydration, and shaking. This can lead to death.
Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate
Not only do coffee, tea, and chocolate contain caffeine which is dangerous for a Labrador to eat, but they also contain another type of stimulant called methylxanthines.
Methylxanthines are also toxic to dogs. This means that coffee, tea, chocolate and anything made from them are double toxic to your furry companion.
Signs of a methylxanthine or caffeine overdose are panting, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, and seizures. This can lead to death.
Another type of food that may be a shock to learn is toxic is fat trimmings from meat. As the name implies, fat trimmings are very high in fat content.
Introducing a high amount of fat at one time to your Labrador’s system could cause inflammation of the pancreas. Not only will pancreatitis make your dog very sick, but it can even kill them.
Signs of pancreatitis in dogs are abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If left untreated, this can lead to many diseases and even death.
There are many types of fruits that are healthy for your Labrador, but there are a few that you should avoid. Never give your pooch the fruits listed below.
- Grapes (raisins)
- Citrus (lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc)
- Coconut or Coconut Oil
Most fruits on this list only cause upset stomach and intestines, but grapes and raisins are especially harmful to your dog. They can lead to kidney failure.
Signs of kidney failure in dogs are blood in urine, dark urine, lethargy, pale gums, ulcers in the mouth, weight loss, and a decrease in appetite.
Just like with people, nuts are a common source of food allergies to Labradors. Macadamia nuts are one of the most poisonous foods a dog can have. Only six macadamia nuts can cause permanent nerve damage or be deadly for your furry friend.
Some other nuts to watch out for are almonds, walnuts, and pecans. The high amounts of fat in nuts can lead to pancreatitis in your dog.
Signs that your dog has consumed Macadamia nuts are weakness, shaking, vomiting, and hyperthermia (high body temperature). This can lead to nervous system damage.
Sugar and salt are dangerous for dogs for the same reason they are dangerous for people. However, because of their small size, it doesn’t take nearly as much of these things to be dangerous.
Sugar can cause weight gain which leads to heart problems, joint problems, and more. Too much salt can also cause heart problems, and can even lead to salt toxicity.
When avoiding sugar, watch out for sugar-free foods. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar and cause liver damage in your Labrador.
Signs of Xylitol poisoning in your Labrador are seizures, loss of coordination, vomiting, and lethargy. This can lead to liver failure.
Signs of salt poisoning in dogs are extreme thirst, loss of coordination, decreased appetite, and lethargy.
Although we are in the middle of a raw food craze, there are many reasons you should avoid feeding raw food to your Labrador. Raw meat and eggs can cause food-borne illnesses like salmonella poisoning and E coli poisoning.
Raw fish not only can cause food poisoning, but also worm infestation. Yeast dough can make your dog sick by expanding in the stomach causing bloating and twisting.
Raw potatoes and tomatoes have a substance called solanine that is toxic to dogs.
Signs of food poisoning in your dog are vomiting, diarrhea dehydration, lethargy, and reduced appetite. It is very important to get professional help or your furry friend may become dehydrated and die.
Signs of twisted stomach (GDV) are loss of appetite, throwing up blood clots, shallow breathing, swollen stomach, and pale gums. I had a dog die from GDV and it is a horrible, painful way to go. Please don’t feed your Labrador yeast dough, and try to avoid large meals.
In the past, I would give my dogs their medicine by wrapping the pill in a piece of cheese. However, I soon learned that dairy foods like cheese and milk are not good for our furry friends.
While dogs like Labradors drink milk when they are puppies, they can become lactose intolerant as they age. Along with intolerance, they can also develop a true allergy to these foods.
Signs of lactose intolerance in dogs are bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Signs of an allergy are skin rashes, diarrhea or constipation, and vomiting.
You may have noticed that after eating a spicy meal you have stomach upset like acid reflux, indigestion, or diarrhea. The same thing can happen to your Labrador.
Cinnamon can even irritate the lining of the nose and throat. This causes choking, coughing, and lung irritation.
One of the worst spices for dogs is nutmeg. It contains myristicin which is toxic to dogs.
Signs of nutmeg poisoning are disorientation, vomiting, dry mouth, and shaking.
While bones are not toxic to your Labrador, they are dangerous for dogs. Bird bones like chicken, quail, and dove are hollow. This makes them break into splintering pieces that can tear and puncture your pooch’s digestive tract.
The only bones safe to give to your Labrador are uncooked bones from animals like cows, deer, and lamb. Cooked bones splinter easily and can cause tears and punctures.
Signs of a pictured or torn digestive tract in dogs are blood in stools, vomiting blood, pain, not eating, and dehydration.
Ways to Avoid Toxic Foods
To prevent your Labrador from accidentally eating toxic foods, make sure you always follow these simple rules:
- Never let anyone else feed your dog.
- Put all food and medication out of reach of your dog.
- Keep all plates and glasses out of reach.
- Only feed your Labrador food that is FDA-approved for dogs or that is safely prepared by you.
- Educate all people in your household on what foods are toxic for dogs.
- Never let an inexperienced person pet-sit your Labrador.
What to Do If Labrador Eats Toxic Foods
If your dog has symptoms of food toxicity like irregular breathing, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, slow heartbeat, or seizures, call your vet immediately.
If your veterinarian’s office is closed, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Line at (888) 426-4435. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by your vet or poison control.
For quick reference, always have your vet’s number, a local emergency (24-hour) vet, and the animal poison control number saved in your phone contacts or posted in an easy-to-find place.
Always keep 3% hydrogen peroxide solution on hand in case you are instructed by a professional to induce vomiting in your furry friend.
Another important item to keep handy is activated charcoal. It absorbs the toxins so your Labrador doesn’t get as big of a dose in their system.
In case activated charcoal is recommended by your vet or poison control, you should always keep some easily accessible in your home. It can be purchased at most pet stores like Chewy, Petco, and Tractor Supply.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson