It’s a pleasure to take a glass of wine along with a good meal. If you keep dogs at home, you are most likely familiar with them sniffing different drinks. It may look funny from time to time, but it may also hurt your furry friend if he ingests a toxic substance to him.

Did you know that some man-made drinks are so toxic to dogs that they could be fatal?

In this article, we will explore different drinks and other substances that are very unhealthy for dogs.

Bartender dog with alcohol beverage

Alcohol

This toxic substance is very toxic for all dogs. This applies to any type of alcohol beverage, including beer, wine, whiskey, tequila, and the list goes on.

Larger and heavier dogs may cope better with alcohol rather than smaller dogs, who are more sensitive to alcohol. However, this does not mean giving beer to bigger dogs is a good idea, because it can be deadly for the animal.

Symptoms

A small amount of alcohol, especially for lightweight dogs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, coordination problems, excitement, and depression mood changes, breathing problems, coma, seizure, and even possibly death.

Dogs who drank or licked alcohol liquids will show symptoms in 30 to 60 minutes.

Death may occur due to respiratory distress of the pet, low body temperature, and blood sugar, or too much acid in the body.

The smaller your dog is, the higher the impact alcohol will have on its body.

Other complications may occur as temporary blindness if liquid containing alcohol or dog’s vomit touches its eyes.

If your dog is showing symptoms but did not drink any alcoholic beverage, liquids below may be the case:

  • Alcohol-based flea spray
  • Some rubbing alcohols
  • Windshield washer antifreeze
  • Medications like cough syrup or decongestants
  • Fermenting bread dough

Always make sure to keep such products away from the dog’s reach or tightly closed.

Causes

Dogs can absorb alcoholic liquids very quickly, making them easily vulnerable to previously mentioned deadly symptoms.

After getting alcohol in its body, the dog’s central nervous system will start feeling depressed. However, this may change into excitement.

Alcohol will cause the dog to start vomiting, thus making the dog dehydrated.

Treatment

You should immediately take your dog to a veterinarian, especially if its body absorbed a high amount of alcohol.

If a dog’s alcohol intake happened up to 40 minutes before the veterinarian check, the veterinarian may attempt to make the dog vomit.

This is because the dog should throw up alcohol in order to not digest any more of it – for its own good.

The veterinarian may also check and adjust your dog’s body temperature to make sure it’s stable. If it’s not, the dog will be safely warmed up or cooled down a bit.

The dog may also receive intravenous fluids, consisting of electrolytes to work on its kidneys in order to stabilize urine outflow. This will also help eliminate alcohol from the body.

In the case of a dog having nausea – which can be severe if the dog is sensitive to alcohol, the veterinarian may take care of it by hydrating the dog with clean water.

After coming home, you can shampoo your dog if it got dirty, which is common when a dog’s balance is not the best.

Xylitol is very toxic to dogs

Xylitol

This chemical compound is categorized as a sugar alcohol, which belongs to sweet carbohydrates. They are widely used as sweeteners, usually found in toothpaste, peanut butter, chewing gums, and many fruit drinks.

Dog eating food containing xylitol can result in dropping blood sugar levels or even causing liver failure.

Xylitol is also found in very small amounts in some fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, raspberries, mushrooms, and cauliflower.

Other types of sugar alcohol, just like this dog toxic substance are:

  • Erythritol
  • Sorbitol
  • Maltitol
  • Isomalt

Listed sugar alcohols are not poisonous to dogs, but they can trigger some of the gastrointestinal symptoms if eaten in large quantities, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Symptoms

If your dog has ingested xylitol, early symptoms of sickness include lethargy, vomiting, and coordination problems – meaning your dog may walk wobbly. Eventually, your dog may have a seizure and a higher chance of liver failure within just a few days.

Causes

The blood sugar level in both humans and their furry friends are controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. Humans will not release more insulin after consuming food containing xylitol.

However, when a dog eats or licks such food, xylitol gets absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. This will result in a big release of insulin from the pancreas into the body.

As a result of the dog’s body releasing too much insulin, its blood sugar level will drastically decrease, causing hypoglycemia.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in dogs can be life-threatening, especially if it is left untreated.

Treatment

The critical amount of xylitol for a dog is more than 0.5 grams per kilogram of your dog’s weight. Therefore, if your dog weighs 25 kg, his critical amount of xylitol to digest is around 12 grams.

This being the case, your dog should be taken to the local veterinarian as soon as possible. The dog will most likely be put for an intravenous dextrose supplementation, which will help raise their blood sugar levels and even treat dehydration.

Coffee beans are toxic to dogs

Caffeine

The most popular caffeine-based drinks are coffee and tea. It can also be found in chocolate bars, energy drinks, and Coca-Cola beverages.

Although previously mentioned food does not contain enough caffeine that might harm humans, it can be fatal for dogs, thus making caffeine a very toxic substance to dogs.

To minimize the chances of your dog ingesting caffeine, move snacks, coffee in any form (brewed, ground or whole beans), and all the pills that contain caffeine. Any pill might be harmful to a dog though, so make sure to hide them all.

Common foods and drinks that are high in caffeine and must be hidden from dogs in order to protect their health are:

Food / BeverageCaffeine per 100gCalories per 100g
Dark chocolate coated coffee beans800 mg549
Coffee40 mg0
Energy drinks31 mg46
Espresso212 mg9
Common soda can8 mg38
Green tea17 mg2
Black tea20 mg1
Dark chocolate70 mg600
Coffee liqueur26 mg326
Chocolate cake with frosting6 mg389

Table information is approximate and may not be correct in all cases.

Symptoms

This dog toxic substance is a stimulant, meaning it will excite dogs – making them hyperactive.

Symptoms in your dog may appear in 30-45 minutes after eating or drinking caffeine.

As a result, your dog may run a lot, bark even more, and be restless for some period of time.

Common symptoms are losing muscle control, seizure, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although vomiting may be uncomfortable to see, it may help the dog by reducing toxins in the body – including caffeine.

If you recognize some of the specified symptoms in your dog who got caffeine intake, you should take it to a veterinarian immediately.

Causes

High-caffeine drinks may raise blood pressure in dogs and cause cardiac arrhythmia.

Multiple organ failure may occur, such as failure of the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, and even the central nervous system.

This is not uncommon because dogs are a lot more sensitive to caffeine than humans.

Because of the dog’s hyperactivity, it may get fatigued and weak. Rarely in such cases, pets may collapse or even worse – get into a coma, which can be fatal.

Complications may happen as food that contains caffeine may also contain other compounds that are toxic to dogs. This is why taking your dog to a veterinarian is the safest decision.

Treatment

Immediately take your dog to a veterinarian if it’s possible and you are unsure what to do in order to help him.

Calm the dog to reduce hyperactivity symptoms. Try to make it vomit by lifting its back legs up and gently shaking them. By doing so, the dog will reduce toxins in the body.

In order to stabilize lower blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, as well as to treat muscle tremors and seizures, medications may be suggested by your local veterinarian.

Dog and cow

Dairy products

Milk, cream, cheese – those are the most commonly eaten dairy products that dogs may have access to as well.

Although you may not share cheese with your dog, people may offer ice cream to their dogs, which is very bad for their health.

Dogs can be lactose intolerant, meaning their digestive system is unable to digest lactose – which is part of dairy products.

A spoon or two of milk may not be harmful to your dog, but a higher amount of it may cause some bad reactions.

Symptoms

The dog will most likely develop stomach issues right after ingesting milk or other dairy products, such as symptoms listed below.

Symptoms may vary from dog to dog, as some of them may experience a lot more intense symptoms than others.

Food allergy may occur, making your dog being itchy a lot.

Causes

Listed symptoms may appear after your dog has ingested dairy products.

  • abdominal pain
  • loose stool
  • diarrhea
  • gases
  • vomiting

Treatment

In this case, it’s best to prevent your dog from ingesting dairy products again.

You may also take your dog to a veterinarian check, just to make sure he is healthy.

Dark chocolate bars with crumbs

Chocolate

Possibly the most known toxic substance to dogs, chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine – also known as xantheose.

Although not commonly fatal, chocolate bars or any other food containing them as an ingredient can upset your dog.

Dog’s reaction may vary from chocolate type, amount of it, and dog’s size as well.

Dark, cooking and cocoa chocolate have the highest levels of previously mentioned compound theobromine. Therefore, it’s the most poisonous chocolate for dogs.

Unfortunately, if eaten in large quantities, chocolate may be fatal to your dog.

Symptoms

Your dog’s reaction and symptoms’ intensity may vary, especially by its size. Therefore, large dogs may have fewer symptoms than small dogs after eating the same amount of toxic substance – chocolate.

The most common symptoms are:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst
  • panting
  • hyperactivity
  • excessive urination
  • fast heart rate

In severe cases, chocolate poisoning in dogs may also cause muscle tremors, seizures, internal bleeding, and even heart failure.

Causes

Dogs like to sniff different scents and chocolate has a very strong smell. Therefore, the dog may have tried to lick or eat the chocolate bar.

Otherwise, the dog may have ingested food which part of the ingredients is chocolate.

Treatment

Dogs digest theobromine significantly slower than humans, allowing toxicity to rise in their body.

That being said, inducing vomiting is crucial within two hours after ingestion.

If a dog ate a larger amount of this toxic substance, immediately call your local veterinarian.

There are other snacks you can choose from, rather than chocolate.

Remove access to chocolate from your dog and make sure he never has it.

Salted pistachios are considered toxic to dogs

Salty food

Compared to previously toxic sugary food like chocolate, salty meals and treats are not doing good to dogs either.

This includes pure salt, french fries, small pretzels, salty pastries and anything else that is salty.

A small amount of salt would not put your dog in a critical situation, but a lot of it easily can.

The best choice is not to give your dog anything that contains this toxic substance and replace salty snacks with better ones.

Symptoms

Large amounts of salt ingestion in dogs may cause so-called salt poisoning, which is causing the following symptoms:

  • dehydration
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • tremors
  • fever

Causes

Dogs eating salt by accident or lack of knowledge by their owners is the most common cause.

Another case is if someone has unconsciously given the dog something that is salty or contains too much salt as an ingredient.

Another common cause is dogs drinking salty or unclean water.

Treatment

Most likely the best choice, especially if your dog ate a big amount of salt or salty food recently, is to make him vomit.

By doing this, you are removing salty food from its stomach – preventing digestion.

Afterwards, you should give the dog fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration.

If there are other symptoms, such as diarrhea, tremors, fever, or vomiting, you should transport your dog to a local veterinarian.

The veterinarian will make sure the dog is healthy and there are no side effects of salt intake.

Jack Russell Terrier dog with donut on top of his head

Sugar

Just like humans, dogs need sugar intake in the form of carbohydrates in their diet as well.

Fructose, which is a natural sugar that comes from fruits, is safe from your dog. However, not all fruits are safe for your dog.

Read; Toxic fruit that dogs should never eat

Granulated sugar (often seen in the kitchen in the form of small cubes or powder) is a commonly used ingredient, which may be passed easily to dogs as a treat.

A small amount of sugar may be considered safe, but in large amounts it can make your dog very unhealthy.

Symptoms

Dogs that are on a diet with a larger sugar intake may show the following symptoms:

  • cavities
  • weight gain
  • metabolic conditions
  • diabetes

Symptoms are treatable and not serious, but if left untreated can lead to serious complications that may be fatal:

  • arthritis from excess weight
  • oral infections from untreated cavities, often painful
  • diabetes, which can lead to heart complications

Causes

Snacks containing a lot of sugar can make your dog overweight.

Sauces used in food, commonly for meat or spaghetti may be high in sugar.

Replacing unhealthy snacks with their healthy alternatives is crucial for a healthy diet.

Treatment

First, make sure to take your dog to a veterinarian to ensure there are no health complications, such as arthritis, oral infections, and diabetes. If there are, further treatments will be needed to cure your dog.

Meanwhile, you should change the dog’s diet – replacing food or snacks that are high in sugar with healthy ones.

Carrots and baby carrots are a great replacement for your dog’s healthy diet and jaw. Apples, bananas, and watermelons are good alternatives as well.

If you serve watermelon to your dog, make sure to remove as much as seeds as you can.

To stabilize the dog’s weight, it should be more active. Running may not be the best option in the beginning, but taking your dog for a walk more often will do the job.

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