Stop feeding your dog ice cream, and other foods that can harm your pooch

It's a hot Summer day, and after standing in line with your dog at the neighborhood ice cream spot, you're just about to polish off a cone. You look down, and see those big, pleading eyes. Someone else wants a taste of that frosty goodness. But will it lead to stomach troubles later? Dog food probably has diary in it...right?

Here's a short run down on ice cream and other foods that your dog might love to chow down on, but you should think twice about feeding them.

Almonds

A lot of dogs love the taste of almonds, but their stomachs aren’t built to easily digest them, and can easily lead to gastro-intestinal problems. That means (sorry) vomiting and diarrhea.

Another problem is the shape and breakdown of the nut itself: a quickly chewed or swallowed-whole almond can obstruct and tear at the windpipe of a dog, especially in small breeds.

Chocolate

This is one of the “serious ones”. Chocolate is toxic to dogs.

Chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine, both of which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs. Signs of chocolate poisoning can show in dogs 6 to 12 hours after digestion, and can lead to seizures, vomiting and possibly death. There’s even a easy-to-use calculator that will measure the toxicity of the chocolate ingestion vs. your dog’s size. 

Here’s the 5 most to least toxic types of chocolate to dogs:

  1. Cocoa powder
  2. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  3. Semisweet chocolate
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Milk chocolate

Garlic

Good news: Small amounts of garlic likely won’t negatively affect your dog, unless it’s a very small breed.

Bad news: If your dog somehow has eaten a good amount, you could be looking at rapid breathing, lethargy, weakness, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Garlic toxicity also causes symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression, and dehydration.

Grapes

Like chocolate, this is another BIG no-no.

Grapes or raisins in any amount can lead to a toxic effect in dogs. Vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pain and eventual sudden kidney failure are all effects of eating grapes.

You should call a veterinarian immediately for advice if your dog starts experiencing any of these symptoms after ingesting grapes.

Ice Cream

Okay, here it is: The subject line of this article. So can you give your dog ice cream or what?

In short, no. You shouldn’t. Will taking a couple licks send them to the hospital? Likely not. However, the base of ice cream (milk and sugar) aren’t easily digested by dog’s stomachs. What could start as excited lapping could end as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Dogs DO love eating ice cream, but there are a lot of  safe frozen treat alternatives, both sold in stores commercially and make-yourself recipes easily found online.

One form of ice cream dogs should NEVER have are sugar-free brands. Sugar-free ice cream can contain the chemical xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs systems.

Macadamia nuts

While you might not have jars of macadamia nuts all over your house, they show up in baked goods, cookies and trail mixes. And dogs should never eat them.

Macadamias are some of the top foods that are toxic to a dogs system, and make them very ill, leading to tremors and fever. If you think your dog has ingested any of the nuts, call your veterinarian for advice.

Let's be good friends to the pets that are friends to us. They trust us, and we need to give them the best life experience we can.