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You probably already know certain foods like chocolate can be toxic to your furry friend. But do you know the exact chemical culprits that can cause severe illness and even death in your dog? Here we name twelve chemicals you should keep away from your pet and their common food sources. As with all medical advice please consult with your dog’s nutritionist or canine care specialist and help your dog enjoy a long healthy life.
1. Ethanol (C₂HO₆) – Alcoholic beverages and raw dough
While the ethanol molecule may partially resemble a dog, it’s probably preferable if your pooch passes on the pint. While alcohol is dangerous in its own right, it is also a byproduct produced when yeast expands. For this reason you should not give your dog raw dough or other raw foods containing yeast.
2. Persin (C₂₃H₄₀O₄) – Guacamole
IUPAC name: (R, 12E,15E)-2-Hydroxy-4-oxohenicosa-12,15-dienyl acetate
The seeds, stems, bark, and leaves of avocados contain persin. This is another chemical your dog should most likely avoid. While in small amounts the actual flesh of the fruit may help to add shine to your pet’s coat, you may want to think twice before letting Fido down an entire bowl of guacamole at the half-time party.
3. Myristicin (C₁₁H₁₂O₃) – Nutmeg
IUPAC name: 6-allyl-4-methoxy-1,3-benzodioxole
Bowser should probably skip the eggnog, especially the spiked variety (See chemical #1). But also because nutmeg contains Myristicin. Myristicin is also soluble in ethanol, even more reason for your dog to skip the holiday brew.
4. Caffeine (C₈H₁₀N₄O₂) – Tea, Coffee, Cola, Medicines, Chocolate
IUPAC name: 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione
Another reason not to give your dog chocolate (See chemical #7). Caffeine is also found in many beverages. An energy drink may give you wings, but it could be fatal for your dog. Even small amounts of coffee grounds or used tea bags could contain a toxic dose of caffeine.
5. Thiosulphate (S₂O₃²⁻) – Onions and Garlic
Whether raw, cooked, or in powdered form these can pose risks of anemia when given in continual amounts. While garlic contains natural anitmicrobial properties it is better to check with your vet before you consider self-medicating your pet with these potent alliums.
6. Xylitol (C₅H₁₂O₅) - Gum, candy, diet foods, toothpaste
IUPAC name: (2R,4S)-Pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol
High levels of this chemical can cause a drop in blood sugar levels of your dog which could be fatal. It may also be responsible for liver damage and there is no really good reason to feed your dog these types of foods. It is better to be safe and avoid giving this to your pet.
7. Theobromine (C₇H₈N₄O₂) – Chocolate
IUPAC name: 3,7-dimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione
This is probably the most famous of the toxic foods for dogs. Due to the rate at which animals metabolize this chemical theobromine chemical can build up in their system causing complications, seizures, and even death.
8. Amygdalin (C₂₀H₂₇NO₁₁) – Peach and apricot pits
IUPAC name: [(6-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-β-D-glucopyranosyl)oxy](phenyl)acetonitrile
Also found in varying quantities in Apples, Cherries, Plums, and related fruits. Amygdalin is metabolized in the body into Hydrogen Cyanide. This is equally toxic to humans as well as pets. While you probably would not eat large quantities of fruit seeds it’s probably best not to give these to your pet either.
9. Avidin – Raw egg whites
While egg yolks may help give your pet a shiny coat it may be better to avoid the egg whites. Egg whites of both birds and reptiles contain avidin which can interfere with biotin absorption. Raw eggs have also been known to contain salmonella, another reason to keep your dog out of the chicken coup.
10. Sodium Chloride (NaCl) – Salt
While you might give your horse a salt lick, it’s may not be such a bright idea to give your dog. While your dog does need some salt in its diet it probably should stay away from junk foods which contain large amounts of salt.
11. Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO₃) – Baking Soda and Powder
While you probably wouldn’t feed your dog a bowl full of baking soda or baking powder, it is probably best to keep these out of your pets reach. When consumed in large quantities these can be dangerous to your pets health.
12. Sucrose (C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁) – Sugar
IUPAC name: (2R,3R,4S,5S,6R)-2-[(2S,3S,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy-2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)oxolan-2-yl]oxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)oxane-3,4,5-triol
Like salt you should probably limit your dog’s intake of table sugar for many of the same reasons you would limit sugar yourself. Dogs can become susceptible to the same sugar-induced diseases as humans including tooth decay, diabetes and obesity.
In addition to these known chemicals there are also various unknown chemicals that can also pose threats. Grapes, Raisins, and Macadamia Nuts can cause serious problems to your dog’s health.
Some dogs may also have food allergies as well that may be specific to your particular pet. In addition various human medicines can cause complications in dogs. These include Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and Pseudoephedrine. With all medicines its best to consult a dog specialist or veterinarian before your pooch pops your pills.
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