11 Summer Foods You Should Never Share with Your Dog

Summer signals the start of backyard barbecue season, but before you give your pooch a taste of what's cooking, be sure it's OK for dogs to eat.

Small white dog peering over a wooden counter to gaze longingly at three macaroons of different colors

Shutterstock / Madebyindigo

If you’re doing summer right, you’re entertaining. Whether it’s in the backyard, by the pool, or around a barbecue, as long as you’re surrounded by good food and great company, summer will be the highlight of your year. If you’re like me, though, that means you’re sometimes taking your eyes off the pups. Wherever there’s food, they’ll be there begging for scraps and picking up anything that’s accidentally (or intentionally) dropped on the ground. Here’s what you should look out for to make sure your favorite pooch doesn’t devour it.

1. Grapes

They may seem harmless, but grapes (and raisins) are incredibly toxic for dogs. While vets don’t know what exactly causes the bad reaction, dogs can quickly experience vomiting and, later, possibly even kidney failure.

2. Avocado

While a little avocado should be OK, it’s best to avoid the fruit altogether. Avocados contain persin, which can be toxic for dogs. It’s in the meat, pit and skin, so you should keep your pups away from the guacamole dish. If you happen to grow avocados, keep your eye out for any dropped fruit.

3. Bones that Splinter

Just because your dog’s favorite toy is a bone, doesn’t mean all bones are safe. Baby back rib bones, T-bones and chicken bones easily splinter, and if swallowed can be incredibly harmful. If you’re serving any of the above, make sure it’s clear to your guests that the remnants should not be given to your pup.

4. Bacon

This breakfast staple, along with other fatty foods like meat scraps, can cause pancreatitis in pups. While one nibble here or there isn’t the end of the world, don’t make it a habit, otherwise, the dog’s pancreas can become inflamed and stop functioning. Bacon is also very high in salt, which isn’t good for dogs, either.

5. Chocolate

This should go without saying, but some people still don’t know that chocolate is extremely toxic for man’s best friend. It’s worse for some breeds than others, but you should generally operate with the assumption that your dog should never get even a morsel of the good stuff. (Luckily, humans can still enjoy it!)

6. Garlic

A member of the Allium family (which also includes chives, onions and leeks), garlic is very toxic for our furry friends. According to the American Kennel Club, “Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness and collapsing.”

7. Ice Cream

While ice cream is OK in moderation, dogs don’t digest dairy very well. Still want to give them a treat on a hot dog? Freeze some berries and give them to your dog as a sweet, cool treat.

8. Any Kind of Alcohol

If your dog licks up a few drops of your favorite India Pale Ale that splashed on the ground, there’s no need to freak. BUT, if they manage to lap up half your glass when you’re not looking, you should phone a vet. Alcohol has the same effect on our pups as it does us, but it takes far less to cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems or worse.

9. Macadamia nuts

While peanuts are 100 percent OK for our dogs to eat, macadamia nuts are actually quite poisonous for them. The nuts can affect their nervous system, causing vomiting, increased body temperature and lethargy.

10. Peaches and Plums

The actual fruit in peaches and plums is OK for dogs to eat, but if the animals get their paws on the entire thing, odds are they’ll devour it pit and all. That’s where the problem lies. The seed can block a dog’s intestines, but perhaps worse, the pit contains a form of cyanide, which is terribly poisonous to dogs and humans alike.

11. Coffee

You should never let your dog dip into your iced coffee cup. The stimulant methylated xanthine makes a dog’s nervous system go into overdrive. Symptoms include vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations or worse.

So what can dogs eat? Generally, lean meats, veggies (such as carrots), peanut butter and other tasty treats are healthy for our pups. If you’re ever unsure about a food you want to share, always check first. Better safe than sorry!

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