If your dog is begging at the dinner table, think twice before sharing your leftovers. Canines don’t have discerning tastebuds and are likely to gobble down whatever comes their way, but they digest food differently to humans.

What may seem like a harmless snack could mean an emergency trip to the vet for your pup, so make a note of these foods and keep them out of paw’s reach.

Forget the grapes

While generally considered a health food for humans, grapes, raisins, and sultanas are a no-go for dogs. It is not known exactly why, but they are toxic for these animals.

Even a few grapes or raisins can make a small dog sick, with the side effects varying from vomiting to organ failure. If you notice your pet swallows this food, take them to the vet, who will most likely induce vomiting and administer treatments which prevent the toxins from being absorbed.

Some other fruits which should be avoided are grapefruits, lemons and stone fruits like cherries and plums, which may cause choking. If your pet is a fruit lover, you could treat them to a handful of antioxidant and fibre-filled blackberries, which are harmless to its health.

Hide the chocolate

Chocolate is a real no-no for dogs. The caffeine and theobromine contained in this cannot be digested easily and can cause distress. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite can appear ahead of more severe complications such as seizures or internal bleeding.

Dogs don’t need sweet treats the way humans do but you could instead hand your pooch some carob. This chocolate-like product is much safer and can be purchased from some pet stores and online outlets.

Avoid avocados

Dogs aren’t all salad lovers but if yours is known to swallow whatever they come across without thinking, make sure they don’t get hold of a whole avocado.

Avocado skin and stones/seeds contain a toxin called Persin, which is poisonous to Fido and his friends. Some vets also recommend against allowing dogs to eat the flesh of an avocado, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

As an alternative, cooked sweet potatoes are a healthy and nutritious snack for dogs. This vegetable contains vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes and immune system support.

Watch for Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally occurring ‘sugar alcohol’ that is commonly used as a sugar substitute. It can be found in a range of products, from sugar-free chewing gum to toothpaste.

Xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs and they should never eat it. Ingesting this product can cause significant distress in the form of seizures, lethargy and even liver damage or death.

Check your pantry for Xylitol in your foods. It can show up in peanut butter, sugar-free lollies and even some cereals.

Skip the greasy meat

What dog doesn’t love a sausage or a piece of bacon from the bbq? Sadly for them, these tasty delights are not recommended.

The problem is the overload of salt can cause dogs to drink too much water. This can make their stomach expand, putting pressure on other internal organs. Greasy meats can also cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can be fatal. It is better to feed your pet high-quality cooked proteins such as boneless and skinless chicken, unseasoned pork and beef.

The last thing any dog owner wants is a health emergency, so while the odd tidbit from the table is ok, stick to good quality dog food, which contains the proteins and fatty acids they need for a happy tummy and a silky coat. It is also a great idea to have a discussion with your vet about the optimal diet for your puppy pal.

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