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Foods that Can Cause Seizures in Dogs

When I was a young girl growing up in Alaska, our family dog was a lovely, white toy poodle named Mitzi. Mom claimed that Mitzi occasionally had seizures. They were infrequent enough that I was fortunate to never have had to witness one. One day I came home from school and Mom said that Mitzi had one of the seizures again that day, after “getting into” the chocolates. We did not have the internet in those days and so it took years for me to make the connection between chocolate consumption and canine seizures. Today, almost everyone knows that chocolate can cause not only seizures, but other serious neurological disorders in dogs. I’m happy to say that Mitzi lived to an old age and that she did not die as a result of her sweet tooth.

But this made me wonder about other foods that might be harmful to dogs. What a relief it would be to find that the reason for a dog’s seizure or other illness could be something as simple as what he eats! Although it is by no means a complete list, what follows is a list of common foods that can cause health problems in dogs.

Cat Food

For those households which are home to both dogs and cats, beware of letting the dogs get into the cat’s food on a regular basis, because it is too high in protein and fats for dogs to eat, resulting in potential digestive problems. Cat food is also denser in calories than dog diets, so it can lead to obesity in dogs.  I used to let Cory “lick the kitty’s plate,” which won’t hurt anything if the kitty has eaten well, but just keep in mind that cats and dogs have their own unique nutritional needs and they should not be allowed to eat the same food.

Raw Fish

Here in the Pacific Northwest, salmon and other raw fish can carry a fluke which in turn carries a bacteria, which can cause seizures and death if consumed raw. By cooking the fish, the danger is completely eliminated, although you must be careful to get all the bones out of the cooked fish before allowing your dog to eat it. I’ve been told that freezing the fish at a certain temperature will also kill the fluke & eliminate the problem, but I’m not comfortable with taking any kind of a chance when it comes to the health and well being of my dog, since I do not know if my freezer can get to the correct temperature or how long the fish would need to be frozen to make the raw fish safe to consume.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a spice which I have seen in recipes for homemade dog food and treats, but it is a food which dogs should actually never eat. Nutmeg has been known to cause seizures, tremors and even hallucinations in dogs.

Apple Seeds

Apple seeds and other pits from peaches, cherries and plums contain the poison cyanide, which can also cause seizures, obstruct the small intestines and cause painful inflammation for dogs. Although horses can eat their apples whole, core and all, dogs should never be allowed to eat the apple cores.

Grapes and Raisins

I first learned, via the internet, that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, seizures and even death in dogs at about the time I was reading a training book for dogs that actually advocated giving raisins as treats!  I contacted the author with my concerns and she was quite defensive. I was concerned enough to follow the internet links about this frightening claim, and I found it to be confirmed by Snopes as being true.

Other foods that are commonly on the list of what not to allow your dog to eat include:

  • macadamia nuts
  • onions
  • egg whites (the whole egg is just fine for the dog)
  • some of the species of wild mushrooms

Early signs that your dog is having an adverse reaction are vomiting and hyperactivity, followed after about a day by lethargy and depression.  If your dog has consumed anything on the list above, and exhibits any such behavior, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

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