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Foods That Can Cause Your Dog to Have Seizures

As anyone who follows this blog already knows, I believe that commercial dog food is a culprit for many illnesses in a dog, and that it contributed to or may even have caused Cory’s seizures.  The reason I came to that conclusion is that Cory’s seizures gradually were reduced once we stopped feeding him kibble and canned dog food, until they stopped completely over 5 years ago, without ever putting him on anti-epileptic drugs.  But, did you know that there are other foods that can harm your dog’s health, even causing seizures?   Some of these caught me by surprise!

  • Chocolate.  Almost everyone knows that chocolate can cause seizures and even death in a dog.  One day Cory got into Jayson’s stash of Halloween chocolate.  He had consumed quite a bit of it when Jayson discovered him, with Cory’s head deep inside the bowl of chocolate bars and his tail wagging with exuberant glee.  Jayson called poison control and was advised to pour Hydrogen Peroxide liquid down Cory’s throat, which made Cory vomit.  Happily I had Hydrogen Peroxide in the cupboard where I keep first aid supplies. Jayson took Cory outside for this messy task.  We were very lucky that Jayson found out about it soon enough so that no harm was done.  If you suspect your dog has consumed chocolate and you are not sure when it happened, call your veterinarian immediately.  If you catch your dog in the act, then try the Hydrogen Peroxide treatment.  Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.
  • Onions or Products Containing Onion Powder.  These contain sulfoxides and disulfides which can cause damage to the red blood cells, resulting in the dog becoming anemic.
  • Raw Fish.  Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, salmon and other fish often carry a fluke which in turn carries a bacteria which can cause seizures and death if consumed raw. The danger is completely eliminated if you cook the fish first, although you have to 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 enough of a scientist to know what that temperature is or how long the fish would need to be frozen in order to be comfortable feeding raw fish to my dog.
  • Nutmeg.  Not that it ever occurred to me to sprinkle nutmeg on Cory’s chow, but apparently it can cause tremors, seizures and death.  Just don’t share any of your cookies containing nutmeg with your pooch and you should be OK with this one.
  • Mushrooms.  Some mushrooms contain toxins that can cause problems for a dog, especially wild ones.  I knew this and was alert to keeping Cory away from mushrooms on our walks.  “Leave it” is a great command to teach your dog early.
  • Cat food.  Cory is not going to like it that I found out about this one, as he loves to lick the kitty’s plate after she finishes her canned food.  It turns out that cat food is too high in protein and fats for dogs to eat.  OK, maybe he can still lick the kitty’s plate, but don’t substitute cat food as meal for your pup.
  • Apple seeds.  Apple seeds and other pits from fruit contain the poison cyanide, which can cause seizures.
  • Grapes and Raisins.  When I first learned that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs it was at the same 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 very defensive, saying that she had always used raisins as training treats for her dogs.  All I can say is be aware of the risks and do more research before giving grapes or raisins to your dog.
  • Egg whites.  It is OK to feed your dog a whole egg, but there is a danger in splitting the egg whites off and feeding them without the yoke, because they contain a protein known as avidin, which can actually deplete your dog of one of the essential B vitamins. Apparently the yoke contains the antidote to this protein, so if the egg is served whole, there is nothing to be concerned about.