Dangerous to dogs
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Dangerous to dogs

Wonka would eat just about anything — including the raisins that poisoned him

WEST BRATTLEBORO — Our family recently had to say goodbye to a dear, sweet friend. It was and continues to be heartbreaking, and each one of us is struggling to find ways to cope with the loss.

Our 5-year-old chocolate labrador, Wonka Buttercup, died of renal disease. Watching your family dog in the prime of his life rapidly decline to the point where he is unable to eat is terribly sad.

And knowing that it was his love of eating and his “dietary indiscretion'' that put him there? That makes it all the harder to bear.

Wonka was everything we wanted in a dog - a loveable, 90-pound goofball who was as “labby” as they come. He loved people, was scared of the 10-pound cat, thought he would still fit on your lap, and would eat just about anything.

It started when he was a puppy, searching out and eating free-range-chicken eggs that were way past their prime. Labs don't learn their lessons - to him the bellyaches and sleepless nights that followed were just part of the deal.

Eventually, he graduated to being a class-A beggar, polite as could be, and usually minding his manners, although he would often lick the air in hopes that those tantalizing smells would fill his bottomless belly.

If too tempted, he might forget and snag something that was cooling on the counter, coming to his senses after finishing off the last bite and looking at you with his big brown eyes full of shame ... until the next bit of fun came his way.

* * *

The kitchen is a fascinating place to dogs, and we've probably all heard of some human food items that are poisonous to them.

Chocolate was the one that I was most familiar with, and Wonka, who had a sweet tooth, found and ate his share of that.

It was raisins that caused Wonka's fatal illness - even after we made him vomit them up and we kept close watch on him with the help of our dedicated veterinarians.

We hoped that we had been able to halt the deterioration of his kidneys, but almost three months after the original incident, it was clear that we hadn't.

Each dog is different, and raisins don't affect some dogs at all, but knowing what foods are generally toxic is the first step in making sure that dogs are kept healthy.

The following foods are known to be dangerous to dogs:

• Alcoholic beverages

• Avocados

• Caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.)

• Chocolate

• Garlic and onions

• Grapes and raisins

• Hops

• Macadamia nuts

• Moldy food

• Walnuts

• Xylitol (a sugar alcohol used as sweetener)

• Yeast/bread dough

We miss you, Wonka, and hope that this list is helpful to other dog owners.

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