Hazardous things your beagle might eat


Apart from the obvious things like bleach, toadstools and plastic that beagles might eat there are a number of things that are not safe for beagles. In fact, they apply to all dogs that explore their world by taking things into their mouth. Below is a selection of the most common hazards. If your dog eats anything that you have not offered it is always wise to check whether it might be unsafe. If you are unsure then phone for a veterinary opinion and you might be asked to bring the dog down to the surgery to make it vomit.

Chocolate: dogs are not able to metabolise theobromine a constituent of cocoa that means chocolate is toxic for them. The higher the cocoa content ie the higher the quality of the chocolate the more dangerous it is. Beware that garden centres sell cocoa mulch in their bark for flowerbeds, dogs are often attracted to eat this and it is also toxic.

Onions: these cause problems with the red blood cells as they form Heinz Bodies which means they become more fragile and thus do not last as long. This leads to acute anaemia as the red cells burst and are not replaced quickly enough. If dogs eat a lot of onion they can actually die of this so beware of giving dogs human stews, casseroles and so on and watch out for BBQ food-kebabs are often grabbed by dogs attending parties.

Xylitol this is a naturally occurring sugar, which is found in plants. It is not as calorific as sugar so is used as a substitute in foods and chewing gums but dogs, unlike humans, cannot tolerate eating much of it-only a gram in some cases can be toxic. In dogs, it lowers the blood glucose and this can be to live threatening levels. It can also cause liver damage in dogs.

Grapes: these and the dried versions of the same family such as raisins and currants can cause acute renal failure. Several cases have been studied over the years and no one has isolated a common factor in all cases. Some dogs seem to be able to eat them with no effects but others have complete kidney shut down. The main culprit is thought to be toxic mould but this is not definitively proven. However, if your beagle eats any or a high fruit cake then it is wise to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to make your dog vomit.

House and garden plants: several plants can be toxic, it is not always the obvious bits like the berries so if you bring plants into the house or your dog chews any out in the garden do check what the species is and any possible problems. For instance Poinsettias, Daffodil bulbs, Orchid pollen can cause big problems.

Anti-freeze: this is ethylene glycol commonly used in the coolant of vehicles to stop it freezing in cold weather and also in hydraulic brake fluid. It has a sweet taste making it attractive to dogs who may lick at a puddle on the ground when it is topped up or if the radiator is leaking. Initially, it causes nausea and vomiting but as the body breaks it down the breakdown products (metabolites) cause irregularities within the blood and dysfunction of the circulation followed by kidney failure. If the dog is treated within a few hours of ingestion the vet may use strong alcohol as an antidote but once it gets past a few hours the outlook is not great. Some animals survive with aggressive intravenous fluids for several days.