Foods That Can Kill
Many different kinds of foods have been noted for their ability to make dogs ill, and some can be lethal even in small amounts. The risk of becoming ill from ingesting a substance is much higher in the Chihuahua than in dogs of greater body weights. A small amount of food that might make a mid- to large-sized dog queasy could be more than enough to kill a Chi. The tinier the Chi, of course, the greater the risk of becoming ill, making young puppies particularly susceptible.
Before an emergency arises, know how to contact your veterinarian after hours or the way to the emergency clinic when your veterinarian is not available. Also, keep the ASPCA's twenty-four-hour poison hotline number available: (888) 426-4435.
Owners often think that just because they find something offensive to eat (such as the garbage, expired dairy products, or rancid cold cuts), their Chihuahuas will also find these items offensive and will completely avoid them. Wrong. There's no accounting for a Chi's sense of taste. Some dogs just don't seem to care and will eat everything and anything. Your best bet is to keep all food items, fresh or otherwise, away from your Chihuahua.
In addition to foods that are more obviously likely to make a Chi ill, there are foods that owners don't realize are poisonous to dogs. These are foods that owners enjoy eating themselves and are more likely to share as a special treat for their Chi. These foods include chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and others.
Less than an ounce of chocolate can induce seizures, coma, and even death in the Chihuahua. That's because chocolate contains a high concentration of methylxanthine alkaloids, compounds that include theobromine and caffeine. Both of those are toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the higher the poison concentration. Therefore, baker's chocolate is more poisonous than dark chocolate, and dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate.
A Chi puppy of only eleven ounces could show serious signs of illness by eating only a few candy-coated pieces of chocolate or a bite-sized piece of candy. If you keep candy dishes out in your home, empty them. And don't think that just because the chocolate is kept up on a counter or on a table that it is safe from your Chi. These dogs are extremely athletic as well as clever. If there's something they really, really want, chances are they'll figure out a way to get to it. Store chocolate in closed cabinets.
Oft considered the fruit of gods, grapes are definitely not the fruit of dogs. What a shame, too, as dogs seem to love popping seedless grapes and raisins as much as we do. Unfortunately, it has come to light that this fruit is harmful to dogs. Within the last few years a significant number of clinical cases have been recorded in which dogs have become ill or died due to ingesting grapes or raisins.
My friend thinks it's funny to allow his dog to drink beer — is this safe?
Absolutely not! Allowing a dog to lap up even small amounts of beer, wine, or any other liquor can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, depression of the central nervous system, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and death.
To date, no one knows exactly what chemical in grapes and raisins is toxic to dogs, but whatever it is affects the dogs' kidneys. After eating the fruit, symptoms include diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain that lasts for several days or even weeks. If a lethal amount of the fruit has been eaten, death occurs from kidney failure. For the three-pound Chihuahua, these effects could set in with the ingestion of only a few grapes or raisins. As with chocolate, keep grapes and raisins in an inaccessible location.
Uncooked Meats and Fish
There may be nothing more enticing to a dog than a nice hunk of raw chicken thawing on the counter, a pack of ground beef, or some freshly cleaned fish. There are diets in which raw foods are used to create a holistic meal. Many dogs thrive on these raw meat, vegetable, and grain diets. Be aware, however, that bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella are always an issue with raw meats. Raw fish may also contain unwanted bacteria or even parasites.
Other Unsafe Foods
Though not necessarily lethal, other common foods that can wreak havoc with your Chihuahua's gastrointestinal tract include uncooked rice, foods with high salt contents, and meats containing small, hollow bones, such as cooked chicken. Other foods on the no-no list include these:
Onions and onion powder
Any product sweetened with xylitol (a sweetener found in many sugar-free gums and candies)
Even if a food is not generally considered toxic to dogs, too much of anything can be a dangerous situation for a Chi. Though Chihuahuas often forget to eat because they are too busy playing, there are some Chis that, if given the opportunity, will gorge themselves on forbidden foods, such as a stash of cookies or a cooling roast. If your Chi gets into something she shouldn't, call your veterinarian and explain the situation. It may or may not require a trip to the veterinarian, but it's far better to play it safe.