20 Things Jack Russell Terriers Should Never Eat (Dangerous Foods)

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For all the Jack Russell Terrier parents out there, we know how irresistible those little eyes can be when they’re begging for a taste of your meal.

It’s a common scenario for dog owners, our opportunistic pets lurking under the dinner table, waiting for something to drop.

Or perhaps, you find yourself occasionally treating your Jack Russell with bits of your own food, because, why not?

However, not everything we eat is safe for our canine companions. It’s important to remember that certain human foods can be quite harmful, even deadly, for dogs.

Jack Russell Terriers, due to their smaller size, are particularly at risk. Even small amounts of these toxic foods can have serious, sometimes life-threatening, consequences for them.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 20 food items that pose a significant threat to the health of your Jack Russell Terrier.

Please note, while this list covers a lot of ground, it’s not comprehensive. There could be other foods that are harmful to dogs which are not included in this list.

As always, when in doubt, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.

Let’s dive in.

20 Dangerous Foods For Jack Russell Terriers: Chocolate, Caffeine, Alcohol, Kale, Avocados, Onions, Garlic, Chives, Grapes and Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, Nutmeg, Xylitol, Corn on the Cob, Cooked Bones, Lemons and Limes, Raw Yeast Dough, Raw Potatoes, Unripe Tomatoes, Cinnamon, Fruit Pits and Cores

1. Chocolate

Although chocolate is a treat beloved by many humans, it’s a no-go for your canine pal. Chocolate, made from cacao, contains theobromine and caffeine, substances poorly metabolized by dogs.

Consumption can lead to central nervous system stimulation, resulting in symptoms like rapid breathing, cardiac arrhythmia, and muscle spasms. It can also induce hyperthermia, and signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination can signal chocolate toxicity.

Remember, even a small piece of chocolate can be hazardous to a Jack Russell Terrier.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant found in substances like coffee beans, tea, and chocolate, is a serious concern for your Jack Russell Terrier who certainly has enough energy already.

Its ingestion can cause toxic effects such as heavy breathing, a racing heart rate, increased thirst, and diuresis, a condition marked by increased frequency and production of urine. It can also lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Always ensure your dog stays clear of caffeine-containing items to keep them safe and healthy.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol, found in beverages like beer, wine, and champagne, is severely toxic for dogs—even in minute quantities.

Consumption leads to central nervous system depression, recognizable by symptoms like sleepiness and disoriented behavior. It also induces a drop in blood sugar, leading to hypothermia, or low body temperature.

Signs your dog may have ingested alcohol include vomiting, increased thirst and urination, tremors, and in severe cases, it could even lead to coma or death.

4. Kale

Kale, a leafy green vegetable from the cabbage family, while nutritious for humans, can pose risks for dogs when consumed in large quantities.

Although small amounts aren’t likely to cause problems, a sizeable ingestion can lead to kidney and bladder stones.

This is due to kale’s high content of calcium oxalate. The crystals deposit in the urinary bladder and kidneys, potentially causing urine retention—a condition that could be life-threatening for your Jack Russell Terrier.

5. Avocados

Avocados, also known as butter fruit or alligator pear, are chock-full of micronutrients beneficial for humans, but they’re harmful to dogs.

This fruit contains a compound called persin, found not just in the fruit, but also in the seeds, leaves, and tree bark. If a dog ingests avocado, it can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Additionally, the seed poses a risk of getting stuck in the stomach or intestine, potentially causing gastric obstruction, which could be fatal

6. Onions

Onions contain a compound known as N-propyl disulfide, which is toxic to dogs. This compound induces oxidative damage to red blood cells, causing them to burst—a process known as hemolytic anemia.

This leads to a reduced number of circulating red blood cells and symptoms like paleness of the gums, lethargy, weakness, and red-colored urine, known as hematuria.

Even small amounts of onion can be harmful to your Jack Russell Terrier, so it’s best to keep all onion-containing foods out of their reach.

7. Garlic

Garlic, similar to onions, contains thiosulfate, a compound that can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.

When your Jack Russell ingests around 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kg of body weight, toxicity signs may surface. These can include rapid breathing, upset stomach, jaundice, lethargy, fainting, and dark-colored urine.

While garlic may add flavor to our dishes, it’s a hazardous ingredient for your Jack Russell Terrier. Keep them safe by avoiding garlic in their diet.

8. Chives

Chives, like onions and garlic, belong to the Allium family and contain a sulfide group that can lead to the destruction of red blood cells in dogs.

This process, known as hemolysis, results from oxidative injury to cells and occurs when chives are ingested in large quantities.

Signs of chive toxicity include paleness of gums, jaundice, dark red urine, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Ensure chives and food containing chives are kept well out of your Jack Russell Terrier’s reach.

9. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are dangerous for dogs. Often mistakenly given as treats, these fruits can cause severe gastrointestinal disturbance.

Containing tartaric acid, grapes and raisins can lead to gastric upset, and even liver and kidney failure in dogs. This applies to both seeded and seedless varieties.

Early signs of toxicity include vomiting and drooling, but other symptoms may appear, such as increased urination, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and tremors.

10. Macadamia Nuts

Though macadamia nuts are an edible treat for humans often used in desserts, they are harmful to dogs. Even a few nuts can cause significant health problems for dogs.

Signs of macadamia nut toxicity include lethargy, fever, joint stiffness, stumbling gait, and vomiting.

In addition to these symptoms, the high fat content in macadamia nuts may lead to pancreatitis—an inflammation of the pancreas.

11. Nutmeg

Nutmeg, derived from the seeds of the Myristica fragrans plant, is a popular spice used in cooking and medicine.

Despite its utility for humans, nutmeg is toxic to dogs. It can induce psychotropic effects such as hallucinations.

Additional symptoms of nutmeg ingestion in dogs include rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and seizures.

Steer clear of nutmeg in your Jack Russell Terrier’s diet to avoid these risks.

12. Xylitol (Check Your Peanut Butter!)

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in products like sugar-free gums, baked goods, candies, toothpaste, and even certain peanut butter brands, is highly toxic to dogs.

When ingested, it triggers a rapid insulin release in dogs, significantly dropping blood sugar levels and leading to hypoglycemia, hypothermia, liver failure, vomiting, and recurrent seizures.

While peanut butter can be a healthy treat for dogs, some brands contain xylitol, so it’s important to check the ingredient list to safeguard your Jack Russell Terrier’s health.

13. Corn on the Cob

While small amounts of corn are generally safe for dogs, the cob poses a serious risk.

If ingested, the cob can lead to gastric obstruction, rupture, and potentially dangerous conditions like volvulus or intussusception—where the intestine twists or folds into itself.

Symptoms of these conditions include profuse vomiting, abdominal pain, and a gas-filled stomach.

For the health and safety of your Jack Russell Terrier, avoid feeding them corn on the cob under any circumstances.

14. Cooked Bones

While raw bones can be safe for dogs, cooked bones pose a significant risk. Cooking removes collagen and nutrients, making bones brittle and likely to splinter.

These fragments can cause obstructions in the stomach or intestine, leading to acute gastroenteritis with symptoms such as severe gastrointestinal ulcers, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

Obstructions can also cause gastric distension, potentially leading to cell death (necrosis) and endotoxic shock—a life-threatening condition.

15. Lemons and Limes

While not harmful in small amounts, the citric acid in lemons and limes can disturb a dog’s acid-base balance if consumed in large quantities.

This imbalance can lead to mild stomach upset, including symptoms like colic and diarrhea.

To maintain your Jack Russell Terrier’s digestive health, limit their intake of these fruits.

16. Raw Yeast Dough

Feeding raw yeast dough to dogs is a definite no-no. Ingesting it can lead to severe gastrointestinal disturbance, as the fermenting yeast disrupts normal gut flora and creates an acidic environment in the stomach.

The fermentation process also produces ethanol, triggering signs of alcohol toxicity such as impaired CNS function and tremors.

Symptoms of raw yeast dough ingestion include nausea, retching, colic, difficulty breathing, excessive salivation, and disorientation.

17. Raw Potatoes

Feeding your Jack Russell Terrier raw potatoes is not advisable. While boiled potatoes in moderation can be beneficial, raw potatoes contain a compound called solanine, which is toxic for dogs.

As a cholinesterase inhibitor, solanine blocks the release of acetylcholine, inhibiting the nervous system. Solanine poisoning can lead to stomach upset, breathing difficulty, arrhythmia, liver damage, muscle weakness, and tremors.

To keep your dog safe, always ensure potatoes are thoroughly boiled to reduce their solanine content.

18. Unripe Tomatoes

Avoid giving your Jack Russell Terrier unripe tomatoes, as well as its plants and leaves. These contain toxins such as solanine and tomatine, which are harmful to dogs.

Ingesting these can lead to symptoms of toxicity like hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, incoordination, and tremors.

To be safe, it’s best to avoid feeding any tomatoes to your dog.

19. Cinnamon

While small amounts of cinnamon are safe, it’s essential to be mindful with this spice around your Jack Russell Terrier.

Cinnamon’s essential oils, if consumed in large quantities, can lead to mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset and potential liver disease. Moreover, cinnamon can irritate the mouth, throat, and digestive system of dogs.

Always use this spice sparingly if giving it to your pet.

20. Fruit Pits and Cores (Peaches, Apples, Plums, etc.)

While fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and watermelons can be enjoyed by dogs, the pits and cores of fruits like peaches, apples, and plums should be strictly avoided.

These contain toxins like amygdalin, a form of cyanide, which can cause serious health issues. Despite the need for a large number of seeds to reach a toxic dose, the risk remains.

Moreover, these pits and cores can also pose a choking hazard.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn’t

In the event your dog consumes something harmful, it’s essential to stay calm.

Swiftly remove the item from your dog’s reach and contact your vet or the ASPCA poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Don’t wait for symptoms to appear – early intervention is key.

Your vet may induce vomiting, perform gastric lavage, or administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of toxins, alongside specific antidotes, supportive therapy, and IV fluids.

Prevention, however, is the best remedy. Always ensure hazardous foods are out of your dog’s reach to prevent these incidents in the future.

Dr. Shahzaib Wahid DVM

Dr. Shahzaib Wahid, DVM, currently works an Associate Veterinarian at an animal clinic in Islamabad, Pakistan. As an experienced veterinarian, Dr. Wahid has a passion for providing advice and helping pet owners.

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