Things You Should NEVER Feed Your Dog
The Dangers of People Food
As dog owners, we all have a responsibility to raise our beloved pups to the best of our abilities. Many of us see them as little humans, "our babies" so to speak, and therefore, we let them do human things, like eat people food. Unfortunately, if we are not careful, we can feed them something that could make them really sick, or even kill them. This is why it's good to educate yourself on animal safety and bear in mind that our pets don't know what's not safe for them to eat - heck, they'll eat anything. Here's a list of things that dogs should never eat.
Food that can kill your dog
- Alcohol - This should be a no brainer, but there are idiots out there who think giving their pets alcohol is great entertainment. These people should not have pets, and the consequences are most unfortunate. Consumption of alcohol for dogs can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, damage to the central nervous system, difficulty breathing, and more. If the damage is severe enough, intoxication can put your pup in a coma or even kill it.
- Avocados (fruit, pit, and plant) - While harmless to humans, persin, which is a fungicidal toxin found in avocados, is fatal to many animals, damaging heart, lung and other vital tissue. Animals affected by consumption of this fruit experience breathing problems, swelling of the abdomen, and excessive fluids in the torso, especially surrounding the heart. Not only that, their high fat content can lead to pancreatitis.
- Chocolate (especially Baker's and unsweetened - the darker, the deadlier) - A misconception among some is that only cats can get sick from chocolate, when in fact it is incredibly lethal for dogs as well. The threatening factor is theobrime, which gives chocolate its bitter flavor. It has the potential to overstimulate a dog's central nervous system and cause heart palpitations. Also, it causes seizures, vomiting, and can lead to a coma. It only takes a small amount in comparison with the dog's weight to result in dire consequences. Symptoms are not immediate, so if your dog accidentally consumes chocolate and seems okay, please disregard that and take him or her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Death is a serious possibility, occurring within 24-hours of consumption. While on the topic of chocolate, please note that anything with high caffeine content (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc) is highly poisonous to your pet.
- Grapes and Raisins - While the deadly toxin in these hasn't been pinpointed, the effect it has on dogs is serious. Even small amounts over time should never, ever be fed to your pets. The toxins can build in the dog's system, leading to kidney failure and potential death.
- Certain nuts - These can be extremely harmful to dogs, especially macadamia nuts and walnuts. Like chocolate, symptoms are not immediate, appearing within 12 hours of consumption. Ingestion of nuts can result in paralysis, hyperthermia, inability to stand or walk, tremors, and death. Watch out for cookies, cakes, and anything containing nuts that your dog may try to consume. Take note: all nuts are not bad for dogs!! Also, peanuts are legumes, not nuts, so peanut butter isn't a threat for your beloved pooch. In fact, smear it on their tongue or favorite toy and make their day!
- Onions, garlic, and chives - While cats are more affected by consuming these, it is still very dangerous to allow dogs to consume them. Not only can these cause gastrointestinal irritation and difficulty breathing, but the sulfoxides and disulfides in them are highly dangerous. They can destroy red blood cells (which are crucial for delivering oxygen to body tissues) and cause anemia. Garlic is less toxic than onions, and if you look careful, you'll see that a lot of the cheaper dog food brands contain small doses of garlic powder. While this hasn't been proven to be an issue in smaller doses, there is the potential for buildup in the system. This is enough for me to avoid any pet product with garlic in it. I don't see the point of putting anything that has any potential for hurting a dog into its food.
- Raw meats and eggs - As we know, these can contain deadly bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can be harmful to both humans and pets. They can also contain parasites, such as roundworms, which can make your dog ill or even kill it. Additionally, any raw bones that may reside in the meat can splinter, piercing internal organs, or become lodged in the dog's throat or digestive tract.
- Seeds and pits found in fruits, such as apples, cherries, and peaches - Believe it or not, these contain cyanide. Yes, cyanide, the poison that leads to comas, seizures, breathing difficulties, permanent paralysis, liver and kidney damage, and cardiac arrest. Sound scary? Well, these are symptoms that can happen to people as well, if they consume enough seeds and pits. Pets, however, are at a greater risk.
- Tomatoes (plant and fruit) - These have two deadly factors: tomatine and atropine, both of which are poisonous. Dogs that eat these can experience lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, seizures, coma, and death. The threat is smaller in green tomatoes or ripe tomatoes, but the risk is still there. Like garlic, some cheaper dog foods will contain tomato pomace, a filler that is a combination of leftovers from making tomato sauce, paste and juice. Since pomace is made from ripe tomatoes, the risk is greatly minimalized, but once again, why put something in dog food that can be even the slightest bit unsafe? Fun fact: all parts, minus the actual tomato, are poisonous to humans.
- Yeast dough - If a dog consumes yeast dough, it can damage its digestive system and even result in a very painful death. The dough still has the ability to rise inside your pup's body, possibly rupturing the stomach and intestines. Bread is a safer bet for your pet, since the dough is cooked - however, this should only be in very small amounts, or even better, not at all. The high caloric intake can lead to an obese pet.
- Xylitol - This natural sugar substitute is especially dangerous, as it can be found in so many different products, such as chewing gum, some toothpaste, sugar-free candy and baked goods, and various beverages. Upon ingesting anything with xylitol (even in a small amount) your dog's body will respond by releasing a surge of insulin, launching your pet into hypoglycemia-induced convulsions. Hypoglycemia, which is when your blood sugar is dangerously too low, leads to vomiting, seizures, coma, possible liver failure, and death. Please watch your dog around any products that are sugar-free or reduced sugar. It only takes one gram of xylitol to kill a 10-pound dog. One 3.75-oz cup of sugar-free pudding has 7 grams of xylitol in it, enough to kill a large dog. This goes to show that the concept of "Oh, it's just a little bite, so it won't hurt my dog!" is a thought that can kill your beloved pup. It's not worth it to give your dog what you think is a treat. That's what dog biscuits are for.
There are far more dangerous things your beloved pets could get into, but these are some of the main foods that tend to be in households.
What is your dog's favorite pass time?
While we're on the topic of dogs... - let's discuss something I love most!
Long fur, short fur, it doesn't matter. All dogs seem to shed, whether it's a few hairs here or enough to make a doggy toupee. The one thing that saves the day at our house is the Furminator. It's a little more costly than the standard dog brush, but it's worth it! It actually goes into the undercoat of the dog, pulling all the lose hair out. It's painless, easy, and you won't believe how much fur you'll wind up with! I can brush and brush, and when I'm done, my dog is clean and her coat is shiny and best of all, my furniture and rugs aren't covered in white dog hair. I've tried other brushes, but nothing works like the Furminator. It's my new best friend! Oh, and they have them for cats, too, so cat lovers rejoice! :)