When we bring home a four-legged best friend, we shower them with all our love, cuddles and all things nice. Often times, as our canine friends so beautifully adjust to the family, we forget that they are indeed very different from us.
They need their own cosmetic and care products, toys and most importantly food that is exclusively for them. It is especially important to ensure that we do not feed our pet with food items that could be harmful to them. Here is a list of food items that are quite common in our diet but might be very harmful to our dogs:
Chocolate, Candy or Baked Goods
This is the most obvious one. Goes without saying that a lot of us love chocolates. And while we munch off on our bar of pure cocoa goodness, we might feel like sharing a bite with the puppy-eyed monster, our dog.
Chocolate contains Theobromine. Theobromine isn’t harmful to humans, but it’s the toxic part of chocolate for dogs. It’s found in all kinds of chocolate, but especially in dark chocolate and baking chocolate. Candies and baked goods, on the other hand, are different. The real culprit when it comes to these sweets is an ingredient called xylitol. It causes an insulin surge through your dog’s body that can lead to a drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
These food items can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhoea, and become overly thirsty, but on the more extreme side, it can cause abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, tremors, or even death.
Your dog does not need to go through any of this to enjoy a bite of your favourite dessert. Hence, it would be better if you save the sweets for your sweet tooth only!
Milk and Other Dairy Products
Desserts remind us of ice cream. And what is ice cream made of? Milk. You may have slipped your dog a bowl of milk sometime in the past, but dogs aren’t really built to process cow milk products. They don't produce the enzyme required to break down milk sugar, and while some dogs can handle dairy better than others, many dogs are lactose intolerant.
If you have a rescue puppy or an indie, they may be more tolerant of dairy and dairy products. However, it is not a good idea to feed your dog any of these. Milk and milk products are simply not good for your doggo and we have science to prove it.
So the next time you think of passing that bar of cheese to your fluff ball, think twice.
Raw Meat, Fish and Eggs
A lot of people feel that feeding your dog raw meat, fish and eggs will make them stronger and more resilient.
Even though vets are have seen health benefits of switching to raw meat diets, including healthier skin and coats, cleaner teeth, and easier digestion, most vets recommend cooking raw food to kill off bacteria and parasites that can be harmful to dogs. Even the FDA discourages feeding raw meat to dogs, as there is a real risk of salmonella and E. coli infections in canines.
Raw eggs have enzymes that can cause skin conditions in dogs, and raw fish can hide parasites that cause chronic diseases.
You need to weigh the risks against the benefits before you decide to try it. These risks can be reduced through freezing and proper preparation, but you need to learn how to properly handle raw food before you feed it to your dog.
You can read more about this here: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks
Salt, though not a part of our ancient diet, is a staple in most things we eat today. Salt gives our dishes a vibrant taste that we all have learned to love. It is not good for our canine friends, however.
Salt can cause a condition called sodium ion poisoning, besides excessive thirst or urination. Symptoms of eating too much salt might include vomiting, diarrhoea, high body temperature, and seizures, in addition to bloat.
When plate feeding your dog from your meal, you may feed them more salt than they can safely handle. Salt can be fatal, so keep it to a minimum in the foods you share with your pup.
Garlic and Onion
We spice up and add flavour to what we consume all the time. Garlic and Onions are the most commonly used additives that are inexpensively delicious. Some people hate the star combo of garlic and onion and some people love it.
Regardless, these pungent ingredients are bad news for dogs. They can actually destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anaemia, if consumed in high quantities. This is a tricky one because a small dose might not do much harm. But a large dose or regular small doses can lead to poisoning. Symptoms might include weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and a loss of interest in food.
If you indeed want to give more flavour into your dog’s meal, add a dog food curry mix, or cook some veggies up with no salt, sugar, garlic or onions.
Other Vegetables and Fruits
Other than onions and garlic, there are certain other ‘people foods’ that you should avoid feeding your pooch. Fruits and vegetables may seem to be healthy and harmless, but some can be really bad for your dog’s health.
Among fruits, grapes, raisins, coconut, avocado, cherries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, plums and raspberries are to be avoided. Avoid giving your doggo tomatoes, leeks and asparagus when it comes to vegetables. These either cannot be digested in your pup’s stomach or contain elements that are harmful to the little one.
Mushrooms are one of those foods that people tend to either love or hate, but what about dogs?
While only a small amount of mushroom species are toxic to our dogs, it’s important to make sure you aren’t feeding the wrong ones if you ever share them with your dog. Mushroom toxicity can be fatal in dogs, resulting from seizures, tremors, and organ failure.
Nuts, including almonds, cashews and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
Macadamia nuts especially can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours. According to vets, a dose of about two nuts per pound of body weight can result in poisoning that can lead to a temporary inability to walk.
The cooking process makes bones more brittle than raw ones, making them more likely to splinter when a dog chews them. These splinters can be deadly to animals in general, but especially to dogs that are domesticated.
Potential outcomes include broken teeth, mouth injuries, constipation, and most concerning, a blockage or perforation in the intestinal tract. That can also cause peritonitis or inflammation around the stomach tissue.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. A couple of laps of tea or coffee are unlikely to do any harm, but if your dog swallows a handful of coffee beans or tea bags they could be in danger. Signs and treatment of caffeine poisoning are similar to chocolate toxicity.
Alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. When consumed, even small quantities of alcoholic beverages and food products may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, blood changes, coma and even death. So, remember to keep alcohol well out of your dog’s reach.
At the end of the day, don't make it a habit to feed your dog off your plate. Maybe once in a while, when the food you are eating is safe for your dog and you are feeling a lot of love, but not too often. This will let your doggo know that her/his food is special and s/he needs to wait for it to come. This way, s/he will not look at your food with droopy eyes the next time you eat and in turn save you from the inner turmoil between giving into your pup’s desires and caring for her/his health.