Posted on 15th Apr, 2015: Let me set one thing straight – that beloved pooch, your darling puppy, is not your child! It is a dog, who has dog body parts and needs dog food. Treating them like an extension of you is very nice, but it may not always be such a good thing for your dog.
But he or she loves you very much. And you just want them to have nice things, right?
I am only being so hard on your because a) I am just as bad as you are when it comes to my puppies and cat, and b) some food that we feed our animals with so much love and warm feelings, is just not safe for them.
Pet parents, around the world, will agree that feeding your animals tasty human treats is such a good feeling. Watching your dog lap up the yummy food is probably one of the best feelings in this world. We must be mindful of the fact that dogs and cats have very different digestive systems from ours. They require very different nutrients to function well which means that some food products that are good for us, may be poisonous to our pooch.
Here are some common food and food products that are unsafe for your dog:
Xylitol: It is an artificial sweetener that has made it to the Unsafe for Pets list very recently. Found in most any processed food – chewing gum to cookies and cakes, xylitol is very, very dangerous for your dog. Symptoms can show up anywhere between 30 minutes from eating it to 12 hours after. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death, even when it is ingested in very small amounts. You must treat xylitol poisoning, quickly and aggressively, or you can endanger the life of your dog.
Grapes and raisins: While some dogs have been known to eat grapes for years without any adverse reactions, some others have not done so well. Grapes and raisins have been found to cause kidney failure in some dogs. This seems to change on a case by case basis, but why take the chance, right?
Chocolate: We have all heard of how chocolate is toxic for your dog. It is the cocoa in chocolate that gives it its toxicity (or in case, you are a human being its good taste). Dark chocolates, with over 60-70 % cocoa, are particularly bad for the pooches. Even more so than milk chocolates. Cocoa can cause abnormal heartbeats, kidney failure and can even be fatal. A toxic dose is dependent on the dog’s weight, hence smaller dogs are at greater risk from even small amounts of cocoa.
Onions: There might be good reasons that some vegetarians prefer the satvik diet, without onions or garlic. Onions can cause anaemia, leading to life-threatening conditions especially in case you are unable to find a donor for your dog’s blood transfusion. So avoid risking his/her life by giving them anything that has onion, cooked or raw.
Alcohol: Dogs can get a lot more drunk on just a little bit of alcohol than humans can. They just cannot handle their drink! Alcoholic drinks – beer, wine and grain alcohol; cocktails, mixers and syrups; even bread dough containing yeast, can all cause intoxication in your dog. This, in turn, can cause vomiting, stupor, and disorientation. In some extreme cases, coma, seizures and even death have been recorded. Monitor your dog closely, if it comes in contact with alcohol and if symptoms persist, take it to the vet, immediately.
Caffeine: In large quantities, caffeine causes restlessness, heart palpitations, muscle tremors or fits, breathing difficulties, bleeding and even, death. Caffeine is also present in cola drinks, chocolates, energy drinks and some cold medicines.
Mouldy food: So if the bread has gone bad and you wouldn’t eat it, why should your dog? Some moulds that appear on food, produce a toxin called tremorgenic mycotoxins. These toxins cause muscle tremors that get progressively worse till they become convulsions that could kill your dog.
Peaches, plums, avocados: These fruits come with a large pit or seed. If swallowed, their pits get stuck in the GI tract of the animal and cause intestinal obstruction. This is a painful condition for the dog and treatment is just as uncomfortable.
Raw eggs: Food poisoning from the E.coli bacteria in raw eggs is a real danger. Plus, the enzymes in raw eggs keep Vitamin B from being properly digested by your dog’s system.
Excessive salt and sugar: Now this is not healthy for us, so a dog doesn’t stand a chance against junk food. Salt causes excessive thirst and urination and even, sodium ion poisoning. While sugary foods cause dental problems and obesity.
If your dog eats any of these things, accidentally or on purpose, you have to act fast. Consult a vet immediately and try to get your dog to vomit. Cesar Millan advises using some peroxide to do this. Keep giving your dog some peroxide by mouth, every few minutes, till it vomits. But do this while you are rushing toward professional medical help.
Human food can be doggy-safe too
That’s right! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of the joy of making your darling dog happy, now would I? Here are some tasty treats that you can give your dog, but only once in a while as a reward or treat. Don’t try to switch normal dog food or every day meals with these option. Some of them will give you a very obese puppy.
Fresh yogurt: What we call dahi. You can give your dogs the store bought variety as well, but make sure that it is plain and does not contain any preserved fruit or artificial sweeteners.
Peanut butter: Try to source the unsalted/unsweetened variety and your puppy will love it. And you can reassured that your dog is getting a good source of protein, healthy heart fats, Vitamins B and E and niacin.
Cheese: Only for the non-lactose intolerant dog. Monitor your dog’s digestive reactions when you first give them some cheese. Paneer or cottage cheese is very good source of protein for dogs and is easy on their stomachs. Store bought low fat cheese is also a good option, but don’t go overboard.
Baby carrots: Make an excellent low fat, high fibre snack. Some dogs don’t particularly like it though, May be you can smear some peanut butter on one and see if your dog likes it better. Carrots are also loaded with beta carotene which contains Vitamin A, keeping your dog’s teeth and eyes in tip top shape.
Pumpkin: Is another good source of beta-carotene related Vitamin A and fibre. It aids in digestion by keeping the gastro-intestinal tract in good health.
Eggs: A good protein source, packed with digestible riboflavin and selenium that gives your dog a good boost, but also bad breath. Beware of the after-licks.
Apple slices: cut and cored, apples can help take the residue off of your dog’s teeth too. Fibre, Vitamins A and C, make it a sweet and crunchy snack for your dog.
Oatmeal: A good bowel regulator, especially for old dogs. Cooked oatmeal, without sugar or any other flavouring, is a soluble fibre source that can serve as an alternate grain for wheat-intolerant dogs.