Monday, June 15, 2009
By Linda Cole
Most dog owners have faced a begging dog sitting at our feet as we eat a meal or snack. Even though we know our food isn't particularly healthy for them, we still toss a choice tidbit every now and then. If you are among the many who can't resist those begging eyes staring up at you, keep in mind there are certain foods you should never feed your dog under any circumstances. Food that is safe for us can be deadly for your pet.
Chocolate tops the list of foods you should never feed your dog. The darker it is, the more deadly for your pet. Chocolate affects your dog's nervous system and heart, and can cause seizures and death. Depending on a dog's size and weight and how dark the chocolate is, a small amount won't hurt them, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that so far is unknown and can cause kidney failure. Just a few grapes or raisins can be deadly for your pet.
Onions and garlic, whether raw, powdered or cooked, can cause anemia by destroying red blood cells. Some people swear garlic helps control fleas, but great caution needs to be taken if you have or are now using garlic as a flea control. It's not as toxic as onions, but can cause anemia over a prolonged period of time.
Macadamia nuts and walnuts, like grapes and raisins, are foods you should not feed your pet. They are high in phosphorous which can lead to bladder stones. They can also cause muscle tremors and even paralysis. Organic peanut butter is fine to give to your dog if they like the taste of nuts. Most dogs love peanut butter. Stick with organic, however, to avoid overloading your pet with sugar and pesticides found in regular peanut butter.
Cooked bones of any kind, especially fish bones, can splinter easily and get lodged in your pet's throat or digestive system. Raw bones like the round stew bones that can be found at the grocery store are fine, but watch to make sure your dog doesn't swallow one whole. Once it begins to crack or splinter, throw it away.
Fruit with pits, like peaches or apples, are okay for your pet to eat, but the pit or seeds have cyanide in them. Do not let your pet chew on any fruit pits or seeds. Seeds from apples or cherries can lodge in your dog's intestines and cause severe damage quickly.
Raw eggs are a great source for salmonella. They can also manifest skin problems created by an enzyme, avidin, that is present in the raw egg. This enzyme slows absorption of a B vitamin called biotin. Vitamins are essential for healthy skin and coat and help build strong muscles and aid in growth.
Other foods you should not feed your dog: tomato leaves and stems, potato leaves and stems, avocados, nutmeg, salt, persimmons, mushrooms (except for shitaki, maitake or reishi) and sugar – not even organic. Honey and molasses in small amounts are fine. Avoid raw red meat high in fat. Cut out excess fat before feeding to your pet. Raw red meat is fantastic for cats and dogs. No raw fish or chicken.
Our dogs are notorious beggars. If in doubt about a certain food, just don't give it to them. Make sure your pet doesn't root through the garbage can inside or out while you are away. It's our job to know which foods we should never feed our dogs. They don't know and will more than likely eat just about anything we offer them or nab what they can dig out of the garbage can.
If your dog does manage to eat something you know they should not have eaten, call your vet immediately. It can make the difference between a healthy pet and a seriously ill pet in a life threatening emergency.
Read more articles by Linda Cole