We love our dogs. To most, dogs are a part of the family. So it stands to reason that we want them to remain healthy. We know they should eat healthy like humans, but we don’t always give their health a thought when they are sitting there with their doe-eyes, quietly (or not so quietly in some instances) pleading for a scrap, just some bite of that tasty morsel their human is enjoying. My dogs in particular each have their own ways of begging. They both, of course, linger around the table at dinnertime, or snack time, or feeding the cats time. Basically I can find them in the kitchen area at any given moment where even the slightest hint of food preparation or the opening of a bag (or cupboard for that matter) brings a promise of something delicious. Personally I find it a bit annoying at times, but there they are anyways!
Melmin, my Puggle, will casually saunter around to where the table is, perhaps believing in that adorable head of his, that no one is aware of his propensity of skulking. Once he finds a favorable spot in which to sit, he goes even further with his belief of canine deception in a way that causes more laughter at the table than not. As he sits there, if one were to glance his way, he immediately turns his head as if something on the wall beside him has captivated his attention. If one were to continue to looking at him, the captivation of attention becomes most intense. Or so it would seem if you didn’t happen to notice him looking at you through the corner of his eye. When one turns away, he once again brings his attention to the high probability that someone is going to, ever so slyly, bring a hand under the table that within it holds a treasure to behold.
Melmin inhales his food too. It’s ridiculous really, how fast the food disappears! If he even chews much of it, I’d be surprised. Lexi (our Pitbull) on the other hand is very gentle. She isn’t the least bit food motivated. Don’t get me wrong, she will eat it if it is offered, but she doesn’t beg like Melmin. With that being said however, she does assume her position under the table every night. Most nights she lays there gnawing on a Nylabone (the ones that scratch your feet and hurt like hell if you step on them!) almost as though she could take a handout or leave it. She never leaves it though, unless it’s lettuce. Never fear however! Melmin will eat that too!!
So that brings to mind a thought that perhaps a reminder is in order of things such as food and medicines that must be avoided for our canine companions. The following is not an all-inclusive list but is meant to give you incentive to do more research on the subject should you feel so inclined. A couple of great online resources of information about pet poison are the Pet Poison Hotline and the ASPCA Poison Control. Without further ado, I give you the list:
Avocados have something called persin. It’s fine for people who aren’t allergic to it. But too much might be poisonous to dogs. If you grow avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as the fruit.
Alcohol contains ethanol, which is toxic for canines. Alcohol can even be fatal for dogs, depending on the ingested amount and the content of ethanol. Never give your dog alcohol on purpose, and if he accidentally swallows some, you should visit the vet to prevent complications.
Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine Sources:
Caffeine contains methylxanthines. Ingested in small amounts may cause your pet to be mildly affected, but when a large portion is consumed (for example, if your pet eats the coffee filter and the contents) the effects could be more drastic. A stimulant to the central nervous system, a veterinary visit is essential if your pet consumes any caffeine.
It is important to know items that contain this poisonous drug. Types of substances that contain caffeine besides coffee and tea are:
Protein bars, energy drinks, chocolate bars, sodas, diet pills, ice cream that contains chocolate, yogurt that contains cocoa, and hot chocolate.
Symptoms of caffeine poisoning are: hyperactivity, shaking, panting, agitation, nervousness, hypertension, rapid heartbeat, hypothermia (cold), and seizures.
When a large portion is consumed, symptoms are more severe: neurologic (for example seizures), metabolic, gastrointestinal (vomiting), pulmonary (breathing), and cardiovascular (heart abnormalities).
Milk & Other Dairy Products:
Most dogs are lactose intolerant. This means they lack the enzymes used to break down the sugars found in dairy thus making it difficult to digest dairy products.
Some dogs are not lactose intolerant and seem fine when consuming dairy. However, if your dog is lactose intolerant, they may experience acute intestinal distress – like gas, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
Chocolate contains a chemical Theobromine which is toxic to dogs. See the above section labeled “Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine Sources” for symptoms of consumption.
Onions, Garlic, Chives, and Leeks:
Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are of the Allium family, and are poisonous to dogs. Garlic is considered to be about 5X as potent as onions. Certain breeds and species seem to be more sensitive: Japanese breeds of dogs (e.g., Akita, Shiba Inu). Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) and gastroenteritis (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea).
Garlic & Chives:
Many types of each contain many different toxins that may cause kidney and liver failure, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucination and damage to red blood cells.
Many types contain many different toxins that may cause kidney and liver failure, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucination and damage to red blood cells.
Grapes, Raisins, and Currants:
Grape and raisin (dried grapes) toxicity is well documented in dogs. Although the exact substance that causes the toxic reaction is not yet known, dogs should not eat grapes and raisins because even small amounts can prove to be fatally toxic for a dog, by adversely affecting the kidneys.
Dogs of any age, breed, or gender may be affected. Grapes and raisins are bad for dogs because one of the most serious complications of grape/raisin toxicity is they can cause severe kidney damage leading to acute (sudden) kidney failure with lack of urine production (anuria). However, kidney failure is not seen in all dogs after ingestion of grapes or raisins, and again, the reason why some dogs are affected excessively, while others are not, is still being studied.
Grape and raisin poisoning will usually cause dogs to develop some combination of the following symptoms:
Vomiting and/or diarrhea – often within a few hours of ingestion. Vomit and fecal contents material may contain pieces of grapes or raisin, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness, abdominal pain, dehydration, Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine), Anuria (complete cessation of urine), foul breath, oral ulcers, tremors, seizures, and coma.
Avoid dried fruits unless they are made without added sugar or preservatives (sulfur dioxide, etc.).
The mechanism of toxicity is not known. Within 12 hours of ingestion, dogs develop weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia (loss of coordination of the muscles), tremors, and/or hyperthermia. Tremors may be secondary to muscle weakness.
Persimmons, Peaches & Plums:
Persimmons are not dangerous to dogs because they are a non-citric fruit. But persimmon seeds (which are fairly rare) can cause intestinal blockage, especially in smaller dogs. For larger dogs (60 lbs+) then the seeds are not a problem. The pits within the peaches and plums contain cyanide which can cause vomiting, irregular and fast heartbeat, seizures, coma and death due to the inability of red blood cells to properly carry oxygen to cells.
Raw eggs should not be given to dogs in large amounts or too frequent. They contain avidin, which is an enzyme that decreases biotin absorption. Too much consumption of raw eggs can lead to hair and skin coat problems. In addition, these eggs might have salmonella or E. coli which could lead to infections.
Raw Meat & Fish:
Raw meat and fish can have bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Some fish can have a parasite that can cause “fish disease” or “salmon poisoning disease”. Examples of these types of fish include salmon, sturgeon, trout, and shad. Fully cook the fish to kill the parasite. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and large lymph nodes.
Excessive amounts of salt can make a dog extremely thirsty thus causing a change in the fluid balance of cells. It can lead to sodium ion poisoning which causes tremors, seizures and coma (this includes rock salt and homemade play dough). Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and a high body temperature. Extreme cases may cause death.
Yeast in the raw dough can cause an excess buildup of gas in a pet’s stomach causing severe pain and potential life threatening torsion or rupture of the stomach. Also when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Sugary Foods & Drinks:
Just like with people, sugary foods and drinks can cause dogs to become overweight allowing for several health problems to manifest. Including bad teeth, bad joints (due to too much weight bearing on fragile joints), diabetes, liver problems, breathing problems (due to insufficient oxygenation), cardiovascular problems, and in extreme cases, death.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many of our every day products. Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. It can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure. Early symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems. Eventually, your dog may have seizures. Liver failure can happen within just a few days!
It goes without saying that you should always keep your medications, vitamins, etc away from pets of all kinds. Never give your pets over the counter medicines without first consulting your veterinarian, as they can get very, very sick. Or worse.
So there you are! Again I must reiterate that this list is not all-inclusive. Do your research, ask your vet if you have questions or concerns. And pass this along!! You never know, it may just save a life!!