Many dog owners consider their part an important part of their family; in many ways they’re almost human and we frequently treat them as such. Just one element of this is that many dog owners like to share their own food with their dog, whether that’s a little titbit off their plate at dinner time or a whole cooked meal.
However contrary to popular opinion, just because an item of food is safe for us doesn’t necessarily mean that the same can be said for your dog. Indeed many commonly enjoyed food stuffs can cause all manner of problems for your pet. From tremors to seizures, vomiting to diarrhoea, feeding the wrong food to your pet can be disastrous. But what foods should you avoid?
Hopefully most caring dog owners would never even contemplate giving their dog alcohol, however if you (or your guests) ever find yourself tempted you could be in for a nasty surprise. Alcohol won’t make your dog comically drunk; the effects in dogs can be far more severe than you may initially realise.
The reason why we humans suffer from hangovers after a night of binge drinking is of course that the alcohol has been slowly poisoning our bodies. When we drink alcohol at a faster rate than our bodies can remove the toxins we can start to feel the effects. From lethargy to headaches and vomiting, it’s fair to say that very few people ever enjoy a hangover.
Now imagine the same feeling but many times worse. That’s what alcohol poisoning can feel like to your dog. Not only does your dog’s smaller stature mean that they are more affected by even small volumes of alcohol but in addition veterinarians have also found that alcohol is actually far more toxic to dogs than it is to humans.
The results aren’t pleasant; alcohol consumption in dogs can result in muscle tremors and difficulty breathing along with the more expected vomiting and diarrhoea. It therefore recommended that if your dog is suspecting of consuming alcohol you consult a vet a soon as possible.
Persin is a fungicidal toxin that is found only within the flesh of avocado pears. Whilst it is harmless to humans, it can be far more dangerous to other species and in extreme doses can even lead to death. Most commonly though your dog’s digestive system will attempt to rid itself of the toxic persin as quickly, which in reality means excessive bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea are most likely after consuming avocado.
While we humans may relish our favourite chocolate bar, worrying only about putting on a little extra weight, the effects can be far more serious for your beloved dog. Chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine which in dogs can cause hyperactivity, vomiting and diarrhoea.
In more advanced cases where larger quantities of chocolate have been consumed the effects can be even more severe; seizures and even death are possible unless your dog is rapidly attended to by a qualified veterinarian.
Whilst few of us would deny the draw of a good bone for most dogs, the difference between cooked and raw bones can be significant. While raw bones can be a great source of both entertainment and nutrition for your pet, as well as helping to clean and strengthen the teeth, cooked bones are an entirely different matter.
Cooked bones change their structure and have a nasty habit of splintering or shattering under the pressures exerted by a playful dog. These razor-sharp fragments can pose an understandable risk to your pet if swallowed. For the safety of your pet therefore be certain to only ever feed raw bones.
Grapes and their derivatives such as raisins and sultanas pose an interesting problem to animal scientists. The fact is that we know that consuming grapes can lead to painful and potentially fatal kidney failure. All the same, scientists have so far been unable to work out quite why canines react so badly to grapes.
Whatever the cause, grapes are one of the greatest risks found in the home due in part to their dangerous effects on dogs and also because they are so small and can easily roll undetected under furniture etc. As a dog owner you should always consume grapes with great care so as to not expose your pet to the dangers they present.
In a similar vein to the undiagnosed problem of grape poisoning in dogs, macadamia nuts also seem to cause some dreadful side effects without scientists being aware of how this happens. This is particularly odd because many other nuts are perfectly safe for dogs while as few as half a dozen macadamia kernels are enough to cause your dog serious discomfort.
Symptoms of macadamia nut consumption can include lethargy, swollen limbs, muscle weakness and as a result a general inability to move around. Larger doses have been observed to have fatal consequences so if in any doubt seek immediate veterinary assistance.
Onions, Garlic & Chives
All members of the allium family are toxic to dogs as they contain a chemical known as thiosulphate. This colourless compound affects the blood of dogs and can cause the red blood cells to burst as they’re travelling around the body. The resulting anaemia can starve the body, making it difficult for oxygen to be carried around the body.
One key difference between the internal workings of humans and dogs is just how difficult your pooch finds it to deal with oxalic acid. Rhubarb is rich in oxalates which dogs struggle to process and can lead to urinary, nervous and digestive problems. Potatoes and tomatoes are also rich in oxalates and so should be avoided.
This artificial sweetener is sometimes available as a sugar substitute – or may be included as an ingredient in other foods. Consumption of this sweetener serves to trick the canine digestive system into believing that it is experiencing a sugar overload. In an attempt to deal with the situation, insulin is released. In extreme cases this sudden and unnecessary release of insulin can lead to hypoglycaemia which may, in some cases, be fatal.