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Pet Happenings June 2009

Things Dogs Eat–But Shouldn’t
by Kaye Davis of Moab Barkery

Dog in FridgeDogs can be a lot less discriminating about what they eat than we are, much like a two year old human if they can stick something in their mouths they will. The dogs I’ve shared my life and home with have eaten a lot of things that were bad for them. Those things include plants, garbage, coins, paper money, two expensive pairs of sunglasses and many more strange items. As a pet owner, it is important to know things that can help you take better care of your pets. Too many of us don’t know a lot.

The following items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.

Alcohol: It is recommended that no alcohol at all should be given to your dog (not even beer). When drunk, dogs may become disoriented and possibly cause themselves and/or others injury. Their alcohol buzz won’t be as cool as yours; they may vomit, get alcohol poisoning, slip into a coma or even die.

Anti-freeze: Okay, if this one comes as a surprise, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a pet at all. It may seem strange to include anti-freeze on this list, but dogs love the taste of it. Obviously, it has some serious negative effects, including kidney damage, so be sure to keep it out of paws’ reach.

Avocado: Avocados are high in fat, and so, may cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or in extreme cases, pancreatitis. The other dangerous element in avocado is persin. This can be more harmful than the fat content, and causes heart and lung damage. This warning also applies to guacamole.

Caffeine: Caffeine can be harmful to humans as well as dogs. Canines, however, can react to caffeine not only by getting hyper, but can also develop a rapid heartbeat, tremors, and even seizures. So be sure to store your caffeinated pop, tea, and coffee carefully.

Chocolate: Chocolate can easily become deadly for dogs. The risky ingredients in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine. If ingested, it can cause hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, and seizures. Since death can occur within 24 hours, it’s better not to take any risks. Bring your dog straight to a vet.

Dairy: Like lactose-intolerant humans, dogs lack the enzyme to digest dairy. Believe me, if you ignore this, you’ll be punished. Dairy cause gas build-up and it will smell bad, it can also cause just as fragrant diarrhea.

Eggs (Raw): As you may already know, salmonella thrives in this kind of environment, and that can be harmful for your dog. The other danger of raw eggs is the avidin in it. This deprives your dog of a B vitamin: biotin. Biotin deprivation can lead to weakness and hair loss, or worse, retardation of growth and skeleton deformity.

Grapes and Raisins: Just six grapes can put your dog in serious danger. Although no one has determined exactly what makes dogs sick, it has been documented to cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy and kidney failure.

Medications: Just like humans, dogs shouldn’t be given any medication not prescribed to them. Even drugs like aspirin and Tylenol shouldn’t be given to him or her unless a vet has recommended it.

Mushrooms (Wild): Some kinds of mushrooms can be poisonous. If you allow your dog to eat the wrong kinds he or she can experience abdominal pain, anemia, and liver and kidney damage, so keep an eye out while you’re walking them.

Moldy or Spoiled Food: Make sure to keep your garbage cans tightly sealed, because food that’s gone bad is also harmful for dogs. If they eat the wrong foods, they can get diarrhea, start vomiting, have seizures, and damage internal organs.

Onions (and Garlic): One small onion can contain enough thiosulphate to prove fatal for your dog. Although small amounts can be used safely in dog food, too much onion or garlic (but especially onion) can cause loss of appetite, vomiting, confusion, diarrhea, anemia, and increased heart rate.

Plants: Lilies, daffodils, and foxglove may look good in your garden, but they sure don’t go well with a dog’s diet. Some more of the dangerous varieties of plants are oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew, rhubarb leaves, and cycads, but it’s best not to let your dog nibble any houseplants.

Salmon (Raw): Salmon Poisoning Disease is a serious disease that can kill your dog in a matter of days. If he or she eats raw salmon, some reactions from it can include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, bloody diarrhea (which may also be bright yellow) and death. If you have a suspicion that your dog may have had raw salmon, get in contact with a vet immediately.

Salt: Too much salt is bad for humans and dogs. In the latter, it may cause pancreatitis, stomach problems, and bloat (this can occur when dogs drink a lot of water too quickly after having salty foods, which traps gas in the intestines and may ultimately kill them).

Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain atropine, which can negatively affect your dog. Ripe tomatoes are the least dangerous of these, followed by unripe. The most unsafe part of the plant is the leaves and stem.

Yeast Dough: As yeast dough is designed to rise, it can do so in your dog’s intestines. When the yeast dough expands, it can create uncomfortable gas, and even rupture your pet’s stomach or intestines. Even small amounts can rise dangerously.

Of course there are other things that can sicken or even cause the death of your pet. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, or if it has eaten something that worries you, don’t wait. Call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Keep the product container or plant sample to assist in identification so appropriate treatment recommendations can be made.

To see past articles about animals, pets and their care check our archives.
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