What they can and cannot eat…
Christmas is approaching fast and while we’re all busy thinking of what we’re going to eat, perhaps we should take some time to think about what our four-legged friends will be dining on this festive season. Many foods are suitable for you pooch to eat, but some can be quite harmful. It is also important to remember that while it is okay to feed your dog some of the safer human foods, it is essential not to give them too much. Altering their usual diet too much can cause digestive upsets and result in bloating, gas and even diarrhoea. While they may really enjoy the food at the time, neither you or they will enjoy the after effects!
While certain foods may only result in simple stomach upsets, others can be highly toxic to your pet and may cause much more severe side effects. Chocolate for example, is highly toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate the more toxic. Dark cooking chocolate and cocoa powder are the most toxic. As little as 14g of cocoa powder is considered toxic to a 10kg dog. Clinical signs of chocolate toxicity in dogs includes vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, hyperactivity, excessive urination, a racing heart and/or respiratory rate, muscle tremors, seizures and even death. Grapes and raisins have been linked to renal toxicity in dogs and although not all dogs that ingest grapes or raisins develop renal failure, it is still highly recommended to not feed them to your dog. 10-12 grapes are considered toxic to an 8kg dog and signs of poisoning can occur within hours of consumption. Some of the common symptoms of raisin or grape toxicity in dogs includes vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, abdominal pain, inappetence and depression.
Now, down to the nitty gritty! What exactly should you be avoiding. Below is a comprehensive list of the most common foods you should avoid feeding your dog;
Dangerous or Toxic foods include…
- Grapes, Raisins, Cherries & Currants (remember these are found in lots of foods including fruit cake, fruit mince pies and some stuffings etc.)
- Macadamias and Walnuts (also found in lots of foods)
- Yeast and Uncooked Bread Dough
- Alcohol and Caffeine
- Xylitol (found in sugar-free lollies, gums and low-carb baked goods)
- Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
- Avocados (including the seed)
- Onions and Garlic – in any form or variety (e.g. leek, shallots, spring onion, chives, plus dried and powder forms)
- Mushrooms (some are toxic so is best to avoid them altogether)
- Tomatoes (green parts only)
- Potatoes (raw and green parts only)
- Cooked Bones, Food Wrappers, Corn Cobs and Fruit Pips and Seeds – These can lead to obstructions if swallowed whole (or can be toxic). Some bones also splinter easily.
Other foods to avoid…
- Excessive salty and Fatty foods (chicken skin, pork crackling, nuts and gravies etc.) – Fatty foods are not easily processed by your dog’s digestive system and may upset their stomach. High fat foods can also cause pancreatitis. Too much salt may be toxic and can cause excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, high temperature and seizures.
- Desserts and Sweets (cakes, ice cream, biscuits, custard etc.) – Apart from the fact they could contain xylitol or chocolate, sugar is not good for you pets waistline or their teeth.
- Milk & Dairy Products (milk, cream, ice cream, most cheeses, butter etc.) – Dogs have trouble digesting a lot of lactose so foods high in lactose may cause diarrhoea or digestive upsets. A lot of dairy products are also high in fat.
Always remember to discard any food wrappers and leftover food promptly. These things can be very appealing to dogs and some opportunistic pooches will not think twice about swiping a few leftovers when your guard is down. An intestinal obstruction can result in severe complications and may require expensive and risky surgery. Cooked bones (especially bird bones – raw or cooked) can also splinter and cause lacerations leading to all sorts of problems. Ensure your rubbish and food scraps are placed into a secure bin that your dog cannot break into. This is a quick and easy way to ensure they are safe and you will be able to rest assured during your Christmas afternoon siesta!
Tune back in here in a few days when vet nurse Sammy will have a new post detailing some of the yummy things you can feed your dog at Christmas!