Thousands of years ago, feral dogs, I assume, ate whatever they could catch. Before the advent of commercially available dog food, for generations, domesticated dogs ate leftover human food. Even today, in vast areas of the world, pet animals continue to eat whatever their human masters did not consume.
Yet, recently, I came across a list of foods that, according to veterinarians, and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), are not good for our pet dogs. In fact, these foods may be highly dangerous, and in some cases, fatal.
But, How Come Their Dogs Don’t Die?
In my earlier post, I mentioned that I grew up in Asia, in particular, the Philippines. And there, we feed our dogs our leftovers. So obviously, when you see this list that I am about to go through here, I must say that there are a few food included in this list that we routinely fed our dogs back home. Bones, come to mind.
And our dogs lived, what I considered, long and happy lives, too. So, what’s the difference?
Well, I suspect that many dogs in the Philippines, and other, less developed countries, are still close to their feral state than dogs here in the US, or Europe and Canada, for instance. As such, they may be used to these diets more than their American or European cousins. In countries where many dogs still routinely scavenged for their food, such exotic diets may not be so harmful.
But then again, very few are actually taken to vets, so, we don’t really know what effects these foods may have had on these dogs’ overall health.
What’s Good For The Goose, Is NOT Always Good For The Gander
In today’s world where “fresh” or raw, or unprocessed is considered good food for humans when you go through this list, you will find that certain foods that may be good for us, may be dangerous for our pets!
Sometimes, though, we will see foods that we SHOULD consider bad for us, too! Alcohol is not necessarily good for us. Well, guess what, neither are they good for our pets! Fatty food, well, you know they’re bad for you. And they’re even worse for your dogs!
Some foods, though, may be good for our health. But not necessarily for our pets. Fruits, for instance, are generally good for our health. But surprisingly, a few of them are fatal to our furry friends! So, what’s on that list, anyway?
Foods That Dogs Should Not Eat
We’re starting off with something that I wasn’t even aware was a thing! Xylitol is an ingredient that is used as sweetener in candies, gum, toothpaste, baked products, and diet foods. When consumed, this has the effect of lowering your dog’s blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia, because it damages their bodies’ ability to process sugar.
This really shouldn’t be a surprise because too much sugar has the same effects on us, too! Ultimately, too much of this sweetener can lead to liver failure in our pets, as well as seizures. Their condition could even be fatal!
Avocados contain an ingredient called Persin. This is poisonous to dogs! They are found in Avocado leaves, seeds, the bark of the plant, and the fruit, itself. It is therefore vital that, if you have Avocados in your garden, and you have dogs, you should make sure that your pets do not have access to these plants.
Even a small amount of alcohol can cause liver damage, and brain problems, for our pets. This should not have been a surprise. I know of people who act crazy after just one beer!
But seriously, alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coordination problems, that can all lead to coma and death, for our companions! This is even worse in small dog breeds. So, keep the dogs out of your bar!
Onions and Garlic
This too was a surprise to us. Because we love to cook with both! And since we cook our dog’s food, we assumed that the vegetables and condiments that we used to flavor our food should be okay for our pet, too! But we were wrong.
Onions and garlic, in all forms – powdered, raw, cooked or dehydrated – apparently kills red blood cells. Damaged red blood cells lead to anemia. This means their blood cannot carry as much oxygen required for a healthy animal.
Look for weakness in your pets, vomiting, and breathing problems.
Coffee, and any food or drink with caffeine, can be fatal to our dogs! This includes chocolates, cocoa, certain colas. Affected animals will exhibit restlessness, fast breathing, and muscle twitching.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Even small amounts can make your dogs sick! Early signs include vomiting, sluggishness, and depression.
This food group is especially bad for puppies. Dairy products cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. They also trigger food allergies in our pets.
These nuts can cause muscle shakes, vomiting, high temperatures, and weakness in their hind legs. Macadamia nuts with chocolates can cause death!
As mentioned previously, chocolates are not good for dogs. But the worst are dark chocolates and unsweetened baking chocolates. They cause vomiting and diarrhea. They may lead to heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death.
Fat Trimmings and Bones – Cooked and Uncooked
Fat and bones. Who doesn’t like them? But, as much as our pets love to chew on left over bones, they really shouldn’t. Bone splinters may cause blockages or cuts to their digestive tract. They are also choking hazards.
And the fat! Well, I didn’t think I needed to explain why that is bad for them!
Too much fat in dogs who are no longer hunter/scavengers will cause cardiovascular problems down the road. This is something that we should all be aware of ourselves, as well!
Persimmons, Peaches, Plums
Who knew? Peach and plum seeds have cyanide! Now, you and I know not to eat the seeds and pit. But our dogs don’t. The small seeds can also cause problems in our dog’s digestive tracts.
Raw Eggs, Raw Meats and Raw Fish
Just as a rule, anything raw can transmit dangerous bacteria to our pets. Bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. Bacteria that can cause poisoning.
Salmon, trout, shad or sturgeon carry parasites that can infect our pets. Look for vomiting, fever, enlarged lymph nodes.
It’s always a good idea to fully cook meats and fish to kill bacteria, before feeding them to your dogs.
Salt and Sugary Foods
Salty food can cause dehydration and excessive thirst in our dogs. Sodium poisoning leads to frequent urination, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, fever, seizures and death.
Too much sugar causes diabetes. It can also lead to weight gain in our dogs, which could be hard to address if our companions are not the active type!
It’s never a good idea to feed dogs yeast dough. The dough will continue to expand in their stomachs, causing abdominal distention and pain. The fermentation process produces alcohol, which leads to alcohol poisoning.
You know how we should keep medications away from children? Well, we should take the same precautions with our pets, too! Dogs will eat anything. And if they get to your meds, you know they will gobble them up. And we all know that overdosing on medication can be fatal.
Safe Home Environment
With all these in mind, there are a few things we can do that will make our homes safe for our pets.
Our pantries should not be accessible to our pets. Keep the doors closed at all times. And more importantly, keep foodstuff from the bottom shelves. Keep them, and all medications away from your dog’s reach.
Fully cook all meats that you intend to feed your dogs. Make sure you trim all fat from the meats. Use lean meat. Do not heavily season their food. Do not use onions and garlic in any recipes.
For snack, you can feed your dogs apple slices (make sure to take the pit and seeds out), oranges, bananas, and slices and watermelon (again, remove the seeds).
Carrots, green beans, cucumber and zucchini slices are also perfect snack alternatives. You can also feed them plain baked potatoes, not raw ones. And for carbs, you can also serve them cooked white rice or pasta with boiled chicken meat, deboned.
Knowing what’s on the list of foods that your dog should not eat is half the battle. The other half is knowing where and who to turn to if your dog does ingest any of these foods.
It’s always a good idea to know the emergency numbers and locations of veterinary emergency service providers near your location. Keep those numbers prominently displayed in your home.
The ASPCA also has a Poison Control Center hotline which you can call if you need help. That number is (888) 426-4435.
Those of us who’ve been pet owners for s
ome time know that it takes a lot to take care of a pet. Especially dogs. Those of you who are thinking of getting a dog should know what it entails when you bring one home. But we do this because they bring a measure of happiness to our lives that only pets can fill. And we are glad to do whatever it takes to make sure that our furry companions are healthy and safe!