Knowing the facts can help save your pup’s life
There is no day more exciting and filled with joy than the day one welcomes a baby into their home – and yes, that includes fur babies! And while the idea of a puppy is hard to resist, puppies don’t stay puppies for long – and regardless of their age, bringing a dog into your home requires a great deal of responsibility. Getting a puppy requires some training – and it’s not just the puppy that needs to be trained. As dog owners, it is important to understand the best ways to care for your dog, and keep them healthy – and safe – so they can provide years on end of unconditional love. A big part of your dog’s health will be driven by their diet, and while it can be tempting to let your dog enjoy the same foods your family does, some foods can be very dangerous – even deadly – for your pet. Sharing human food with your pet can be a great way to win their affection, and if done correctly, can even be beneficial to your dog’s health – as long as you know what foods are safe for your dog
Before you decide to give your leftovers to your dog, it is important to understand how dangerous salt can be to your pet. Salt causes water retention (much like it does for humans), but for our furry friends, water retention can be extremely dangerous – especially if your dog is prone to heart disease. So a good rule of thumb is to really think through the level of salt a food item may have, and chances are, if you can avoid sharing that salty dish with your pooch, he will thank you for it.
There are a variety of foods that your dog can enjoy – eggs, fish, meats, (without the bone), peanut butter (a doggy fan fave) and even moderate amounts of cheese can all be great ways to supplement your dog’s diet. However, there are certain ingredients, that may appear to be benign – that could be detrimental to your dog’s health – even deadly.
Chocolate is probably the most notoriously dangerous food for your dog to ingest – chocolate contains methylxanthines and theobromine, which may be safe for humans, but can actually stop your dog’s metabolic process. While trace amounts may only cause diarrhea or vomiting, large amounts can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death. If you are going to have a stash of chocolate in your home, keep it out of reach from your dog, especially when you leave him home alone. If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate, call your vet immediately.
Onions and garlic are also toxic to your dog, as are a number of different spices and nuts (they can cause breathing issues when inhaled and choking hazards as well). According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, garlic, onions, leeks, and chives are all part of the allium family, which is toxic to dogs but not to (most) humans. These food items can cause anemia and a range of other gastrointestinal issues – and, if consumed in larger quantities, can be fatal.
If you really love the idea of your dog being able to enjoy whole, real foods over “dog” food, there is a pretty compelling trend right now in raw, plant and protein-based foods. Check your local pet store, or even your grocer, these should be found in a refrigerated section of the store and stored the same way at home. If you are adventurous to try and cook some people-based food for your dog at home, make sure you know what ingredients you are using, and make sure they aren’t toxic to your pet. And when it comes to their beloved bones, stick with the store-bought kind. Bones found in chicken and fish pose significant choking risks to your dogs. Peanut butter protein balls, anyone? Add some fresh coconut! The Coconuts contain Lauric – which can actually strengthen your dog’s immune system, help heal skin conditions and cure bad breath!