Most dog owners can’t resist slipping canine family members treats from the human dinner plate. Be it as a reward, or simply due to the fact we love them (and can’t resist those puppy dog eyes and salivating jowls making us feel guilty if we are eating and they are not), people have been tossing table scraps the dog’s way for centuries. (And don’t forget that as children, Fido was a great way to finish dinner when we didn’t like what mum had served up that night!).
It’s crucial to remember, however, that what is good for humans is not always good for dogs – and dogs often don’t know the difference…
Home cooking for dogs is back in vogue. Commercial dog foods are not always as good as they should be, and getting the diet right and serving up fresh food for your dog can be incredibly beneficial. But one must know exactly what dogs can and can’t have.
The following foods must NEVER be given to a dog:
• Alcohol – this goes without saying. NEVER give a dog alcohol. The effects are the same as on a human – but with far less required to cause irreparable damage to the liver, kidneys, and brain.
• Garlic, chives, and onion – whether fresh, raw, cooked, dehydrated or powdered, these can destroy the red blood cells in a dog, causing anaemia. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, weakness, malaise, breathlessness, and loss of appetite.
• Avocado – avocadoes contain persin, a substance which is harmless in humans but is toxic to dogs, potentially causing vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing problems, fluid on the heart, and possibly death. Be very careful if you grow avocadoes at home – persin is present is all parts of the avocado, including the leaves.
• Chocolate – this human treat is highly toxic to dogs, with darker varieties more hazardous than white chocolate. Ingestion causes anything from restlessness, hyperactivity, trembling, vomiting, pancreatitis and seizures. It can kill your dog.
• Caffeine – tea, coffee, cocoa, and coke: they can all be fatal to a dog if ingested, and currently vets have no antidote. Symptoms include palpitations, restlessness, tremors and seizures, and bleeding.
• Grapes, sultanas, currants and raisins – as tempting a dog treat as they may be, these fruits cause a dog’s kidneys to fail – and it only takes a tiny amount. Early signs are vomiting, lethargy and depression. Keep these bite sized temptations out of reach.
• Macadamia Nuts – these too are potentially fatal to canines in very small amounts. As many as just six nuts can cause muscle tremors, weakness, paralysis, fever, rapid heart rate, and vomiting.
• Artificial sweeteners – as found in lollies, gum, toothpaste, and diet foods can affect the dog’s insulin levels, resulting in low blood sugar and liver failure. Be wary of shop-bought baked goods as well.
Come back next time as we continue the list of foods to avoid with dogs – and then we will look at those which are safe (and even good) for your dog.