Watching What you Eat? Remember to Do the Same for Your Dog!
The start of a new year is a time when many of us try to repair the calorie damage done over the festive season. Now that my belt has been reduced to nothing more than a fashion accessory rather than actually serving a purpose, it’s time to start watching what I eat. I’m not a great fan of diets unless they still include pizza, but even I will admit there are a few extravagances we can all live without – for a while at least. Like chocolate.
Avoiding Chocolate would also be doing your dog (and cat) a huge favor, because chocolate is highly toxic to canines. “But I never share my chocolate,” I hear you say. Nor do I, but it does melt and we do drop some occasionally when trying to defy physics with the amount we are putting in our mouth. If you’re pup is anything like mine, dropped items rarely even hit the floor before being swallowed.
Just a small amount of chocolate will induce vomiting and diarrhoea, neither of which are much fun for the dog or its owner. A larger amount can lead to tremors, irregular heartbeats, seizures and could even trigger a heart attack. That’s too high a risk to take even for some chocolate, especially as very few dogs carry an Epi-pen!
So what else should we be on the look-out for?
Like chocolate, Coffee is another thing that I am more than prepared to fight people for, so again there’s little chance my dog will get any – and she shouldn’t. Although at first it will just cause hyperactivity (isn’t that the point?) it can also lead to tremors and seizures – the same type of symptoms I get if I don’t have my morning java fix! Tea leaves are also dangerous.
Surprisingly, grapes in almost any form (sultanas, raisins etc.) are extremely toxic to dogs. Even in amounts as small as a single grape/raisin, they can cause acute kidney failure within 48 hours. So, with Easter next on the agenda now that Christmas is behind us, be careful with those hot-cross buns.
Somewhat less surprisingly, Alcohol is not good for dogs, or almost any animal. So please, if you see a dog waiting outside the Supermarket, don’t agree to buy it beer.
Avocado – smashed or otherwise – is another no-no. The skin and leaves contain a toxin, while the stone can cause an internal blockage.
Other stone fruits, such as Apricots, Peaches and Plums, share the same blockage risk, but also contain cyanide, as do Apple seeds and Cherries. So, while your New Year’s diet may include fruit salad, your dog’s definitely should not. As with chocolate, the first sign will be your dog leaking profusely from both ends.
Macadamia nuts – indigenous to Australia (especially Sydney airport) – are also on the list of foods that will induce vomiting. But the bigger concern will be tremors, or even paralysis.
Onions and Garlic are next on the banned list. They can damage the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the red blood cells, leading to anaemia. A symptom of this will be your dog’s urine being a red/brown colour. Oh – and their breath will be even worse than usual!
Even Bones can be a problem. While this sounds like it goes against the very DNA of a dog, chewing a bone carries many risks: Choking; intestinal obstructions from swallowing pieces; damaging teeth; even sustaining internal injury from bone splinters in the digestive tract.
But we all eat things we shouldn’t, and it’s hard to beat the look of satisfaction from a dog with a bone. So if (when) you do indulge your dog, please keep an eye on them and watch for small pieces that break off. Cooked bones splinter more easily, and small bones carry a higher risk of choking.
This list is far from exhaustive, but covers the more serious food items you should keep away from your dog. Should you know or suspect your dog has ingested any of them, please contact or visit your local vet as soon as possible. The staff at SAH are more than happy to provide you with further information.
In the meantime – good luck with your diet!