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— September 18, 2012 —

Dangerous foods.
There are many everyday foods that our dogs can’t eat.

I wrote a while back about what I feed my dogs and gave some advice about finding a good food for your dog. This week we’ll talk about a few everyday foods that we shouldn’t feed our dogs.

There are many great things that we can eat that our dogs cannot eat. Everyone knows about chocolate, but what else do we need to be careful about?

One of the most common poisonous foods that people feed their dogs is grapes. Anything containing grapes like raisins, wine and oatmeal cookies (with raisins) are potentially toxic to dogs. Scientists actually haven’t figured out exactly what it is in grapes that harms dogs. We have actually given a few grapes to our dogs before we knew about this. Luckily we never had a problem and have since stopped. Symptoms of grape toxicity include vomiting and lethargy.

Avocados contain persin. Unless you’re allergic to it, it’s harmless to you. It is dangerous for your dog. Also, the entire plant contains persin. If you have an avocado plant in the yard, make sure Fido can’t get to it and eat the leaves or chew the branches. These parts of the plant also contain persin.

Onions and garlic (cooked, raw and dehydrated) can cause severe anemia. Anemia is indicated by pale gums, weakness and shortness of breath. Side note: Since dogs’ gum color varies by individual, it’s a good idea to know what your dog’s gum color is normally as a base for comparison.

Candies and gum are possibly the scariest of the human foods that a dog can get a hold of. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener common in these items, can be deadly in very small doses. It tends to raise insulin levels and can cause complete liver failure. Please read labels and keep these items from your dog.

Fatty foods can be dangerous to dogs. A piece of steak trimming occasionally is no big deal, but too much fat can cause pancreatitis. I was told a story about a dog that once ate a whole pound of cooked bacon. At autopsy, the dog’s pancreas was discovered to be completely destroyed. Too much fat causes the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas to digest the pancreas. It is very painful and can be life threatening such as in the case of the dog I mentioned. It should be noted that spicy food can have a similar effect.

While many dog prescriptions are actually human medicine, some “people drugs” can be fatal to dogs. Tylenol and Advil, for example, depress liver function. Human medicine should never be given without consulting your veterinarian.

This is by no means all inclusive, I just want to touch on the most common things we see at Bark Avenue. Also, there are lots of great things you can feed your dog to give some variety to the same old foods. My dogs love carrots, brocolli, and one even likes watermelon. I often give lean cuts of meat or cooked noodles. These things are treats, not meal replacements and my dogs love them.