Can My Dog Eat That?
It doesn’t take long to recognize that dogs are the grand masters in the art of begging. Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? No matter how hard we try, those puppy eyes always seem to have the upper hand. You probably want to share all your delicious people food with your pup or risk feeling guilty with a sense of disappointment. While its perfectly fine to share certain people food with out beloved companions, you may actually be harming the dog without realizing it. Foods that are perfectly suitable for human consumption, as well as other animals, may be toxic and even poisonous to your dog, posing a serious threat to its health and well-being. Lets go over some common foods that may or may not be okay to feed to our four-legged friends.
Fruits and Vegetables
We love to share food with our dogs, and since fruits and vegetables are healthy for us, we often assume that they’re healthy for our pets, too. This is often the case, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s always the case. In fact, there are some fruits and vegetables that are toxic to our dogs. The main issue with fruits and vegetables is that people seem to think that just because its “healthy” for humans it must be great for a dog, right?. Dogs digest differently than humans, and eating the wrong foods can lead to long-term health problems and, in extreme cases, even death. As carnivores, they have no need for fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, but an occasional fruit or veggie as a treat is OK. Lets go over the most common.
The Good and The Bad:
- Apples – Good. They are the most common fruit in the home. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber for your dog. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first.
- Grapes – Bad. The understanding of how grapes affect dogs is actually recent, but it’s been discovered that they’re associated with canine kidney failure. Keep in mind that raisins are dried grapes so be sure to never confuse the two.
- Carrots – Good. Carrot sticks are widely considered to be a healthy alternative to traditional dog treats. Some vets even recommend cold carrots for teething puppies as a way to relieve teething discomfort, and large frozen carrots make cheap and edible chew toys. Chewing on carrots can even help improve your dog’s dental health.
- Onions – Bad. According to ASPCA, Onions can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.
- Avocado – Bad. It contains toxic principle known as persin. Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. According to the ASPCA, dogs won’t experience serious illness from eating avocado. They must eat large portions of the stuff but try to stay away from it.
- Strawberries – Good. Strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them.
- Broccoli – Good. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat.
Most dogs will actually turn down most fruits and vegetables so in our opinion stay away from the stuff just to be safe. Sasha, our German Shepherd, will lick a carrot for 2 minutes and continue with her day. If you insist on giving them fruits, be sure to do it in moderation due to the sugar content. If the item in question is not on our list, please take the time to do further research in ensure safety for the dog.
The Human Treats
Unlike dogs, humans have millions of treats to choose from. No matter where life takes you, there will always be a delicious packaged snack ready to satisfy your taste buds. Sweet chocolate bars and gummy treats are designed to take the edge off pre-mealtime hunger. Today, we fully understand just how unhealthy snacking is with research pointing to obesity and heart disease. While we can chow on trans fats and chug sugary drinks for years before noticing the side effects, dogs can have serious complications in just one sitting.
Treats and Drinks To Avoid:
- Chocolate – We’ve all heard that chocolate is the killer of dogs. It contains caffeine and theobromine which fall under the methylxanthines category. If eaten by a dog, chocolate can cause vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pains, severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, elevated body temperature, seizures and death.
- Cheese – Cheese can be the downfall for dogs just like in humans. While small doses aren’t going to kill your dog, you could get some smelly farts and some nasty cases of diarrhea. Keep in mind that some dogs are lactose intolerant and always observe your dog’s reaction.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, and abnormal acidity, but potentially even coma and/or death. While we understand it would seem hilarious to see your pup with liquid courage, please understand the dangers and put the bottle down.
- Sugar (Soda,Sweets) – Cupcakes, Skittles, and all other sweets by the cash register are deadly for most animals. Make sure you check the ingredient label for human foods – corn syrup (which is a less expensive form of sugar or glucose) is found in just about everything these days. Too much sugar for your pup can lead to dental issues, obesity, and even diabetes. Diet soda is not okay so just stick with water.
- Buttery Popcorn – Regular popcorn is alright. Keep in mind that the butter adds too many calories that can cause diarrhea.
Meats, Dairy, and Bread
Kill Or Be Killed – Meat is the taste equivalent of candy for dogs. Dogs eat meat because they’re biologically carnivorous. Not only is it delicious to them (and us), but it’s nutritious. A dog fed a high quality, meat based diet has a shinier coat, less skin problems, more energy, less allergies and so on. Despite years of breeding, the internal workings and anatomical capabilities of domestic dogs and cats remain the same as their wild cousins, so it’s no surprise their food requirements remain the same too. Quality food companies such as Orijen go to great lengths to ensure their product contains up to 90% meat. Chicken, steak, turkey, salmon, and tuna are the ultimate way of training a dog due to their love for the stuff. Please be sure to thoroughly cook the meat for safety. Raw chicken or steak can be harmful to dog’s and humans alike. Beware of fatty meats like bacon due to possible obesity problems down the road.
Eggs & Dairy Products – Eggs are a healthy treat for your fluffy companion. Cooked eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can help an upset stomach. However, eating raw egg whites can give dogs biotin deficiency, so be sure to cook the eggs all the way through before giving them to your pet. Dairy products on the other hand are a mixed bag. Some dogs can down yogurt and ice cream without issues but some may run into complications such as diarrhea and gas.
Bread – In moderation, bread like anything is OK. Please understand that bread is packed with carbohydrates that may lead to obesity. Homemade breads are a better option than store-bought, as bread from the grocery store typically contains unnecessary preservatives, but it’s best to avoid it all.
What About Pizza and Stuff?
Here is where discipline takes over. We all go out for a slice of pizza or hit the dollar menu at our favorite fast food restaurant. Understand that restaurants stuff excess calories and other unhealthy additives to enhance taste and keep the customers coming back. NEVER give your pet anything that you didn’t make yourself. Furthermore, most people will give their dog a small chunk of a big-mac and later suffer the consequences when their pet is pooping lava. In addition, these foods will quickly damage the dogs health and stick you with a colossal vet bill. Stick to raw cooked food without the preservatives.
Disadvantages of Junk Food:
- Fat Content – Fast food, pizza, and other foods are high in fat and will accelerate the downfall of your pets health quicker than most think.
- Deadly Ingredients – Leave an order of French fries on the table for a month and notice how little they changed. These greasy foods are packed with artificial flavors, salt, preservatives, and other chemicals that can make your dog extremely ill.
- Low Nutrients – It may taste incredibly good but there are almost no vitamins and minerals in these foods that are essential to good health.
- Vet Bills – When dogs becomes obese, everything begins to break. Dogs only live around 15 years so they develop diseases and joint problems much quicker than humans do. Vet bills will bankrupt an average household and force the dog to be put down.
Puppy eyes are extremely effective begging tools. They are the dogs secret weapon that never seems to fail. While difficult to resist, keep in mind that deep down inside your dog may be slowly coming to a sad death due to bad diet. Human food should only be given to dog in moderation and never in high quantities. Invest in quality food that that has millions of dollars in research behind it. This will ensure longevity, high energy, and healthy life for that four-legged best friend. Cook up some chicken for the week and use that as the treat. Always do research on the food before giving it to the animal. Its imperative that we understand dogs and make them feel loved.
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