Thursday, February 15, 2007

Human Foods can be Poisonous to Dogs

Do you often find your dog digging in the garbage? That's my bulldog, Tucker, in the picture, and that's what his face looked like when I caught him eating garbage. He now knows better than to get in the garbage, and just the mere mention of the word "trash" causes him to look at us with "I didn't do it" eyes. He knows the sound of a fork being set down on a plate at the end of a meal, and wants to help us clean our plate. America's dogs have become just as accustomed to overeating as we have, and most of us feel quite content giving our four-legged friends some food from our own plates. But aside from creating overweight dogs, what other problems can arise?

Most people eat the “meaty” portion of steaks and chicken, and then discard the skin and fat, and sometimes give it to the dogs. This is okay, but only once in a while. You don’t want to make a daily snack out of chicken skin due to the high content of saturated fats. Dogs and cats can suffer from high blood-pressure, as well as high cholesterol levels, and should be eating just as healthy as we should be.

(Raw meat is not advised, grocery store meats, especially pork, could be contaminated or contain parasites.)

Certain foods can even poison your dog, resulting in severe illness or even death. While most foods are perfectly safe, you’ll want to make sure your dog never gets into your chocolate stash – the cocoa can be deadly. Also, grapes and onions can be very dangerous to your dog’s health, and ingredients listings should be watched carefully.

It's a good idea to keep your garbage cans covered, and get locking lids on the kitchen trash as well, that way your dog doesn't find these foods the naughty way! Not all dogs will show signs of illness when ingesting small amounts of these foods, but depending on the dog’s size and body weight, your dog could get sick or die from eating these foods, and should also be protected from unhealthy sugar snacks. Sure, it’s cute to watch your pet stand on two legs, roll over, and give you a high-five – but try to keep the treats healthy as well!