Monday, March 21, 2016

Dog Diet Dos and Don'ts

Anyone who lives with a dog is familiar with a common canine paradox: Dogs will eat anything, even if it makes them sick. Keeping your dog safe and healthy doesn't have to be a brain teaser. Here are some of the major foods dogs should not eat, along with a list of foods dogs can have to improve their health.



Diet Don'ts



A dog may be a human's best friend, but that doesn't mean a pooch makes a good dinner partner. Below is a list of foods dogs can’t eat. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are especially bad for your pet.

  • Chocolate.* Methylxanthines and caffeine make chocolate potentially deadly to canines. The risk depends on the type and amount of chocolate and the size of the dog. White chocolate is least dangerous, while baking chocolate can be lethal. 
  • Caffeine.* A small amount of caffeine can make a dog restless and hyperactive. High doses may causes muscle twitches, seizures, rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Coffee and tea aren't the only sources of caffeine—watch out for energy drinks and diet pills as well. 
  • Alcohol.* Even a small amount of alcohol can quickly result in low blood pressure, reduced blood sugar and a drop in body temperature. 
  • Grapes and raisins.* Grapes contain a substance that causes kidney failure in dogs. Baked goods, granola and yogurt-covered raisins should be kept away from pets. 
  • Avocados. A toxin called persin may cause breathing difficulties and an upset stomach. 
  • Raw meats and fish. Raw meats can carry Salmonella and E. coli, which cause food poisoning. Raw pork and some varieties of fish, including salmon, often harbor parasites. Cooking destroys these pathogens.
  • Macadamia nuts.* In addition to having a very high fat content, macadamia nuts are known to cause neurological symptoms in dogs. 
  • Tree nuts. Most tree nuts contain enough fat to give a dog an upset stomach. They can also cause intestinal blockage that must be treated by a vet. 
  • Dairy products. Dogs are naturally lactose-intolerant, making most dairy items a bad idea. The exception is plain yogurt, which contains no lactose. 
  • Cat food. Dogs and cats have very different dietary needs. Cat food is very high in protein, which can be hard on a dog's liver and kidneys. 
  • Xylitol.* A common natural sweetener also known as sugar alcohol, xylitol is found in sugar-free gums and candies, as well as in soft drinks, toothpaste and energy drinks. Even a small amount can cause a dog's body to release too much insulin, which is followed by hypoglycemia. It can even lead to liver failure. 
  • Yeast dough. Active yeast dough can expand after a dog eats it. The result is nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, the dog may develop a twisted stomach that can only be treated with surgery.
  • Onions, garlic and chives.* These members of the Allium family contain thiosulphate, which destroys red blood cells in dogs. The resulting anemia may be severe enough to require a blood transfusion. An amount of onions equal to one-half of one percent of a dog's body weight may be fatal. Onion powder is especially dangerous, because it is much more concentrated than fresh onions.

If your dog eats something on this list, try to find out how much was ingested. Consult your veterinarian if a pet eats items marked with an asterisk. Signs of serious trouble include pale gums (onions), uncoordinated movement (xylitol), and abdominal pain (multiple causes).

Diet Dos

Dogs are not pure carnivores. They require a variety of foods, although animal protein is a large part of any canine's diet. Here are some foods that add extra nutrition to your pet's daily routine. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are commonly found in dog food.

  • Chicken.* Cooked, boneless chicken is a good way to increase a dog's protein intake. 
  • Salmon or salmon oil.* Omega-3 fatty acids boost the immune system and improve your pet's skin and coat. 
  • Oatmeal. Oats are an excellent source of fiber. Serve oatmeal cooked, with no sweeteners, nuts or raisins. 
  • Eggs.* Cooked eggs provide riboflavin and protein. They're also a good treat when training. 
  • Carrots. A crunchy treat loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, carrots provide an extra boost of antioxidants. 
  • Green beans. Vitamins, fiber and carbohydrates make this fun treat nutritious as well.
Did you find this post helpful? Help your friends and their lovable companions avoid a dangerous mishap by sharing this list on social media!

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