Our pets are part of our family; we often let them sleep in our beds with us, take them to events, play with them, and treat them as surrogate children. Because we love our animals so much, it can be awfully tempting to allow them to indulge in all the splendors of human life—including our food choices. Even if you eat a healthy, well-rounded diet, sharing your food with your dog could be putting their health in jeopardy. Dogs digestive systems are based on their carnivorous nature—meats and proteins are the basis for their diet, and therefore the first ingredient in their food should always be protein. Our automatic thought process might tell us that fruits and vegetables are healthy for us, therefore they are also healthy for our pets. While this logic is thoughtful and seemingly reasonable, we must be careful not to assume that our pets bodies can handle a majority of the foods we wish to feed them. While many “human” food options are okay in careful moderation for dogs, there are some particular items that should always be left out of your pet’s diet. Here are some of the foods that should absolutely be kept from your dog:
Chocolate is a delicious treat for humans, but it is toxic for dogs. Any kind of chocolate, particularly dark chocolates can have serious adverse side effects for your pet. Sometimes our animals act on their own accord while we are gone from the house, so it is important to keep any chocolate or chocolatey snacks away and out of reach from our dogs at all times. If you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate or notice vomiting or diarrhea, you should not hesitate to contact an emergency veterinarian immediately. In more serious cases, chocolate consumption can result in severe health issues like heart problems and even seizures, or even lead to untimely death if consumed in mass quantities.
Many of the foods that we humans prepare are seasoned or sautéed in garlic or onions—this includes garlic or onion powder. Garlic and other plants from the same category like onions and chives can cause your dog to become seriously ill after consumption. Furthermore, sometimes the physiological reaction doesn’t happen immediately, but after several days. If you notice that your dog is especially feeble or weak after eating something potentially including garlic, you should be sure to monitor their symptoms for several days. Fatigue in animals can be due to any number of issues; if symptoms worsen, you should take your dog to the vet right away.
The classic scene of a dog sharing an ice cream cone with their human partner is nostalgic for most of us, and we sometimes envision our pets getting to enjoy such a treat with us. However, dogs should never eat ice cream, no matter how deliciously adorable you think it will be. In fact, most dairy products can cause digestive issues for dogs including milk and yogurt. Furthermore, the amount of refined sugar in ice cream is intolerable to their digestive systems. Most dogs respond well to even just ice cubes for a treat!
Many dogs and humans alike have aversive reactions to cinnamon and other strong spices. Much like humans, dogs respond similarly to powdered cinnamon in respiratory issues. Cinnamon gets its intense flavor from the oils in it, and these oils can wreak havoc on our pets’ mouth. In fact, many humans have similar reactions to cinnamon, like bleeding gums or general sensitivity and discomfort.
Giving our dogs treats and spoiling them with human foods is not the problem; what can lead to problems is feeding our pets foods that their bodies were simply not designed to handle. Although we come to view our dogs as one of us, we need to remember that they have special dietary needs and digestive systems that are different from our own. At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, serving the areas of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other regions of Ventura County, CA, we make cater our services to every unique pet and pet owner that walks through our doors. We conduct allergy testing and provide information on how to care for your pets through a healthy diet so that you can know exactly what they can and cannot eat. If you have any questions about your pet’s diet, contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you and your furry family members!