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Why You Should Just Say “No” to Table Scraps for Your Dog

Some foods that are edible for humans can pose hazards for dogs. Pet foods are specially formulated for your individual dog’s needs. The food we eat, however, is largely formulated for taste. Ideally, you should never give your dog scraps from your table. Your dog’s health and behavior will reflect his diet so always pay close attention to what you feed him. In fact, certain foods can make your dog very ill and should always be avoided.

Your dog’s health depends upon your good judgment. Try not to feed your dog excessively from your table. But if you do treat your dog to table food, avoid foods that can make him ill like the following list of items:

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause health issues for your pets. In pets that already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

Candy and Gum
Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. (See Below)
Xylitol can cause an increase in the insulin circulating through your dog’s body. That can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, the dog may have seizures. Liver failure can occur within just a few days.

Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn’t eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system. It’s best to just forget about the doggie bag.

Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums
The problem with these fruits is the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction. Obstruction is also a possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs. The difference is humans know not to eat them. Dogs don’t.

Raw Eggs
There are two problems with giving your dog raw eggs. The first is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. The second is that an enzyme in raw eggs interferes with the absorption of a particular B vitamin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your dog’s coat if raw eggs are fed for a long time.

Onions and Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.

There is no problem with potatoes, except for the green parts, because they are toxic. In potatoes and other Solanum species, including the tomato, if the green part is eaten in large amounts, it can be dangerous. However, a bit of potato here and there shouldn’t cause any problems for your dogs.

Why do you put salt on your food? It’s for flavor right? Well dogs have a lot less taste buds than we do. They get the “taste” of food through their incredible sense of smell. So, because of this, salt is just unnecessary. Also salt, in large amounts, can lead to health issues for your dog, and possibly pose a risk for the development of sodium ion toxicity. So if she won’t miss it, don’t add it!

Sugar and Sweeteners
Sugar and sweeteners are similar to salt, just not needed, and not missed. But that’s not the only reason sugar should be avoided. Some experts believe that continuous feeding of sugar can lead to hypoglycemia, obesity and tooth decay. Also artificial sweeteners are on the list of toxic food for dogs.

This can be a great addition to any treat, but especially training treats. The aroma is hard to ignore, and most dogs will obey quite nicely to have a taste. However, large amounts of cooked liver can cause vitamin A toxicity. So, keep your dog guessing what will be in his treats next and avoid overloading his system with any one ingredient.

Cheese and Milk
These are not foods poisonous to dogs. However, you should know that some dogs are sensitive to dairy products, some even to the point of being lactose intolerant. If your dog is lactose intolerant, you can substitute milk in a dog treat recipe for almond milk or any other lactose free milk. Or, if you’d like to add variety to a recipe, you can substitute the milk for chicken or beef broth, or even water. You can also choose to use lactose free cheeses, or almond based cheese for your dog’s sensitive tummy.

Baby Food
This is OK in small amounts. But, keep in mind that baby food may contain onions or onion powder. It may also contain excess sugar and salt, which are normally not needed in a dog’s diet. If you decide to use baby food in your dog treat ingredients, review the benefits to buying and baking with organic dog treat ingredients.

Table Foods
Cooked bones should not be given ever because they can splinter and punch a hole in the intestine requiring expensive surgery, if they live. So absolutely NO cooked Bones. If you feel you want/must give your dog a bone, feed them raw beef bones. They are also good for there teeth.

If Your Dog Eats Something That It Shouldn’t
Dogs explore with their mouth. And, no matter how cautious you are, it’s possible your dog can find and swallow what it shouldn’t. It’s a smart idea to always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – (888) 426-4435 – where you know you can find it in an emergency. And, if you think your dog has consumed something that’s toxic, call for emergency help immediately.

Healthy Choices and Proper Nutrition
21st Century Pet offers a variety of products for your dog’s nutrition and digestive system needs. Visit a PetSmart location near you today, or check out our website for a complete listing of 21st Century Pet’s health products and supplements for your dog and cat.

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