Human Foods Your Dog Can’t Eat
As the writer of this blog, I admit I feed my pets, dogs, cats and tortoises human food way too often. My dogs eat steak, my cats eat cheese and they both eat Rotisserie Chicken. My two Sonoran Desert Tortoises eat strawberries and Romaine lettuce. Having said this, there are a whole host of foods that our pets should never eat for multiple reasons. So, while many of us feed our pets human food, please note that doing so requires some knowledge and discretion if you are going to protect your pet’s health and well-being. The following foods, some of which might surprise you (they did me), should not be fed to your dog.
Can I Feed my Puppy Hot Dogs?
Not all hot dogs are created equal. Some are certainly better for us humans than others, but for the most part it should not come as a shock to anyone that hot dogs are not the healthiest food for anyone or anything to eat. As bad as they are for us, they are even worse for pets.
Hot dogs contain tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are not used to and thus can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. They can also cause excessive thirst, urination and lead to dehydration. Even turkey dogs contain the same ingredients that will more than likely make your dog sick or sick to his/her stomach. If you do decide to give in to temptation, cut the hot dog into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards and serve in moderation. Again, if your dog doesn’t feel well afterwards you really should cease the hot dog feeding all together.
This may come as a surprise to you, but you might not want to ask for a doggy bag next time you have restaurant leftovers from foods such as ribs, steaks, chicken and wings because the bones can be very dangerous in the mouth of your dog and other pets that might like to consume them.
Bones can splinter easily and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dog’s mouth, stomach or digestive tract. They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards including choking. Make sure everyone in your family knows this and knows where they can safely dispose of their foods so your pet doesn’t find and get into them on its own.
Potato chips, crackers and pretzels are also loaded with salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination. Snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs and cats as they are for us. If your pet consumes too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and even death.
Fruits and Desserts
Fruits, in general, are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues but the main ones to avoid when it comes to your pets are grapes and raisins since they have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs. Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.
Hot dogs contain tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are not used to and thus can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. They can also cause excessive thirst, urination and lead to dehydration. Even turkey dogs contain the same ingredients that will more than likely make your dog sick or sick to his/her stomach. If you do decide to give in to temptation, cut the hot dog into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards and serve in moderation. Again, if your dog doesn’t feel well afterwards you really should cease the hot dog feeding altogether.
Many cookout foods are choking hazards. Hot dogs, bones and corn cobs are among those that can get lodged in your dog’s airway. Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite-size. Even some dog bones can be choking hazards so if your dog or pet is eating something unique, other than dog or pet food, you should watch them swallow just to be sure the item makes its way down.
An ice-cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet. Even a small amount, just a few licks or sips, can be dangerous and/or fatal. In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean-up after your forgetful friends.
Human Foods Your Dogs Can Eat
Okay, cookouts, parties, and barbeques are all about fun and food and why should our beloved pets not take part? They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them! The following are people foods your dog and other pets can have.
A few shrimp every now and then is fine for your dog, but only if they are fully cooked and the shell (including the tail, head, and legs) is removed completely. Shrimp are high in antioxidants, vitamin B-12, and phosphorus and low in fat, calories and carbohydrates.
Yes, cheese is okay in small to moderate quantities. As long as your dog or pet isn’t lactose intolerant, which is rare but still possible in canines, cheese can be a great treat. Many kinds of cheese can be high in fat, so go for low-fat varieties like cottage cheese or mozzarella.
Just like whole peanuts, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein for dogs. It contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins B and E and niacin. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is the healthiest option because it doesn’t contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.
Small amounts of plain bread (no spices and definitely no raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like in people. 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 altogether.
Who or what doesn’t like ice cream? Your pet’s tummy, that’s what. It is really best not to share your ice cream with your dog or other pets who might like it. Canines don’t digest dairy very well, and many even have a slight intolerance to lactose, a sugar found in milk products. Although it’s also a dairy product, frozen yogurt is a much better alternative. To avoid the milk altogether, freeze chunks of strawberries, raspberries, apples, and pineapples and give them to your dog as a sweet, icy treat.
As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation. If your pet is determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way. Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because you deny him/her the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!
Canine Fitness Month
During the month of April, Canine Fitness Month focuses on keeping our most loyal companions healthy and physically active.
Like many of their human counterparts, too many dogs suffer from obesity and “sedentarism,” the two most common preventable conditions in the canine and human populations. Too much sitting and too many calories in the form of treats or poor nutrition choices often contribute to weight gain. Besides causing our furry friends to have sore joints, difficulty breathing, a higher risk of cancer, canine diabetes and other diseases, obesity also shortens their lives.
Unfortunately, sedentarism has become a normal lifestyle for many dogs and their people. The opposite of a sedentary lifestyle is movement. Playing, being outside, engaging and moving. Canine Fitness Month encourages us to take a step toward developing a healthier lifestyle and bond with our four-legged family members.
ALWAYS: Check with your veterinarian to be sure your pet is healthy enough for exercise and find out what kind of diet routine Fido should be eating. Then give some of these tips a try:
- Get walking! This is the obvious first and easiest exercise for most canine and human companions. One foot in front of the other and the fresh air will do you both good
- Try active play. Throw a ball, stick or frisbee in a safe environment, or better yet – run or jog with your pet to retrieve it.
Play hide and seek with your pet’s daily allowance of treats. Place them behind doors, under bowls and chairs. Make treating an active reward.
- For dogs unaccustomed to the game of fetch, use a treat-dispensing ball that will interest them in retrieving the ball. It may take time to get them to bring the ball back to you, but once the treat is gone, they will in hopes of more treats. Keep the amounts small and intermittent.
- Food fitness games. Place an unstable object in front of the food bowl for your dog to step on as they reach for the food bowl to introduce balance activities and limb strengthening as a fun and rewarding game.
- Raise the floor. Integrating a platform that can be climbed on, or crawled under, during the day is an excellent way to incorporate movement if space is small and the weather isn’t cooperating.
- Many dogs are shadows to their canine companions, following us around everywhere we go even if it is just to lie down underfoot. Take advantage of this when starting a new workout routine. Encourage them to participate when you put in the cardio or yoga video. When you shuffle across the room, grab a toy and lure them to do the same.
- Incorporate some of your pooch’s well-known obedience drills – like sit, stand, down – into your yoga routine. When you go into cobra, try asking your loyal pal lie down. When you move into downward dog, have him sit.
- Creating obstacle courses indoors and out is possible the whole year-round. With a small amount of equipment or none at all, just moving rugs and chairs around to create obstacles will create a workout worthy of both human and canine. The key is to make movement fun for both of you!
- Don’t have time? Find a Canine Fitness Trainer or a Dog Walker that can help get the recommended 20-30 minutes your dog needs each day.