We all love our dogs, and we want to be able to give them an occasional treat. You may think that feeding your dog the foods you enjoy most is OK, but you might actually be hurting him more than you are rewarding him.
Although some human food can be perfectly safe for your dog, foods such as butter, raisins, onions and chocolate can be toxic and should be kept away from your dog. The American Kennel Club offers the following facts and tips to keep your dog safe from dangerous foods:
• No chocolate. This is not just a myth. Chocolate can be extremely harmful to your dog. It contains methylxanthines, which can stop a dog’s metabolic process. It also contains theobromine and caffeine, which speed the heart rate and stimulate a dog’s nervous system. Ingesting even a small amount can cause diarrhea and vomiting in your dog. Larger amounts can lead to seizures and abnormal heart function and in some cases can even be fatal.
• No added sugar. Just as sugar can be dangerous to the health of humans, it is also harmful to dogs. Regular sugar will have the same effect on dogs that it does on humans: hyperactivity followed by a crash. If you continue to give your dog added sugar, it may eventually lead to obesity. The artificial sweetener Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is found in lots of sugar-free gum, candies and mints. Avoid feeding your dog any foods that contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
• Take preventative measures. Be sure that all human food is out of your dog’s reach. Keep toxic foods such as chocolate as far from your dog’s reach as possible. Always remind others not to feed your dog human food. Also, having a well-trained dog can be helpful in avoiding the consumption of hazardous foods. The command “leave it” is extremely effective in preventing dogs from eating something that falls onto the floor or is accidentally left within reach.
• Do your research. Some human foods such as cooked eggs, plain turkey, fish and cheese can be perfectly safe and can have nutritional benefits for your dog. Keep in mind that everything should be in moderation, and your dog should have a balanced diet. Always do your research and speak to your vet before giving your dog any human food.
• What to do if your dog ingests something harmful. If you believe your dog ingested chocolate or any other harmful substance, call your veterinarian immediately. Based on your dog’s weight and the amount of toxic food ingested, your vet may recommend closely monitoring his behavior. However, in more serious cases, your vet may recommend bringing your dog to the clinic. You may also want to consider contacting a poison control center for pets.©2021 American Kennel Club. Visit at akc.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC