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Toxic Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Pets

"If anyone has taken their dog to the beach only to witness the effects of excessive salt water consumption, they will testify that the results of excessive salt intake can be ......explosive!"

Welcome to our guide to what foods you need to avoid giving your pet pooch. As a dog owner, I often feed my family pet left overs, but after reading our little guide I think, like me you may change your dog feeding habits a little.

1. Alcohol

However funny and entertaining it may be to provide your pets with a little tipple, it can have serious consequences to your pets behaviour and ultimately their health. Alcohol is absorbed quickly into your pets bloodstream. Ingesting alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, blood pressure and body temperature. Seizures and respiratory failure can also occur, particularly in hot weather when we, as humans often fancy a beer or glass of wine. Also please be careful when thinking about feeding your pet puddings containing alcohol as this can be a hidden danger – however tasty!

2. Fruit Toxins

The seeds and pits of fruits such as plums, cherries and peaches (persimmons) are a major problem for your dogs. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine and may also cause intestinal obstructions. Pits and seeds also contain cyanide, which is poisonous to humans and dogs should the pit be broken open which often occurs as your pets see the pit as a play object. All parts of the cherry plant are toxic to dogs (with the exception of the fruit itself) and so be wary if you are planning on planting a cherry tree in your garden, particularly when introducing a puppy to your family and garden.

3. Onions and Garlic

Onions contain an ingredient called Thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. Garlic, chives and leeks are also poisonous to your pets and should be avoided. Garlic is

considered five times as potent as onions, causing oxidative damage to the red blood cells, stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea. Be aware that onions and garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset, and clinical signs may not be visible for several days. Immediate veterinary care is recommended.

4. Yeast and Dough

Unbaked dough that contains yeast can expand in your pets stomach and intestines and cause serious abdominal discomfort, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Some yeasted doughs can also ferment into alcohol which contributes to signs of lethargy and alcohol toxicity. Please ensure you tidy up after baking your bread and sticky buns folks!

5. Chocolate

Chocolate contains different levels of fat, caffeine and Methylxanthines. The darker and richer the chocolate the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the amount of chocolate ingested, dogs may experience hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea. If you have any concern take your pet to the vet immediately.

6. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in toothpastes, sugarless gum, mouthwash, cough medicines and childrens multi vitamin chews and tablets. If your puppy is anything like my puppy, they will eat literally anything so be aware and ensure that these food types are not in reach of your pets. Ingestion of Xylitol can cause the rapid release of insulin in dogs and results in hypoglycaemia. This can result in vomiting, weakness and sometimes seizures. Liver failure can also occur in serious cases so please consult with your vet if you believe your dog has ingested this substance.

7. Raw Meat and Fish

Some raw meats and raw fish can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. However, recent trends in raw dog diets are testament to the fact that if you treat your pets raw meat products as you would with human grade products (chicken fillets or sausages for example) then you are likely to avoid your pet suffering from the ill effects of food

poisoning. Certain types of fish such as salmon, trout and sturgeon can contain a parasite that causes ‘fish disease’. If not treated, fish disease can be fatal within two weeks. The first signs of fish disease include vomiting, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking the fish will kill the parasite and ensure your pet can indulge in this healthy diet option.

8. Caffeine.

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, dietary pills and diet bars all contain enough caffeine to affect your pets heart, stomach, intestines and nervous system with serious outcomes. Restlessness, muscle twitching, increased panting and increases in heart rate and blood pressure can all occur and will place added stress on your dogs essential organs. This can often exacerbate any hidden health problems. In serious cases seizures and death may result, particularly when combined with warm temperatures or increases in body temperature due to exercise.

9. Mushrooms

Avoiding the ingestion of wild mushrooms is essential, so avoid allowing them to grow in your garden. Puppies in particular can be drawn to the smell of mushrooms. Wild mushrooms contain a toxin that will trigger organ system failure, kidney, liver and brain damage. Nervous system abnormalities, seizures, coma and even death can all occur so be aware when walking in areas populated with wild mushrooms or when consuming foods which may contain foraged ingredients.

10. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. Coli and excessive consumption of raw eggs can also result in biotin deficiency. This may result in skin problems and issues with your dogs coat health and appearance. Feeding your dog cooked eggs is far safer and may work alongside your daily meal preparation. For example we often share cooked scrambled eggs with our pets as an alternative to other food types.

11. Salt

If anyone has taken their dog to the beach only to witness the effects of excessive salt water consumption, they will testify that the results of excessive salt intake can be ......explosive! Table salt is poisonous to your pet and is often hidden in strange things. Your children’s play dough contains large amounts of salt as does sea water and even paint balls. I would also recommend being very careful if you plan to treat your pet with products such as some jerky products or biltong. Ingesting too much salt can result in seizures, brain swelling and needs to be treated quickly and carefully by your vet.

12. Fatty Foods

As with humans, ingesting too much fat (fatty foods) can make you feel bloated, cause stomach issues and result in vomiting and diarrhea. Be careful to avoid feeding your pet too many scraps from the plate, particularly after a dinner party or after tucking into your favourite take away meal. Certain breeds like Sheepdogs, Yorkshire terriers and miniature Schnauzers appear to be susceptible to a bout of pancreatitis than other breeds following the consistent ingestion of foods high in fats.

13. Rhubarb

Rhubarb contains oxalates which can result in abnormalities within the kidneys, nervous system and digestive tract. Ensure you are not feeding your pet scraps of jams, jellies, sauces or pies containing Rhubarb.

A few other tips:

If your dog has an upset belly then your vet will likely follow the lead of there human counterparts and prescribe a diet of small portions of bland foods, such as rice and chicken. Rice in particular is an excellent antidote if your dog is having particularly lose poo's. Some also appear concerned when their dog is seen to be eating grass whilst walking. Do not be concerned as this is simply your dogs innate need to replenish certain minerals or vitamins which may be lacking at that time. Allow them to 'graze' although prepare yourself for some interesting poo bag situations the following day!

It is recommended that as owners we try not to leave our pets food bowls down for long periods of times, for a number of reasons. Firstly the food may attract unwanted visitors in the form of ants, flies and other creepy crawlies. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly is the fact that your dog will be come accustomed to taking overly long periods of time to feed. Of course, we want to avoid where possible your dogs 'wolfing down' their food as if their lives depend on it (however, this is a completely natural and innate habit in all dogs), but we can encourage and quickly train our dogs to recognise the fact that they need to eat their food servings promptly before the bowl is lifted, washed and made ready for their next meal.

*If you have any concerns regarding your pets health following the consumption of a food or liquid, then consult your vet. You are in best position to assess your dogs behaviour and you will know if your pet is not feeling quite right. Air on the side of caution and seek advice if you have any concerns.

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