As humans, we have an extremely varied diet. We can eat virtually whatever we want, when we want, and go about our lives virtually unscathed. Every teenager has indulged in cold pepperoni pizza after a late night. Pancakes for dinner are a treat for people of all ages, too, but a staple for poor college students. Don’t forget all of those decadent desserts, indulgent dinners, and cheap lunches that make up our diets. We can have whatever we want with minimal or no long-term consequences if it’s eaten with moderation. While humans have an extended palate, dogs are willing to eat almost anything. Chances are, if you drool over it, your dog will enjoy it, too. Don’t just give your dog anything they enjoy, though. Not everything is good for your dog or even very safe. You definitely shouldn’t allow your dog’s tastes to dictate what you feed them under the table.
The Problem With Feeding “Human Foods” to Dogs
When you think of “human food”, you probably think about processed foods like chips, frozen dinners, and processed meats. Whether you’re considering sharing your home-cooked dinner with your dog or slipping him a few bites of your cookie, you have to take the ingredients into consideration, not just the whole food. While dogs can tolerate most foods, the ones they can’t lead to severe gastric upset or even organ damage.Your average processed food contains more than 15 ingredients, while some have more than 25 ingredients. You can pretty much guarantee that you don’t know what all of those ingredients actually are, and many ingredients are given new names when they’re put into foods. Did you know there are 57 different names for sugar? That greatly decreases your knowledge of what you and your dog are eating. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, but when a food damages a dog’s organs, these mystery ingredients can be fatal.
Follow This Rule of Thumb When Feeding Your Dog Scraps
The safest way to keep your dog safe from hidden dangers in human food is to simply not feed them anything outside of their regular dog food. Unless you’re an expert label reader, it’s almost guaranteed that your dog is going to accidentally ingest something they shouldn’t at some point. The safest thing you can do is to keep your dog away from the things you eat.
It’s likely that your dog will get human food at some point. If you have kids, you know that they’re terribly messy and they constantly drop things on the floor. They also don’t know what’s dangerous to dogs, so they might slip them something that has garlic or chocolate in it. In these cases, the best thing to do is to talk to your kids about what’s safe. Explaining the dangers of raisins inside their favorite oatmeal cookies will make them think twice about doling half of it out to their furry friend. If they aren’t old enough to understand, you should keep your dog away from the table while your kids eat and don’t let them “vacuum” the floor.
Your Trashcan Can Be A Source of Unhealthy Food
Some dogs are habitual trash diggers. Whenever you turn your back, they’ll tip over the trash can and rummage through the contents, looking for the yummiest and sometimes smelliest treats. If you own a dog like this, you should be very careful about what you actually throw away in accessible trash bins. Things like onions, chocolate candy, and extremely fatty foods should be put into your outside receptacle. Even if they don’t eat poisonous foods, they can still experience something called “garbage gut” or garbage toxicosis. This occurs when dogs eat something that’s spoiled or beginning to spoil and is growing dangerous bacteria.
Certain bacterias can cause a lot more than just GI upset. They can also cause shock, collapse, seizures, muscle tremors, and even death. You should know that these types of bacteria are transmittable to humans, especially the very young, elderly, or those with immune system disorders. Signs of garbage gut will occur within 15 minutes of ingestion, but they can take as long as eight hours to appear. Many owners come home to find their dog completely unresponsive but have no idea how long ago their dog got into the trash.
If you’re lucky enough to witness your dog trash digging, take them to the vet right away. If it’s been under two hours since ingestion, your vet will probably induce vomiting. If it’s been over two hours, the treatment will require IV fluids, hospitalization, and medications to treat the symptoms your dog is showing.
The Dangers of Feeding Raw Food to Dogs
Raw food isn’t just dangerous for you; it can make your pup ill, too. There are lots of raw foods in your diet, but they’re cooked before you eat them. It’s an unfortunate fact that the meat and eggs we buy are riddled with bacteria. You should never give your dog raw meat or eggs to avoid dangerous foodborne illnesses. When wild dogs eat meat, their meat is as fresh as it can be so there’s no risk of getting something like salmonella or E. coli. The meat you buy is relatively fresh but not fresh enough that bacteria hasn’t been able to grow.
Raw eggs can cause salmonella infections in dogs, especially puppies or senior dogs. On top of that, raw eggs contain something called avidin, a type of vitamin B, which stops the development of biotin. If you want to add egg to your dog’s diet, you should consult with your veterinarian first.
The best rule of thumb is if it comes in a box, it’s best to keep it away from your dog. As a dog owner, it’s very important to know what is safe for your dog to eat. There’s a huge difference between “okay” and “safe”, and knowing that difference can go a long way towards saving your dog’s life.