Having a cheeseburger without crispy french fries is practically blasphemy. When you roll through the drive-through to treat yourself to a yummy meal, you might be tempted to sneak some fries to your dog sitting happily in the shotgun seat. Before you pass a couple of fries off to your pup, consider some of the following things.
Are French Fries Safe for Dogs to Eat?
As tasty as fries are, they really aren’t good for dogs at all. They’re not immediately toxic or dangerous, but they aren’t healthy in any way. Fries are loaded with saturated and trans fats, both of which are bad for anyone who consumes them. Too much fat in a dog’s diet, whether it’s all at once or over time, can lead to a very painful inflammation of the pancreas.
The biggest reason fries are bad for dogs is because fast food fries are loaded with salt. Salt may make them taste quite glorious to both of you, but dogs have a low tolerance for salt. While a lot of salt in your diet will make your blood pressure skyrocket or cause you to retain a bunch of water, salt reacts a bit differently in dogs.
Too Many Fries Can Lead To Salt Poisoning
Dogs that get a lot of salt can actually come down with salt poisoning. It doesn’t sound very dangerous, but it’s actually quite serious. Too much salt throws off the body’s very specific electrolyte balance. Due to this imbalance, salt poisoning can permanently damage your dog’s kidneys.
Kidney damage is rarely reversible and it usually progresses as they age, so even if the initial damage isn’t very severe, it will get worse as time passes. Salt poisoning can also send dogs into a coma or even kill them. Symptoms usually begin with vomiting and diarrhea and a loss of appetite.
Some dogs will walk as if they’re drunk, and most will seem as if they can’t get enough to drink. If the poisoning is allowed to progress, fluid will accumulate in the body because the body begins to retain water. Depending on how imbalanced the electrolytes are or how dehydrated the dog is, seizures can occur.
Treatment requires the intervention of a veterinarian. Your dog will need to be hospitalized and given IV fluids and a concoction of electrolytes to help re-balance the body. Blood will have to be drawn periodically to see how the electrolytes are recovering and the dog can’t go home until their blood returns to normal.
Remember that there are a few household items that contain high amounts of salt. These include homemade play dough, paint balls, rock salt, and even enemas. If salt is a primary ingredient, ensure that it’s stored far away from where your dog can access it.
French Fries Can Create Picky Eaters
When you go on vacation and eat a ton of fast food, you come home and suddenly your healthy meals don’t taste as good anymore. The same phenomenon happens to your dog when you give them lots of yummy treats. Eventually, they’d rather wait for you to throw them greasy fast food instead of eating their typical meal.
This can be a very hard habit to break; some dogs can go days with practically no food as they desperately beg for your table scraps. Many dogs come into the veterinary clinic quite overweight because their owners are convinced their dog will starve themselves if they stop giving them human food. It’s best to avoid creating this habit because it’s very difficult to break.
While feeding your dog a few fries here and there won’t cause any issues, consistently giving them will create a variety of health problems. Save the fast food for yourself and give your dog healthier options. Dogs are so easy to please that they’ll be happy with whatever you give them.