For A Happier, Healthier Dog
There’s absolutely no doubt about it, people love their pets. In the United States alone, individuals spent approximately $56 billion dollars on pet care during the past year. That being stated, it should be no surprise that many pet owners feel it is appropriate to feed their animal companions the same food that they consume; after all, if it’s good for me it’s good for them, correct? Well, you may be wrong.
While it’s certainly true that our pets can benefit from the same vitamins and nutrients that humans do, one must keep in mind that as with humans our pets can have allergies and stomach upsets after eating certain foods too. And unlike humans our pets cannot tell us when they are feeling unwell or experiencing an adverse reaction to something that they ate.
Similar to what you would do with a child who has sensitivities, when feeding your pet food that is unfamiliar to them its best to do so in very small quantities. It is also important to watch them carefully for any reactions that they may have to the food; signs such as diarrhea or vomiting, decreased activity, a lack of appetite, a change in their urinating habits, or coughing. When my pup is feeling unwell he looks at me with pitiful eyes and his ears, which are very large and usually erect, will be drooping beside his head.
One food that is good for dogs which they seem to enjoy immensely is bananas. The first thing you want to do is allow your dog to smell the banana and see if it even interests them. Some dogs enjoy the smell and taste of bananas, while others can’t get far enough away from the smell. If the smell seems to entice your canine friend then smash some up in their food for a tasty treat. Bananas contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium, and plenty of fiber which is great for a doggy diet.
One important thing to keep in mind is that not all human food is fit for canine consumption. We’ve all heard for years about the toxic effects of chocolate on dogs, but what should also be avoided are onion and garlic, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, nutmeg, avocado, and sugar-free foods many of which contain Xylitol that can cause liver failure in dogs.
Grapes and raisins are another food to keep away from your pooch. While ingesting one or two is not seen as much of a problem, some dogs have actually experienced kidney failure after eating large quantities of them. The subject is still under investigation, but many researchers speculate that the reason for this are the large concentrations of fluoride found in raisins and grapes. If a human consumed large amounts of fluoride they would become ill as well; fluoride in large quantities is a deadly toxin and carcinogen.
Pet owners should also be aware that many house plants and outdoor plantings can be highly toxic to dogs when consumed. Plants such as Aloe Vera, Chrysanthemum, Philodendron, Ivy, Daffodils, Oak, Wisteria, Fox Glove, and Nightshade are all plants that should not be consumed by dogs. If you suspect that your dog has ingested something poisonous you should contact the ASPCA poison hotline at (888) 426-4435. Remain calm and collect any material that you believe your animal has ingested so that your local vet can determine the issue. If your pet is experiencing convulsions or seizures, losing consciousness or having difficulty breathing contact your local emergency veterinarian immediately.