While most of us will be indulging during holidays such as Easter or Christmas, it's primordial to remember that chocolate, raisins, xylitol and more foods are poisonous to dogs and should be kept out of their reach. So much temptation with all the chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and sweets that humans indulge with... not to talk about those irresistible sad puppy eyes dogs have evolved to manipulate humans with.
Here is a list of ten foods to avoid feeding dogs all year around - and why:
Chocolate – contains theobromine, a naturally occuring chemical found in cocoa beans, which dogs are unable to digest and can cause kidney failure, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the increased levels contained of theobromine.
Xylitol – is a common ingredient used to replace sugar and found in chewing gum, sweets and used also as a food additive (including in peanut butter and in diet drinks). It can cause insulin release if very small doses are ingested (just a chewing gum) and result in hypoglycaemia, comas, liver damage and blood clotting disorders.
Garlic/Onions – both can cause gastrointestinal upset and red blood cell damage especially when ingested in big quantities. Signs can be delayed and only become apparent a few days following ingestion.
Grapes, raisins and dried fruit – these can cause liver and kidney damage. Toxic levels are unknown but avoidance is important! They can be found in hot cross buns at Easter time, scones but also mince pies around Christmas.
Mouldy foods (including bread) – can be accessed on walks (especially now picnics are more frequent) or rummaging through the bin/compost heap. Some moulds contain harmful spores that can not only cause stomach upset but also, if inhaled whilst eating, they can cause lung damage and breathing difficulties.
Fatty foods – giving dogs scraps from the table is often something people love to do, however feeding fatty trims of meat or overly rich foods that dogs are not used to eating can cause pancreatitis, a painful condition that often requires hospitalisation and lifelong dietary management.
Raw eggs – feeding raw egg whites can affect biotin levels (Vitamin B7 which is important in the maintenance of keratinised structures such as the skin and hair) as they contain a binder called avidin. Therefore, if eggs are to form part of the daily diet they should be cooked.
Cooked bones - raw bones often make a great treat for raw fed dogs (always supervised) but cooked, steamed and dried bones can splinter causing damage to the mouth, stomach and intestines. If you choose to feed raw bones, do your research first on which is the most appropriate option for your dog (we find that raw beef marrow bones - with some of the marrow removed as it is very fatty - work best to keep Marcel's gnashers clean, but some dogs risk damaging their teeth on them as they are weight bearing therefore very hard, however have stopped feeding him raw chicken wings as he would barely chew them and swallow big pieces that are then not easily digested).
Macadamia nuts – raw, roasted or contained within other foods if consumed can cause vomiting, weakness, depression, tremors and increase in body temperature.
Corn cobs – a common sight in summer time at BBQs, but whilst the left over cobs can make a lovely chewy snack for dogs, they are often swallowed whole causing serious intestinal blockage requiring surgery to remove.
Oh, and... those alcoholic drinks... are to avoid too!
Our "go to" method when it comes to feeding Marcel non dog-food is to always do it in moderation, and, in doubt, if we're not sure that it is safe for him... he doesn't get any. Better safe than sorry!
Many thanks to Mel, Nature's Menu's own Veterinary Nurse and Education Manager, for putting the list together!
Have a safe and enjoyable Easter, all!