Beware! This food is poisonous to your dog
Easter is fast approaching, and homes up and down the country are once more crammed with chocolate eggs and bunnies. Yet, whilst many dog owners are well aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, accidents still happen. Indeed, dogs don't come with their own built-in 'poison detector' and most of them love chocolate as much as we do! But chocolate isn't the only item that's life threatening for your four legged friend. Below is a handy list of some of the most common food products that are poisonous to dogs.
Chocolate is extremely toxic to your dog, which is why you'd never dream of 'feeding' him the brown stuff. However, you might be tempted to place dishes filled with Easter eggs on tables around your home at Easter. Unfortunately, your dog can secretly munch on these during an unguarded moment. Not a good idea, because chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. The purer the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. What constitutes a life-threatening dose depends on the type of chocolate, as well as the size and breed of your dog. If your dog has accidentally eaten chocolate, then pay close attention: is he shivering, vomiting, panting, drinking and urinating excessively, or is he restless? Then take him to your vet immediately!
Grapes and raisins
Another food that is toxic to dogs is the grape, and in its dried form, the raisin. Grapes and raisins are harmful to your dog's kidneys and consumption can lead to acute renal failure. Symptoms include shivering, lethargy, vomiting, and a lack of appetite. Just a small handful of raisins is enough to poison your dog, so be careful with this seemingly harmless treat!
Onion and garlic
Garlic, and everything that belongs to the onion family (including leeks and spring onions) are poisonous to your dog. This applies to the cooked variety too, so leftovers containing fried onion are also a no-no. The toxic effect of onion causes damage to your dog's red blood cells, which can lead to anaemia. This manifests in symptoms such as lethargy, lack of appetite, and rapid breathing and heartbeat. If your dog is behaving suspiciously, call your vet without delay.
Tomato, pepper, aubergine
Vegetables from the nightshade family are not good for your dog either, so be careful with tomatoes, peppers and aubergine.
Be careful with nuts
The majority of nuts are bad for your dog, but watch out for macadamia nuts and walnuts in particular. Peanuts are not nuts, but rather legumes, so a lick of peanut butter as a reward is okay, unless of course your dog is allergic to peanuts. Don't forget though, that peanut butter is extremely high in fat and must therefore be given in moderation.
Exercise caution with salt, xylitol, and alcohol
Many so-called 'light' products contain xylitol, a sweetener that's extremely toxic to dogs. Be careful never to share any of your 'light' labelled treats with your faithful friend. The same also applies to salty products: if your dog ingests too much salt, he can suffer from salt poisoning. This may lead to symptoms such as vomiting, restlessness and diarrhoea. Always consult your vet if you notice anything strange. Lots of products unexpectedly contain added salt. Keep a sharp eye out for such 'hidden' salts, which are typically found in crisps, peanuts and bread. And, although you'd never contemplate giving your dog beer: some mischievous mutts will lovingly lick your glass clean whilst you're not looking ...so, please exercise caution where alcohol is concerned, because it's certainly not good for your dog.
Photo: Nao Cha
So, what can your dog enjoy?
Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy snacks that you can safely feed your dog, including unprocessed chicken, beef and fish. Meat and fish can be enjoyed in cooked, raw or dried form. You can also give your pooch a selection of raw vegetables to nibble on, such as carrots, broccoli or a piece of cucumber. Some dogs are especially fond of fruit: apple and banana are always a great option. And, if you're particularly disappointed that you cannot give your dog a chocolate egg this Easter, then why not treat him to an ordinary boiled egg instead?
Happy Easter! :-)