Dogs can happily consume many “human” foods with no adverse effects but this is not always true. Some foods could make your dog ill or even prove fatal so it is crucial to know which foods are safe for canine consumption and which foods are no-go areas.
Safe human treats for dogs
These foods can have nutritional benefits and should be safely tolerated by most dogs. Always bear in mind that treats should form no more than 10 per cent of your dog’s daily diet.
Salmon: As an oily fish, salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids and is potentially good for keeping your dog’s joints healthy and supple.
Yoghurt: This is a good source of calcium and protein. Go for fat-free yoghurt without sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Sweet potatoes: Rich in fibre and vitamins A, B6 and C, sweet potatoes are a healthy treat for your dog. They also contain manganese.
Eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein, riboflavin and selenium. Stick to whole, cooked eggs though as raw whites can lead to a biotin deficiency.
Apples: With the skin on, apples are a healthy, nutritional treat. They also contain pectin, which helps with your dog’s digestion. The crunchiness is useful for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and for freshening breath. Always avoid feeding the core to your dog as the pips can be harmful if consumed too often.
Oatmeal: This is a good source of soluble fibre and can be particularly beneficial for older dogs that may have problems with performing regular bowel movements. It is also a good substitute for dogs that cannot tolerate wheat. Always cook before feeding to your dog and keep things plain – don’t add sugar or other flavourings.
Brown rice with chicken: Not all dogs can tolerate chicken so it’s best to start off with a small amount to check that it will not cause diarrhoea or other digestive problems. Avoid seasonings, especially garlic or onions.
Lean red meat: This is a good source of amino acids and B vitamins. Bake or boil rather than grilling and get rid of visible fat before serving.
Pasta: Plain pasta is easily digestible but leave off sauces, which can cause upset stomachs.
Fruit: This is a good source of vitamin C and fibre, and is also low in calories. Watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe melon, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries can all be used in fruit salads but grapes should be avoided due to the risk of kidney damage. Serve this treat sparing; the sugar content means that it shouldn’t be a regular treat.
Dangerous human treats for dogs
These foods are associated with ill health in dogs and can prove to be poisonous.
Chocolate: Think twice before offering pieces of chocolate to your dog. This is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning due to the theobromine content. This chemical has similar effects to caffeine. Experts suggest that a level of around 150 mg of theobromine per kg of body weight is enough to trigger poisoning, which can be particularly dangerous for smaller dogs. Dark chocolate can cause the biggest problems but milk and white chocolate are by no means safe if your dog consumes a deadly amount.
Onion and garlic: Toxic amounts of onion and garlic can cause gastrointestinal problems and in worst case scenario, it can lead to anaemia. Symptoms will often not become apparent for a few days after consumption. Look out for signs of weakness, fatigue, exhaustion after non-vigorous exercise and urine that is tinged orange or dark red in colour. Contact a vet straight away if these symptoms become evident.
Grapes and raisins: Kidney failure is a real possibility if your dog consumes even a small amount of these foods. If you have even a small suspicion that your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, seek medical assistance from a vet as soon as possible to limit the potential damage to the kidneys.
Macadamia Nuts: A mere handful of these nuts could kill your dog. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness and/or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, high temperature and rapid heart rate.
Milk and Dairy Products: These are not as dangerous as some foods but they are rarely well tolerated by dogs. Lactose does not break down well in dogs compared to humans, which can lead to digestive problems such as diarrhoea.
Avocado: In large amounts, avocado can prove fatal. In smaller amounts, it is less problematic but can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
A guest blog post by Animed Direct, a leading provider of pet medicines and pet care products in the UK and Europe. http://www.animeddirect.co.uk