Here’s why your dog should never eat from your plate!
How many times has it happened that you were eating something and your dawgie came asking for a share with the most innocent and adorable pair of eyes and the most convincing ‘good boy’ charm ever? Countless times, I suppose. And how many times have you given in to those eyes? Countless times, too, I suppose. While as parents, it’s perfectly normal to yield to your furry kids’ demands, being a responsible parent calls for understanding the risks involved in feeding them our food.
Beside the fact that dogs may get used to the taste and smell of our food, and quit eating theirs, there are many nutritional downsides to feeding them from your plate. The food we eat is appropriate (mostly) for us, but it may not be appropriate for our dawgies. There are several cases of food poisoning reported at vets every day, identified by symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, bloating and pancreatitis, etc. Several common ingredients used in hooman food may be toxic and potentially fatal for dogs. Let’s look at some of these:
Almost everything that humans eat contains salt. Table salt contains Sodium and Chloride. Sodium is required for many vital functions in the body including regulation of blood pressure, blood volume, the transmission of nerve impulses, as well as the maintenance of pH balance in the body. But dogs’ Sodium requirement is far less than that of humans. Usually this requirement is fulfilled naturally by meat, eggs, vegetables and other dietary sources. Even a small quantity of added salt can lead to a condition called hypernatremia, which means higher than normal concentrations of sodium in blood. Symptoms of this condition can include dehydration, increased thirst (polydipsia), vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and disorientation, seizures and even coma.
Almost everything that does not contain salt, contains sugar. While sugar is not toxic for dawgies, it’s recommended to keep the intake to bare minimum. Sugar adds unnecessary calories to your dog’s diet that are often too difficult to burn off. Having sugar in their diet significantly increases the risk of yeast infection in dawgies. ALSO SEE: Your complete guide to skin problems in dawgies. Not only excess sugar can cause diabetes (PS: Excess in their case is a lot smaller than humans), it can lead your dogs into sugar addiction. Is sugar addiction a real thing, you ask? SEE: What Makes Cola Drinks so Addictive?
- ‘Sugar-free’ sweeteners
Artificial and low-calorie sweeteners often promoted as a sugar substitute contain a substance called Xylitol. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol, and is found naturally in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other hardwood trees and fruits. Xylitol is extensively used in sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, cough syrup, children’s chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste, etc. Xylitol is safe for humans, but extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.
While some essential oils and fatty acids are very important for dogs, most cooking oils are not. They only add excess calories to your dog’s diet without adding much nutritional value. Wherever possible, oily foods should be avoided.
Our foods may contain a range of spices, many of which may be harmful for dogs. We can be diligent to check which spices we put in our food, but we can never be sure enough, especially with restaurant-cooked or ordered-in food.
- Onion & too much Garlic
One of the most common ingredient in our food, onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions causes a condition called haemolytic anaemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. Onion toxicity can cause the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst.Garlic is another ingredient found commonly in our food. Whether garlic is good or bad for dogs is a subject of debate. Some people believe that a small amount of garlic can help with parasites and worms in dogs. Although the positive effects of garlic are yet to be proven, it’s been established that too much garlic can show symptoms of haemolytic anaemia in dogs. The problem is “too much” could be too different for two different dogs. I suggest it’s safer to just keep your pooches away from it.
- Cooked Bones
Bones have been every dog’s favourite treat since forever. For years, the words bone and dog have been used in conjunction. Bones provide important minerals and vitamins to a dawgie. Gnawing a bone helps stimulate saliva enzymes and prevent plaque build-up and gum diseases. Chewing on bones can also help pacify a dog’s habits such as excessive self-licking, scratching and other nervous behaviours.Almost any bone – chicken, turkey, lamb or beef – can be fed raw and is safe for dogs. However, cooked bones should be completely avoided. Once cooked, chicken, lamb, beef or even fish bones have the tendency to splinter and break into sharp shards. These shards pose a choking as well as splinter injury risk to your dogs. If you want to feed bones to your dog, make sure they’re always raw.
- Nuts & Raisins
A lot of our foods may contain nuts and raisins. Most Indian sweets and some gravies use nuts extensively. Some nuts like peanuts, cashew, etc. are safe for dogs, but most others like almonds, pistachios and walnuts can cause severe gastro intestinal distress and even seizures. Raisins are very poisonous to dogs. Even a small amount can cause acute kidney failure. If your dog has accidentally eaten raisins, contact an emergency vet immediately.
Chocolate is commonly used in sweets and baked items such as cakes, muffins and brownies, and is extremely poisonous for dogs. The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dawgies process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhoea. However, large amounts of theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.
Alcohol, without debate is strictly prohibited for dogs. Dawgies have a small liver and even a small quantity of alcohol gives it a hard time processing it. Alcohol invokes the same kind of reaction in dogs as it does in humans, except since dogs are much smaller in size, the effect is much stronger and dangerous. Even small quantities of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning called ethanol toxicosis. Hyperactivity, confusion, disorientation, dehydration, hypothermia, and weakened motor functions are all primary symptoms of ethanol toxicity in dogs. Signs of advanced ethanol poisoning include depression, slowed breathing and heart rate, an increase in total body acid (metabolic acidosis), and heart attack. If left untreated, this can result in death.
- Colours & Preservatives
Most food products, especially packaged and processed food contain a range of synthetic colors and preservatives. Though these additives are approved for human consumption, they aren’t strictly safe for us. And definitely not for our dawgies. They put immense stress on the dog’s digestive system and internal organs and should generally be avoided.
I have fed human food to my dog. And he is fine!
Sure, one morsel of food or even a plateful won’t kill your dog. Neither does one cigarette, or a pack. But does that mean we start encouraging our children to smoke?
Dawgies, as well as their hoomans, should eat a complete and balanced diet to stay active, in good shape and disease-free. The old saying “You are what you eat” applies to our pets in the same ways as it does for ourselves. Dogs need a certain combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function normally. Each and every nutrient has a purpose.
Feeding incomplete or incorrect food (including human food) to your dogs can result in nutritional deficiencies and even food-poisoning. Malnutrition can lead to conditions like reduced life-expectancy, deformities, allergies and lowered immunity, thyroid issues, organ damage, weakened bones, teeth and eyes, gastrointestinal issues, hair-loss, bad breath and general lethargy in your pets.
DawgieBowl offers 100% natural, gluten-free and corn-free diets that have no synthetic preservatives or additives. Our meals are customized to suit your dog’s dietary preferences and nutritional requirements, and is delivered fresh every day.
Not sure if your dawgie is eating right? Talk to us today! 9452 666 222 or [email protected]
Cover Photo Credits: Paoli Village Shoppes
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