Turns out dogs will eat ribs. And corn on the cob (the entire cob.) Oh, and potato chips, raw salmon, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, fried chicken and anything you stick in the compost heap.
And all of those foods can make them sick, as, well, a dog.
“Part of the reason that this is hard is that there are a lot of things that we can eat that dogs can’t,” said Dr. Erika Loftin, a veterinarian at Dove Lewis. “So just as an example, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Artificial sweeteners like Xylitol can cause drops in the blood sugar and liver failure. Macadamia nuts can cause muscle tremors.”
Loftin has seen dozens of cases where dogs were sickened either by foods their owner (lovingly) fed them, or foods the dogs had access to, which any dog owner will tell you is anything they can see or smell.
She said do some research first before feeding your dog foods that might be a healthy choice for humans, but not for dogs. The results can be devastating, and expensive.
“It can range from terrible gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis for dogs that eat fried chicken,” Loftin explained. “I’ve seen dogs that get into the compost and eat moldy food and come in with full body tremors. I’ve seen dogs go into kidney failure from grapes or raisins. I’ve seen dogs need surgery from eating bones or corn cobs – for some reason’s dogs really love corn on the cob.”
In early July a 70-pound dog at a Fourth of July barbecue ate a rather long pork rib bone. Although the dog was not sick when his owners brought him to Dove Lewis, they knew the dog had eaten it.
“We were actually able to get it out by using a snare and didn’t have to make any incisions and he recovered from that,” Loftin said. “Dogs don’t think things through logically so they’ll go ahead and ingest them if they’re given the opportunity.”
What Foods Top the List? The list from the FDA.
• Raw meat, which can contain E. coli, salmonella, or other harmful bacteria. If you’re making hamburger patties or setting out steaks and chicken breasts for the barbecue, for instance, make sure they’re well out of reach of your counter-surfing canines; you’re not doing them any favors by tossing a chunk or two. “Food safety is important to you and your pet,” Stamper cautions. Don’t handle raw meat and then give your dog a treat unless you’ve washed your hands first. And remember it works the other way around, too. “People can get sick after handling contaminated dog food, not washing their hands, and then using their hands to eat a sandwich or a slice of pizza,” Stamper says.
• Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Stamper says not all dogs are affected, but if you think you’re handing your dog a healthy snack, you could be disastrously wrong. But what about other fruits? For instance, can dogs eat apples and bananas? Stamper says yes—just make sure that with apples, you don’t feed your dog the core or seeds.
• Fried and fatty foods can not only give your dog a stomach ache, but can also cause a potentially life-threatening disease called pancreatitis. Even if your dog is eyeing the fried chicken with longing, resist the temptation to give him his own piece to chew on.
• Moldy foods are not something you would feed your family, and your dog shouldn’t eat them either. If you put moldy cheese rinds or hamburger buns in the trash can, make sure your dog doesn’t then get into the garbage. By the same token, if you have a compost heap and it’s the first place your dog makes a beeline for, be sure the moldy scraps are well out of reach.
• Onions, garlic, and chives (as well as onion and garlic powder) can be harmful to your dog, especially in large amounts. If you’ve put a lot of onions and garlic powder in your salsa, marinade, or beans, don’t let your dog get into the leftovers.
• Salty snacks, in large quantities, could also cause problems in your dog. “Feeding the odd potato chip or pretzel probably won’t do any harm,” Stamper says. But if your dog gets into a whole bag of them, he could get really sick. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water at all times, especially if he gets into salty snacks.
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