Foods Toxic to Dogs & Puppies

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Today is National Chocolate Day.  It’s a great excuse to get to your nearest sweet shop and buy a delectable box for the whole family to share.

The whole family, that is, save the dog!

While this holiday may be less stressful than others that involve chocolate treats (think Halloween, Passover, Easter), any household that indulges in this delight needs to remember the risk that chocolate poses to dogs and puppies.

Just what is it in chocolate that causes a reaction, and how much is dangerous to your dog?  Is eating a Kit-Kat bar, for example, as dangerous as eating a pound of Bakers Chocolate? The short answer is no, but here is why.

Dogs are allergic to the drug “theobromine” found in the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. In concentrated form, even small doses are deadly.  The dilution of the cocoa bean used in the formulation of milk chocolate, drink mixes and white chocolate, limits its effect quite considerably.  Here is a chocolate specific chart to keep handy.

If your dog ingests chocolate, quickly gage the amount and the type in relation to your dog’s size.  If it is even near the “toxic” level, induce vomiting.  I use hydrogen peroxide to this end, although speak to your veterinarian to hear his suggestion and discuss the proper dose for your individual pet.

Symptoms of poisoning include rapid breathing and increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, seizure or coma, and the effects may be draw out as the effects of the drug are protracted. 

Of course, prevention is worth 10 pounds of cure.  Especially if those pounds are weighed in chocolate.

 Other Toxic Foods

There are a lot of food that cause belly upsets or worse for our dogs.  Knowing what they are is step one; step two is being mindful of your dog when cooking with or eating them.

Of course, we all dream of a dog who wouldn’t think of touching anything outside their dish, but—truth be told—few of those exist.  True to their scavenging roots, most dogs will gladly gobble any morsel they can get their paws on.  Unlike cats who take time to consider what they’re ingesting, dogs inhale their discovery impulsive and suffer the consequences later.

If your's is an attention-getter, he has likely mastered maneuvers like counter-cruising and grab-n-go.  Be extra-mindful of all the foods that may be toxic to your dog. The list below can be found in a printable downloadon my website.

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Now here's a question for you:

What do you suppose your dog is thinking as he watches you nibble on a chocolate bar, lick a cone or nosh a burger fresh off the grill? Studies show that dogs communicate plenty with a glance and that they're a lot like kids and monkeys: Monkey see- Monkey do.

If the dogs photoed above could used words to talk, I’m sure they’d be begging for a lick!  

To keep our dog or puppy safe, store all potentially dangerous edibles in a secured cabinet or refrigerator. 

Start your Avoidable Edible campaign by using any one of my books to rehabilitate your counter-cruiser and teach your dog to grab-n-show ,versus grab-n-go.  If you have trouble with these lessons affix a long-lineor drag lead to your dog’s buckle collar inside or out so you can supervise him at any distance. 

Remember these tips regarding begging:

· Staring is perceived attention: the doggy equivalent of inviting him to the feast.

· Talking while you stare, in whatever tone, often amps enthusiasm rather than diminishing it.

· Physical interaction, aka shoving them aside, may convey what I call prize envy, that you will block their involvement.  Dogs that are physically reprimanded don’t learn to avoid the treat; they just wait until backs are turned to go for it.  

Now print out, share, and pin up my Avoidable Edibles download.  It’s important to know which foods may be toxic to your pet and which are not. While many of these substances can leave your dog with little more than an upset stomach when ingested in small doses, your pet may have an adverse response if he/she gobbles mounds or is allergic to them.

To be on the safe side talk to your veterinarian about signs and symptoms to watch out for if your dog ingests a potentially toxic food, as well as the number of a respectable poison hotline in case you make a discovery after hours.

If you’re anything like me and my family, you love your dogs like children; nothing makes food taste better than sharing it with the ones you love!  Just check the list before you do to make sure you’re sharing food your baby not only enjoys, but can stomach it too!

Sarah Hodgson