Keep our pets safe by avoiding these human foods

What may be good for humans may not be good for our pets.

Our yellow lab is considered part of our family. Earlier this year when he was seriously ill, we carefully reviewed what he had been eating to determine if he had consumed something other than his usual kibble. As we visited with our vet, we learned our dear canine family member isn’t able to break down some of the foods we humans are capable of. Fortunately, our pup had a happy ending and survived his ordeal with pancreatitis, but it was a lesson learned to not share table food and make sure he can’t get into the garbage.                              

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released an article “Good Dog, Bad Food: Foods for People That Are Bad for Your Dog”. In this article, Dr. Carmela Stamper discusses how the human body can break down food or chemicals that dogs aren’t able to tolerate. She also goes on to say that food allergies or allergic reactions humans may have are shown in our dogs in the form of skin or ear issues.

Foods that we should avoid giving to our best buddies include:
  • Raw meat - may contain E. coli, Salmonella, or other harmful bacteria. Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat products. Keep those burgers and other grilling items well out of reach of your pet. Don’t handle raw meat and then give your dog a treat or a toy. Remember you can cross-contaminate by handling raw meat or by handling pet food and not washing hands before handling people food.
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants – these fruits can cause kidney failure in your dogs. Other fruits like apples and bananas may be given without cores or seeds and in small pieces.
  • Fried or fatty foods – can cause stomach aches or something more serious called pancreatitis, which could be life threatening.
  • Moldy food – would you eat moldy food? Your dog shouldn’t either! If you are putting outdated or rotting food in the trash, make sure the dog can’t get at it. You are putting them at risk for toxicity due to thermogenic mycotoxins. Clinical signs they’ve ingested moldy food include: vomiting, agitation, walking drunk-like, tremors, seizures, and severe hyperthermia. A visit to the vet may be needed for treatment. Composted food falls into this category as well.
  • Onions, garlic, and chives – (including onion and garlic powder) can be harmful to dogs in large amounts. Found in salsas, marinades or beans, avoid letting your dog consume those leftovers.
  • Salty snacks, in large quantities – could cause problems. If your dog got into a bag of chips, pretzels or other salty snack food, they could become ill.
  • Xylitol a sugar substitute. We know chocolate can be dangerous, but sugarless gum, candies, toothpaste or other products with this ingredient can make a dog very ill. This ingredient is quickly absorbed into their bloodstream and a large dose of insulin can be released from their pancreas, resulting in a decrease in the level of blood sugar, making a possible life-threating situation.

All this talk and no mention of our feline friends, is not intended to start a discussion of the better or smarter pet, but Dr. Stamper tells us cats are much pickier eaters than dogs and don’t get into as much trouble by eating foods that will harm them like dogs do. Dr. Stamper does note that cats are more sensitive to onions, garlic and the onion and garlic powders and suggest keeping them away from your feline pet.

Michigan State University Extension reinforces the importance of avoiding handling raw meat without washing hands prior to handling and after handling, and keeping foods refrigerated. We invest a lot of time and emotion into our four legged friends, we don’t want them to be sick or make us sick. Take time to keep foods that can harm them out of their reach and keep their food safe for them.

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