Summertime means parties by the pool, camping in the country, and barbecues with your favorite people. But as we light up the grill and set out the snacks, it’s important to keep in mind that not all human food makes great dog food. Some of the items on the table might just be toxic for your pup. Here are some of the main foods to be aware of…
Hopefully it goes without saying, but you shouldn’t be giving booze to your bulldog. Alcohol harms animals in a very similar way to how it affects us humans, but to a greater extent. It damages their major organs (including the brain). When given to pets, alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Seriously though, as the cider and brews are being passed around, remember to keep them away from your pets, and to always drink responsibly.
Possibly one of nature’s greatest gifts to humanity, chocolate satisfies our taste buds, nourishes our souls, and even carries a few benefits to our bodies. But we’re homo sapiens. Chocolate affects our canine friends much differently. The cause? A plant-based chemical compound, known as theobromine. We sophisticated bipeds can process and eliminate the compound much more quickly. But dogs can’t. It takes them much longer to dispose of it – which can lead to toxic levels in their system. So whether you’re munching on some chocolate covered pretzels or your kids are making s’mores over the campfire, keep your pup away from the cocoa.
Coffee (and Caffeine)
Although you’re probably not in the habit of letting your dog drink from your morning coffee mug, it needs to be said: don’t give your dog coffee or anything that contains caffeine. These are toxic for your pet. Coffee and caffeine consumption can cause vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and a general depression of the nervous system. So while you might name your dog “Mocha,” just don’t give him any.
Grapes / Raisins
It’s unclear exactly which compound in grapes makes them toxic to dogs, but their toxicity (and ability to shut down the kidneys) is well documented. Keep grapes and their wrinkly raisin cousins away from your canine.
Similar to grapes, the scientific (and pet) community isn’t clear on why exactly these nuts are poisonous for dogs, but we know that they are. And there is no known antidote. So cover those macadamia nuts in chocolate, and keep them for yourself.
Milk and Dairy
It’s tempting to toss your pup a slice of cheese, especially when she’s been such a good girl. But if your goal is to keep your dog as healthy as possible, dairy doesn’t belong in her diet. Most dogs are lactose intolerant, and adding too much dairy can cause digestive imbalances. The result could be anything from excess gas (either loud and proud, or silent and deadly) to pain and discomfort. Fortunately, if your dog grabs a cheese cube off the table, there’s no cause for alarm. But it’s not optimal for their canine system, so try not to make dairy products a regular treat.
Onion, Garlic, and Chives
These can cause gastrointestinal problems, as well as damage to the red blood cells. Even though cats are more sensitive to these, dogs can also be hurt by consuming too much of these three. So pile up all that onion and garlic, and keep it for yourself (then remember to use patented mouthwash for the sake of your guests).
Let’s Hear From You!
Besides these no-no’s, what are some of your pup’s favorite summertime treats?