You are sitting on your couch peacefully watching TV, snacking on some chips when you can feel it; that stare coming from the floor or the other side of the couch. You look up and there he is, your favorite canine companion looking at you with big eyes that say, come on, just a little?
The debate on whether or not to feed a dog human food rages on; some feel that it is OK while others strongly recommend against it. The important thing to remember is the dog is not human. A dog cannot process foods the same way a human can. If you stop to think about it those chips you are eating are not really healthy for you, so why should they be fed to a dog?
There are a plethora of dog foods available on the market today; holistic dog food, grain-free dog food, kosher dog food, food for puppies, adults, and senior dogs, the list goes on and on. Finding the perfect food for your dog can be a challenge. Knowing some of the basics about dogs can help tremendously in making the best choice for your pet.
There are some foods that should never be given to a dog such as chocolate. It has been well known for a long time that the ingredients in chocolate, specifically theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, seizures and in some cases death. Macadamia nuts (or anything containing them) can be fatal as well. Any sort of candy can cause liver failure due to a dog’s inability to process the sugar. Chicken bones can splinter and become lodged in a dog’s throat. Certain fruits contain seeds that are toxic to dogs such as avocado, persimmons, plums and peaches.
Dairy is another food that must be treated with caution. Giving your dog a small piece of cheese once in a while is not too bad, but some dogs are lactose intolerant which can lead to diarrhea. Dogs do not have the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to properly digest dairy. A small piece of cheese can be a good way to give your pet a pill if necessary, but pay attention to ensure that the dog is not experiencing distress after ingesting it. Every dog is different, so what bothers one may not cause any reaction in another.
Some “people” foods can be OK for a dog, but as with everything must be given with caution. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe and watermelon are a nice treat for a dog but due to possible stomach sensitivities should only be given in limited quantities.
Allowing a dog to eat human food on a regular basis can lead to obesity and a shorter life span for your pet. It can also be costly if the pet needs to visit the veterinarian for a stomach pump or other life saving procedures. Feeding a dog the food that is created specifically for them is the best way to ensure your pet stays active, healthy and happy.