Monday, May 25, 2009

Avoid These Foods and Your Pet Avoids a Trip to the Vet

I'm not about to tell you how having an animal will save you money. They are black holes for your bank account - you get an animal and all of a sudden, you're buying toys, beds, food, maybe clothing... Your money evaporates. I WILL tell you that getting a dog has been something that has probably made me healthier (I have to go out and walk my dog every day, even when it's raining and cold) and infinitely happier. If you weigh those options, getting a pet is an investment in your physical and emotional well-being.

My dog Gracie has had a rough time with the vet - when we got her, she had mange (gross) and patellar luxation, a genetic defect that caused her to essentially dislocate her left hind leg when she ran. This was all before she was 1 year old. So we decided to invest in pet insurance, and it's definitely been a smart choice. It helped with Gracie's leg surgery and other things that have popped up. If you don't have pet insurance, I'd definitely do some research and consider how often you frequent the vet (ours know us by first name). But regardless of if you do or don't have insurance, everyone wants their animal to be happy and healthy. Here are the top 10 foods all you dog owners should avoid, courtesy of Michelle Johnson, an animal care expert, via :

1. Chocolate - To dogs, chocolate acts as a stimulant, making your dog's heartbeat accelerate or beat irregularly, leading to seizures and even cardiac arrest. To compound things further, it also acts as a severe diuretic, causing frequent urination, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you even suspect your dog has consumed chocolate, take him to an animal hospital immediately.

2. Grapes and Raisins - Grapes and raisins create havoc with your dog's kidneys and digestive system. What's worse is that the amount of grapes needed to cause problems can vary greatly among individual dogs. Symptoms include frequent urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.

3. Onions - Onions cause the breakdown of a dog's red blood cells, which deprives his cells of much-needed oxygen. If you're in the habit of feeding your dog table scraps, make sure the dish was not prepared with onions, as the effects can be cumulative over a period of time. Symptoms can vary greatly, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to loss of appetite, fever, or exhaustion.

4. Macadamia Nuts - While the exact chemical compound is still unknown, even a small amount of macadamia nuts can cause fever, irregular heartbeat, seizures, or mild paralysis.

5. Alcoholic Beverages - Dogs' physiologies are not equipped to handle alcohol consumption. They are extremely susceptible to alcohol poisoning, and even small amounts can lead to digestive problems or even death.

6. Bread Dough - Because it is soft, dogs will often swallow the dough without chewing it. When the dough hits your dog's stomach, his body heat will cause the dough to rise inside his stomach. This rising action can cause bloating or vomiting. To compound things further, the rising action creates alcohol as a by-product, and your dog may experience the symptoms listed in the previous paragraph.

7. Caffeinated Beverages - Similar to the effects of chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant and can negatively impact your dog's heart rate, causing seizures or heart attacks.

8. Avocados- Avocados are toxic to many animals. The offensive chemical damages heart, lung, and other essential tissues. Be aware since guacamole's main ingredient is avocado, that you keep any such dips well out of your dog's reach.

9. Pitted Fruits - (Peaches, Pears, Cherries, and Apricots) The pits of these fruits contain small doses of cyanide, which can be fatal to smaller dogs. Also, if the pit is swallowed whole, it may become lodged in the intestinal tract, where the blockage will have to be surgically removed.

10. Raw Fish - Raw fish, especially salmon, can contain parasites, usually fluke larvae. The dog consumes the fish, and the larvae hatch in your dog's digestive tract, attaching themselves to his intestinal walls. Symptoms can take up to a week to exhibit and usually mimic other canine diseases, such as distemper or parvovirus. The hazard here is misdiagnosis by the veterinarian, leading to an improper or ineffective treatment. If you choose to feed your dog fish, be sure to cook it thoroughly to kill any bad critters that could be hiding inside.

I hope this helps everyone - I know it helps me. My husband and I thought our dog loved avocados...well, she might, but just because you love something, it doesn't mean it's good for you (fried chicken, anyone?).

And the (second) love of my life, Gracie, camping last summer - isn't she cute?

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    We have just added your latest post "Lean with Green: Avoid These Foods and Your Pet Avoids a Trip to the Vet" to our Directory of Pets . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.

    Warm Regards Team