Thursday, October 23, 2008

People food for dogs?

It always amazes me when I hear from customers what kind of stuff they are feeding their animals. Here I am not talking about the regular dog food (though that, as you probably can tell by now, I find an amazing story in itself), no, I am talking people food, some call it table food. I agree, “but the dog likes it”. Yes they do indeed. As a matter of fact very much so. Dogs will eat anything as long as you (preferably) give it to them. Because they don’t know better, that is why they teamed up with you so you can protect them. Therefore there are a bunch of things you may want to consider before you share your food next time again. First, it could turn into a problem as to that your dog likes your food so much better that he will not eat his regular food anymore. Then don’t come to me and tell me you have a finicky dog, I warned you. The other thing, and this is important since too many dogs already are suffering from obesity, the number one disease among dogs, make sure you watch the calories. Your table food under no circumstances should account for more than a tenth of your dog’s caloric intake. If you can’t help it, provide at least a variety of lean meats and healthy veggies and fruits, not always the same stuff. And finally you want to consider a number of facts with various food items, which if not taken into consideration may cause all kinds of problems from diarrhea to vomiting, even possible life threatening toxicities. Following is a list of some major items I feel should be addressed:
Raw meat: No, I am not going against myself. But I am talking about possible salmonella contamination. So be careful and follow the safe handling instructions for raw meat provided on raw food manufacturer websites our mine. Grocery store type raw meats like chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb are preferred. Add in and mix with organ meats such as liver, kidney, hearts and poultry giblets. Use organ meats to muscle meats at a ratio of 1 to 5, five being the muscle meat. Cooked meat, lightly broiled or baked are the best, stay away from charcoaled, fried and deep fried. Good meat sources are the 50 to 100% slowly processed, all meat cans available these days from almost every recommendable manufacturer
Milk: Best is whole milk, I am talking direct from the farm, good luck with that. The more whole and less processed, the better. Some dogs may have intolerances towards dairy products. This is especially as they get older. The reason for them not being able to tolerate milk is because they can’t digest the milk sugar or lactose. Milk, for this reason may result in loose stools. Adding active yogurt culture and dilution with purified water may help here. Other dairy products, which I would consider good choices are cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. Stay away from the sugar or jam containing yogurts, get whole milk, plain versions. A good idea is to mix dairy products in with other foods, fresh or commercially processed.
Raisins: Absolutely No, they are toxic for dogs, because they cause kidney failure, dose depending on the dog’s size.
Chocolate: The same thing here, the darker the chocolate the higher the toxic compounds, Contains theobromine, methylxanthines, both of which are caffeine like ingredients causing diarrhea, vomiting, irregular heart beat, tremors, seizures and eventually even death.
Bones: A lot of people advise against them saying they can cause teeth damage (that’s why the wolves are always lining up at the dentists’ office, lol). They can though cause gastrointestinal obstruction and perforation. Too much of cooked bones can cause severe constipation. Always supervise the dog when feeding him bones, just to be on the safe side. Stay away from bones which tend to splinter, like cooked bones or chicken bones.
Raw eggs: May contain salmonella. Enzymes in raw egg whites prevent uptake of the Vitamin B biotin.
High fat items: Can cause pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation) especially in genetically predisposed breeds like for example Mini Schnauzers
Onions, fresh garlic: May cause gastrointestinal irritation and anemia if fed in too high doses. There is a lot of controversy going on about garlic as a pet food ingredient lately. But that’s a hole other article.
Avocado: Can cause digestive tract irritation with diarrhea and vomiting.
Yeast (like in bread) may rise in the dog’s digestive tract and cause obstruction. Also, yeast is an alcohol producer a when it’s rising.
Raw cashews, pecans, walnuts, macadamia and Brazil nuts (unsalted, not cooked in oil) are excellent foods and your dog will eagerly accept them. Soak and rinse pecans, almonds and walnuts for 12 to 24 hours and make sure they are crushed or mashed. If swallowed as a whole, nuts will not be properly digested.
Don’t feed the dog outrageous portions of stuff like French fries, deep fried food, etc. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t eat too much of that stuff either. Chances are, if you know it’s not good for you, most likely it’s not good for your dog either.
As I always say, use common sense and you and your dog will be fine. Just remember, after all it is a dog.

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