Anyone who has ever shared their home with a beloved canine companion knows that Fido loves putting anything and everything into his mouth. When it comes to chow, babies show more discernment than dogs do. However, just because your pup likes certain foods doesn't mean he can snarf them all down like Scooby snacks.
Some human foods do zero harm to our beloved pets, some benefit them and others may poison or even kill them. Keep Rover safe by reading up on what he can and cannot chow down upon.
- Peanut butter. Peanut butter isn't just for camouflaging bitter canine pills. In fact, the fatty acids, protein content and vitamins peanut butter contain render it a Samoyed — or any breed — superfood. Avoid peanut butter sweetened with xylitol, though, as this substance can prove fatal.
- Carrots. Carrots make the perfect healthy snack for pampered pooches hefting around a bit too much paunch. Low in calories but high in filling fiber, carrots let owners who can't resist doling out treats multiple times daily do so nearly as much as they wish.
- Pumpkin. Pumpkin benefits terriers suffering from tummy trouble due to its high fiber and probiotic properties. If picking up your pets' stool while out on a walk proves impossible due to mushiness, reach for fresh pumpkin. The canned kind works, too, as long as it remains free of artificial sweeteners.
- Oatmeal. Many commercial pup chow brands contain oatmeal, and unless your Fifi is sensitive to grains, the filling fiber keeps her fuller longer. Oatmeal also comes jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that keep your canine's coat silky and shiny.
- Cooked chicken. Many cooked meats carnivorous humans enjoy delight their furry friends as well. Chicken makes for a great meal topper or even a full dinner if you forgot to hit the pet store on your way home from work. Dogs can contract food poisoning from undercooked meats just as humans can, and bones can stick in the digestive tract, so choose boneless breasts or canned.
- Cheese. Some puppies are lactose intolerant, but those who aren't often adore cheese. Like peanut butter, a cube of cheddar makes an excellent pill delivery system for doggies who don't like taking their medicine. Low-fat cheeses such as mozzarella work best for couch-potato canines.
- Cucumber. Cucumber delivers a satisfying crunch puppies love, and the low calorie count makes them a great match for chubby collies who demand frequent snacks. While not quite as high in vitamins and minerals as some other veggies, gnawing away at a cuke helps clean your dogs' teeth and prevent gum disease, which can lead to other health woes.
- Lobster. Lobster and other shellfish pack a ton of protein into a measly number of calories — as long as you don't first slather on the butter. Be sure to remove the meat from the shell before treating Rusty the rottweiler to a little surf with his turf. While dogs can bite through it, the shards can cause intestinal bleeding and other internal damage.
The Downright Ugly
- Grapes and raisins. While researchers remain baffled as to the exact substance causing the problem, veterinarians have seen far too many dogs die from kidney failure after ingesting either raisins or grapes. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your pet may have gotten into a fruit bowl containing either version of the drupes.
- Coffee or chocolate. Many pup parents know chocolate poses a problem but may still let their pets lick the remains of their morning joe from their cups. Inform fellow canine lovers that both chocolate and coffee contain methylxanthines, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, trembling, seizures and even death. Contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
- Alcohol. Some irresponsible dog owners find endless amusement in watching their hounds stagger around drunkenly, figuring what doesn't hurt people too badly in moderation won't harm Fluffy. However, canines cannot metabolize a cold one the way humans can, and their smaller body size means alcohol toxicity may occur even if your four-legged buddy only drinks a thimble-full. Whether you enjoy beer, wine or whiskey, keep the booze in your glass, not in your pets' bowl.
- Avocados. Yes, avocados make guacamole possible, but as delicious as chips and dips made from the plant may be to humans, guac can prove fatal to pups. Avocados contain persin, a chemical that can prove fatal in animals as large as horses when ingested in sufficient amounts. Keep the avocado toast for yourself and treat Rex to a carrot or cucumber instead.
Keeping Pups Safe From Food Poisoning
Most dogs will eat or drink anything, a fact that normally delights their owners as this quality makes giving treats easy — and fun. Be sure to exercise a bit of caution when letting Lassie lick your plate clean by doing your research or talking to your vet first. No pup deserves to suffer food toxicity, and no parent wants to watch their pets cross the rainbow bridge far too early.