Can my Dog Eat...?

Can my Dog Eat...?
Wondering what’s safe to share with your dog? We answer commonly googled questions about “people foods” for dogs.

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Oats are a great alternative grain source for dogs that are allergic to wheat and a good source of fiber. Oats can help to settle the stomach and regulate your dog’s digestive tract, which can be particularly beneficial for older dogs with trouble maintaining bowel regularity. Oatmeal can also be fed in conjunction with probiotics to enhance their function.  Add a small spoon of plain, cooked oatmeal to your dog’s breakfast. Be sure to steer clear of oatmeal with additives like sweeteners or artificial flavours.

 

Sardines may not be most people’s favourite food, but dogs love them! These little fish are packed with protein, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium, and are classed among the lowest mercury containing fish. Plus, they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are great for the skin and coat, help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation (especially great for with allergies, arthritis, and autoimmune disease) and are good for brain health. Serve one small canned sardine for dogs 20 pounds or less. Proportionally increase serving size for larger dogs.

 

Tomatoes are a bit complicated. Although the ripe tomato fruit is generally safe for dogs to eat as an occasional treat, a tomato plant’s stems and leaves, as well as young, green, unripened tomatoes contain solanine and tomatine, which can be harmful to your dog in large quantities. If your dog has eaten the green parts of a tomato plant, watch him carefully for signs of tomatine poisoning, which include loss of coordination, muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, cardiac effects, and gastrointestinal upset.

 

Cucumber is a light, refreshing treat for dogs that like veggies. It’s also high in water content, making it a hydrating snack for your dog after a long play session or run around the dog park. Cut up a cucumber into small chunks and use these as crunchy, low cal treats! If your dog needs some persuasion, spread a bit of peanut butter on them! (Be sure your peanut butter doesn’t contain Xylitol, a sweetener used in many foods, including peanut butter, that is potentially deadly for dogs.)

 

Cherries come with several risks to your dog’s health. Though the fruit itself is harmless, the stems, pits, and leaves contain cyanide, which is harmful to your dog’s health. Cherry pits are also a serious choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed. Too many cherries can also cause gastric upset. If feeding cherries to your dog, be sure to remove pits and stems. If your dog does swallow a whole cherry, don’t panic. A single cherry pit will not cause cyanide poisoning, but do look out for symptoms of intestinal blockage, including vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation, and decreased fecal production, advises the AKC.

 

Peaches make for a juicy sweet treat for your dog and are a great source of fibre, antioxidants, and vitamin A. But be sure to slice your peaches and remove peach stones, which are poisonous to pups and could cause a serious blockage in your dog’s intestine if swallowed.

 

Spinach is controversial—there is concern that the oxalates in spinach can cause kidney problems in dogs, though most experts agree that your dog would have to eat extremely large quantities of spinach to cause damage. If you decide to feed spinach to your dog (it’s chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and K, and also contains iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and roughage to stimulate the digestive tract), do so infrequently and prepare it steamed for best digestion and nutrient retention.

 

Eggs are a near perfect food, high in protein and containing many essential amino acids and fatty acids. If you’re feeding egss raw, be aware that there is a risk of salmonella and that prolonged feeding of raw egg whites can lead to a biotin deficiency. To avoid this, cook the egg (plain) or boil before serving. You can even feed the shell, which is a srouce of calcium!

 

 

Quinoa is a great source of protein and amino acids, and is an ingredient in some dog foods. It’s a great option for dogs with gluten sensitivities too! Wash your quinoa before cooking and feeding it to your dog to avoid issues with saponin, which can upset a dog’s digestive system.

 

 

Avocados Though avocados contain a toxin called persin, they are not, despite the rumours, poisonous to dogs and cats, notes Pet Poison Hotline. Still, avocado may cause some intestinal discomfort in the form of vomiting, diarrhea or a lack of stool production. The biggest issue where dogs and cats are concerned is the pit, as it can become lodged in a dog’s throat or digestive tract if swallowed. Feeding your dog avocado isn’t the best idea, but if they happen to sneak some, don’t panic—just make sure to monitor their digestion and call the vet if you notice any serious complications.

 

Garlic - It's Complicated

Garlic is a bit tricky. Technically, garlic is a cousin of onions, but where onions are a definite extreme “no” where our pups are concerned—dogs and particularly cats are highly susceptible to onion toxicosis—a little garlic can be absolutely terrific for dogs. It fights ear and internal infections, lowers blood sugar, boosts immune systems, and may repel fleas. But it comes with a warning.

Both garlic and onions contain a compound called thiosulphate, which is toxic to dogs, but onions contain much more of this compound. A single onion of decent size can harm your dog, causing hemolytic or "Heinz factor" anemia, a condition that destroys oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Onset is typically a few hours but can take a few days. Signs include loss of interest in food, tiredness, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. In advanced cases, urine will be red from blood cell loss and there is risk of death from oxygen deprivation.

Garlic, however, contains much less of this compound. Many holistic veterinarians believe that feeding doses up to 1 small clove of garlic per 20 pounds of body weight per day are not likely to pose problems for dogs, reports the Whole Dog Journal. And when used topically, such as in treating wounds or ear infections, it is harmless. All in all, just watch your dosage.

The suggestions above are not meant to replace your dog’s normal, balanced diet. Rather, they are ideas for alternative treats or for adding a little variety to your dog’s meals. As always, check with your vet before making any major changes to your dogs’ diet, especially if they are on any medications. Upsetting the vitamin and mineral balances in your dog’s diet can have negative effects on your dog’s health and some medications interact badly with some nutrients. That said, the aim of most dog owners is to give their dogs the best diet possible, and supplementing a commercially prepared diet with fresh, wholesome, species-appropriate foods can assist in this. Good nutrition coupled with a health care program may result in extending your dog’s life by as much as 15 percent.

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