The kitchen can be a virtual playground for your dog’s nose and taste buds. Most dogs love food and especially yearn for “people food”. Dog experts have discouraged the feeding of table scraps to dogs for years because of the potentials for toxicity, obesity and general poor health. While healthy, well-balanced diets can be prepared for dogs using human food, it is essential to feed the right foods. Know what foods to avoid so you can prevent poisoning and keep your dog healthy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic food, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Grapes and Raisins
* Grapes and Raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possible resulting in death.
* Ingesting as few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog, though the exact toxic dose is not established.
* Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production (possibly leading to lack of urine production), weakness and drunken gait.
* Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours (though they can start just a few hours after consumption)
* Your vet may start by inducing vomiting, or the stomach might be pumped (gastric lavage). Treatment involves aggressive supportive care – particularly fluid therapy and medications.
* Onions can cause a form of haemolytic anaemia called Heinz body anaemia, a condition that causes the destruction of red blood cells. Kidney damage may follow.
* Toxicity may occur from similar foods such as garlic and chives.
* It is not clear what quantity of onions is poisonous, but the effects can be cumulative. Poisoning can result from raw, cooked and dehydrated forms. Avoid feeding table scraps and any foods cooked with onions (including some baby foods). Check your ingredients!
* Signs are secondary to anaemia, such as pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, and bloody urine.
* Treatment: blood transfusions and/or oxygen administration may be necessary, followed by specific fluid therapy.
* Chocolate and cocoa contain a chemical called theobromide that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.
* Pure baking chocolate is most toxic, while milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. A 20 pound dog can be poisoned after consuming about 2 ounces of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause harm. Ingestion of cacao bean mulch can also be toxic.
* Signs include excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, drunken gait, hyperthermia and coma.
* Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.
* Caffeine is quite similar to the toxic chemical in chocolate. It can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.
* Commons sources of toxicity include caffeine pills, coffee beans and coffee, large amounts of tea, and chocolate.
* Signs typically begin with restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, drunken gait increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions.
* Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.
* Macadamia nuts, while generally not considered fatal, can cause your dog to experience severe illness.
* The actually toxin is not know, nor is the mechanism of toxicity.
* Ingestion of just a handful of nuts can cause adverse effects in any dog.
* Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/muscle pain, and joint swelling.
* Onset of signs typically occurs within 6-24 hours.
* Dogs are typically treated symptomatically and recover within 24-48 hours. In-hospital supportive care may be recommend for dogs that become very sick.
* Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener most often found in chewing gum and candy. In dogs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol ingestion can also cause severe liver damage.
* As few as two pieces of gum can be hypoglycaemia to a 20 pound dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage.
* Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes and include weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.
* Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. The affected dog will likely need to be treated intravenously with dextrose (sugar) and monitored closely for 1-2 days. Many dogs improve with supportive care if treated early enough, though liver damage can be permanent.
Alcohol and Yeast Dough
* Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol – a seriously toxic chemical compound that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression.
* Uncooked yeast doughs also produce ethanol.
* Even small amounts of ethanol can cause toxic effects.
* Signs include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia (low body temperature).
* Ethanol is rapidly absorbed into the system, so it is important to seek medical attention quickly. It is not usually helpful to induce vomiting. Treatment includes aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.
* Under controlled circumstances, alcohol is used by veterinarians as an antidote for antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning.
Yeast are found in many seasoning and flavouring use in Chinese cuisine
Fruit Pits and Seeds
* Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide.
* Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma, skin irritation.
* In some cases, antidotes are available. Other treatments include oxygen therapy, fluids and supportive care.
* Also take note that the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Also, the fat content is not healthy for dogs.
Rotten or Mouldy Foods
Moldy or rotten foods can cause many problems for your dog, some more serious than others. Any food that seems “past its prime” should be kept out reach. Be especially careful to keep your dog away from trash cans.
* Botulism, often from garbage, can cause paralysis, slow heart rate, constipation, and urine retention. An antitoxin is effective only if poisoning is caught early enough.
* Rotten fruit produces ethanol, causing the same effects associated with alcohol or dough ingestion.
* Mouldy foods contain toxins that may cause muscle tremors, convulsions and drunkenness.
* Therapy depends on the toxin. Your vet may induce vomiting. Sometimes, treatment includes activated charcoal. Supportive care with fluids and medications is often necessary.
Other Foods to Avoid
Certain foods, while not considered toxic, can still be unhealthy for your dog. Avoid any foods that are high in fat, sugar and/or sodium. These foods can contribute to indigestion, obesity, Diabetes, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and more. Also, dairy products may be difficult for dogs to digest. In addition, just like people, too much junk food can cause overall poor condition and decreased energy levels. Remember that your dog is smaller than you and may be more sensitive. What seems like “just a bite” to you is more like a small meal for your dog. If you want to feed your dog home-made food, seek advice from your vet. You may even wish to meet with a veterinary nutritionist for an in-depth consultation with diet recommendations.
K9 FIRST AID KIT
A good canine first aid kit is an absolute must. The following is a list of items that you might want to consider for your own first aid kit. Most can be found either in your neighbourhood pharmacy or ordered from a number of different pet mail order catalogues.
* A plastic fishing tackle box makes a great, portable kit. Don’t buy it until you have assembled your contents so you don’t end up with a box that is too small.
* Consider keeping a second kit in your car.
* Tape an index card inside the lid with telephone numbers and open hours of your regular veterinarian, emergency clinic and Poison Control Centre. Keep an up-to-date list of your dog’s medications.
* Clearly LABEL all medications and supplies with their name and expiration date.
* Go through your kit TWICE a year (at a minimum), replacing expired medications, replenishing used supplies, checking for broken or leaking containers etc. Replace as needed.
* Telephone numbers (regular veterinarian, emergency clinic and Poison Control Center)
* Latex gloves
* Zip lock bags (for specimens)
* Penlight or flash-light
* Blanket (to carry and wrap an injured dog)
* Rubbing alcohol (use only for sterilizing objects)
* Book on canine first aid
Read & be familiar with your manual. An emergency is NOT the time to begin reading the book! A good manual is published by the American Red Cross — “Pet First Aid for Cats & Dogs” (anyone interested to order? We can do a bulk order)
* Rectal thermometer
* Scissors – blunt tip
* Cotton swab sticks
* Cotton balls or roll cotton
* Instant ice pack
* Nail clippers
* Eye dropper
* Magazine – for quick splint
* Wooden paint mixing stick – for quick splint
* Elizabethan collar
* Magnifying glass
* Oral dose syringes (You don’t need the needles. Make sure you understand the volume markings. The syringe lets you administer fluids in specific volumes by squirting between the dog’s teeth near the back of mouth.)
* Sterile gauze (roll and pads 2″ & 4″ – no stick variety)
(rolls also can be used for an emergency muzzle)
* Adhesive tape – 1″
* Vetrap 2″ or 4″ wide (by the 3M company. These are self adhering bandage rolls, they come in great colours and can be wrapped around a limb. It sticks to itself without adhesive tape. Does not stick to the dog’s hair so it is easy to remove. Be careful not to apply it too tightly – it is elasticized and will not loosen up once applied.)
* Skin glue
* Buffered aspirin (NOT Tylenol which is toxic to dogs)
* Sterile saline solution or eye wash (for cleaning wounds or rinsing eyes)
* Hydrocortisone creme
* Iodine (to disinfect minor wounds)
* Benadryl (an antihistamine to help if your dog has an allergic reaction or insect bites/stings.)
* KY jelly (to lubricate thermometer, also use to cover an open sore or wound. Don’t use vaseline, it is not water soluble but KY Jelly is.)
* Hydrogen peroxide – 1% solution (can also induce vomiting)
* Rescue Remedy
* Quick Stop for nails
* Kaopectate – for diarrhoea
* Milk of Magnesia – for antacid, laxative
HOUSEHOLD ITEMS HANDY FOR FIRST AID
* Empty plastic bucket for holding warm water
* Paper cups for washing wounds
* Sanitary napkins for compress to control bleeding
* Table leaf as an emergency stretcher
That’s all … keep them safe, they only have 10+ years with us …