Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips Tuesday: Good Foods/Bad Foods for Dogs

About a year and a half ago, my pup Abby got really sick. She became anemic and still to this day they are not sure why. After about 6 months of tests and being on prednisone, she was finally declared ok, but there was no official diagnosis of the cause. She was just deemed a “Medical Mystery.”

During this time, Abby was very hungry and gained about 10 pounds (on a 30 pound dog that is a lot!) and this was all due to the prednisone. I actually sat down with my vet and we went over nutrition and a plan to help her 1. feel less hungry during the treatment, and 2. be able to lose the weight after treatment.

During this time we reviewed “People Food” that was both healthy and not healthy for dogs. Believe it or not, there are actually some foods that are good for dogs, and help fill them up, but are very low in calories. I am not sure if you are aware, but some dog treats can range up to 200 calories per treat. That can add up if you are giving your dog a few treats a day. So sometimes it is best to supplement with other foods that are good for them, and fill them up.

Let’s start with the BAD foods first since those are the most important. Do not let your dog eat any of these. Even a few can cause risks, especially in smaller dogs. Especially call your vet if your dog has eaten these in abundance.

BAD FOODS for Dogs:

• Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can kill a dog.

• Onions: Onions destroy red blood cells and can cause anemia.

• Chocolate: Chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated, but it is still dangerous.

• Coffee, Coffee grounds, tea and tea bags: Drinks/foods containing caffeine cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes.

• Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis. Limit all other nuts as they are not good for dogs in general, their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Exception to this rule seems to be PEANUT BUTTER. However- always use Salt/Sugar free ORGANIC Peanut butter (sugar encourages cancer growth) free . Use only ORGANIC peanut butter as regular peanut butter has lots of toxins and is full of pesticides!

• Animal fat and fried foods: Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.

• Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and damage a dog’s internal organs. Raw Bone should always be supervised as a piece can always break off and cause problems. Try frozen oxtails or frozen knuckle bones then take the bone away before the dog can swallow a final small piece whole. It's a good natural way to clean teeth too.

• Tomatoes: Tomatoes can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias. Tomato plants and the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe.

• Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.

• Nutmeg: Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death.

• Apples, Cherries, Peaches PITS and similar fruit are great for your dog - HOWEVER, the seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans. Unlike humans, dogs do not know to stop eating at the core/pit and easily ingest them. It can also become lodged in the intestines and kill the dog in 24 hours with no warning.

• Raw eggs: Raw eggs can cause salmonella poisoning in dogs. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans and are not as likely to suffer from food poisoning, but it is still possible. BEST to use ORGANIC EGGS if you do raw. Scrambled lightly is best!

• Salt: Excessive salt intake can cause kidney problems.

• Mushrooms: Can be deadly- never let your pets chew on mushrooms found in your yard. Only safe "food" mushrooms are shitaki, maitake and reishi.

• Xylitol (Sugarless Gum): even a small amount can cause liver failure and death. This can be found in sugarless gums which can be very deadly if a small dog gets a hold of a pack of sugarless gum.

• Sugar and Corn Syrups. EVEN ORGANIC IS BAD! (this does not include Honey or Molasses though they should only be in small amounts and never for cancer dogs)

Like I mentioned above, there are some foods that can be GOOD for your Dog. Obviously check with your vet before changing up your pet’s diet, and make sure they don’t overindulge on any food (pet or human).

GOOD FOODS for Dogs:

• Meats: Meats should be boneless and it’s best if the skin is removed. Some people like a RAW diet. Some people rather cook. If you cook meat do not over cook. Keep it 'rare' so you don't kill the enzymes. ESPECIALLY FOR SICK animals. However all Fish and Pork must be well cooked. Also note - totally Raw and cooked diets should never be mixed at the same meal as they digest differently. Examples include: Skinless, boneless chicken breast, Skinless, boneless turkey breast.

• Fish: do not feed TUNA as high mercury content - be careful of small bones.

• Do not feed 'cold cuts'. They are high in salt and nitrates. Can lead to kidney and digestive problems.

• Vegetables: They are GREAT for your dog and they should have them! Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. It’s best to put them through a food processor before giving them to your dog- best veggies for your dog are:

• Carrots (for healthy dogs) (not for cancer dogs though as high in sugar)

• Green Beans

• Lettuce

• Yams

• Grains: Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but these foods are generally safe in small amounts: Rice, Bread (not white breads or anything sugar or that converts to sugar) remember the simple rule feed no WHITE colored foods!

• Dairy products: Use caution with dairy products as they are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhea. Usually, nonfat plain yogurt is safe in small amounts as is cottage cheese in small amounts

When Abby was sick I gave her lots of raw carrots and green beans. They have lots of fiber, so they filled her up, and a ½ cup of green beans is only 20 calories. She also loves green peppers (although really Abby would eat anything if I let her.)

I also started putting nonfat plain yogurt in her bones (they are like Kongs), and then put them in the freezer. I always give Abby a bone with frozen yogurt in it before I leave the house. It gives her something to do, helps with her separation anxiety, and she loves them!! I used to put peanut butter in her bones, but that has a lot of extra calories and fat, which I am sure helped with her weight gain, and the vet suggested the nonfat plain yogurt.

To find out more:

Bad Food/Good Food
Dog Treat Calorie Counting

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, I appreciate the refresher. My dog is particularly freak accident prone...He has been poisoned by Xylitol AND an olive pit. Both were extremely serious situations that required a trip to the ER. This stuff is definitely REAL! Thanks and have a super Tuesday!