Not so Yummy for the Canine Tummy

By on 29 October, 2014 in Lynne Burford, Pets with 0 Comments

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ― Josh Billings

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Photo by Amanda Hirsch

The holiday season is about to kick off. Already we are celebrating at football parties and neighborhood gatherings. And of course, many of us celebrate with our canine family members! Although we are free to fill ourselves with any and all the goodies we choose, keep in mind as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach that your dog’s stomach and yours are very different. Unfortunately, some of the most popular holiday goodies, such as chocolate, bones and nuts can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets.

Chocolate in all of its decadence contain various levels of fat, caffeine and substances called methylxanthines. The darker and richer the chocolate (e.g., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs might experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmia, tremors and seizures. A small dog can easily die from ingesting the equivalent of two squares of baker’s chocolate. So keep that chocolate cake and pie to yourself to be safe.

The pieces of fat you trim off your steak – as well as the bones – are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis. Although it seems natural to “give a dog a bone,” cooked bones can be lethal to a dog. Cooking dehydrates bones, and they then can splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system. Uncooked beef bones from your butcher are safer alternatives.

Your dog might drive you nuts, but he should not eat nuts. Nuts are small and splinter when eaten, and can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract. Macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can be toxic, causing seizures or neurological problems. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion. So no sharing of that pecan pie, almond torte or walnut cake!

Be sure to read the labels on “real” dog treats. Never feed any treats made in China. Labels can be tricky – for instance, I almost bought chicken jerky with a USA label, but upon closer examination it read, “Made in China, Inspected in USA.” It is not worth the risk with these Chinese treats. Buy treats made in the USA or make your own!

If you want to create yummy treats for your dog so she or he won’t feel left out, here is a simple recipe that I have made for my pack many times. Not only is it easy – dogs go wild for these! Combine 9 oz. of baby food chicken (in the jar) with 2 cups of self-rising flour. Roll out and cut with a bone-shaped cookie cutter and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool and store in a brown bag in refrigerator. Your dogs will thank you!!

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas and a very tolerant greyhound named Anya.

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