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Some foods must never be fed to dogs because they may produce symptoms ranging from indisposition to illness to death. These include chocolate, onions, raw eggs and meats, liver, bones, pork, milk and mushrooms.
If your dog has a sweet tooth, you may have a problem. Theobromine, a substance found in chocolate and cocoa, is poisonous to animals. It diminishes the blood flow to the brain and can cause heart attacks and a variety of other life-threatening problems. An important rule to remember is that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains and the more dangerous it is.
Toxic dose: The approximate toxic dose for a small dog (15 to 20 pounds) is
Milk chocolate: 8 to 12 ounces (each square is one ounce)
Dark chocolate:1 ounces of baking chocolate
Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning:
Vomiting and diarrhea
Muscle tremors and seizures
Treatment: If your dog has gotten into a box of chocolate, the results could be fatal if she is not treated immediately. If you witnessed the tail end (literally) of the chocolate raid, induce vomiting immediately. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, but do not know when, or if your pet is exhibiting any symptoms of chocolate poisoning, get her to a vet immediately. This is a life-threatening situation.
Prevention: Make sure that others, especially children, are aware of the ill effects of chocolate. Children are inclined to giving treats to dogs, and if they dont know that chocolate can hurt or kill a dog, they are likely to give her the treat that is their favorite. Chocolate candy should be stored in a cupboard or the refrigeratornot on a kitchen counter or coffee table.
Onions, both raw and cooked, contain disulfide, a substance that, while harmless to humans, can cause oxidative damage to the red blood cells in cats, dogs, horses, sheep and cattle. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the rest of an animals body. The condition caused by consumption of onions is called Heinz body hemolytic anemia.
Toxic dose: As little as two slices of onion a week can damage red blood cells sufficiently so that they cannot carry enough oxygen to meet the bodys needs.
Symptoms Of Onion Poisoning:
Pale mucous membranes (gums and mouth)
Treatment: If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet. This is an urgent situation. Your dog may be fond of cooked onions, although raw ones might be too pungent for her sensitive nose. Since you can never be sure where the limits of your dogs taste may lie, keep her out of the garden if you are growing onions, and make sure your garbage cans are secure.
Liver is a favorite food for dogs. Many of the treats and prepared foods that you give her contain liver. In small amounts, liver is great for your dog. If her liver intake is too high, however, it can cause nutritional problems because liver has a high content of vitamin A. Consumption of this vitamin in large amounts can lead to vitamin A toxicity, or hypervitaminosis A.
Toxic dose: If your dog eats raw liver or consumes three servings of cooked liver a week, she could be headed for bone problems. Never feed her liver if she is also on vitamin A supplements.
Symptoms Of Hypervitaminosis A:
Excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine
Treatment: If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take her to the vet. If left unchecked, hypervitaminosis A has in some cases caused death.
Prevention: If you are feeding your dog both canned food and liver, check the label for ingredients to make sure she isnt getting a double dose of this treat. Also, always cook liver; never feed it raw.
Bones (Dangerous To Deadly)
The big, treated bones that you can buy your pet in a pet store are of an entirely different composition from the bones in the meat you buy at the grocery. Store-bought bones are specially treated so that they will not splinter. If splinters break off, they can become lodged in your dogs throat or lacerate the insides of your dogs mouth, esophagus, stomach or intestines. Cooked poultry bones are the worst culprits for splintering, but any cooked, dry bone can be deadly.
Symptoms Of Choking:
If your dog is choking, she will show some or all of these signs:
Pale or blue gums
Pawing at face
Slow, shallow breathing
Unconscious, with dilated pupils
Treatment: This is a life-threatening situation. Try to remove the obstruction and rush to a vet.
Splintered bones: It may be hard to tell if a bone has splintered. If it lodges in the mouth or high in the throat, you or your vet may be able to remove it. If it splinters in the stomach or intestine, the only symptoms may be severe pain and death.
Prevention: You can treat bones yourself by cooking them until they are soft. This can be done quickly in a pressure cooker. The marrow is a good source of calcium, phosphorous and copper. Chewing on bones also helps remove plaque from the teeth.
Seal off your garbage can to ensure that your dog doesnt prowl through the refuse for tidbits. Not only is this dangerous because of possible choking and suffocation, but also there may be other hazardous items inside, such as broken glass and discarded cleaning bottles
Raw Eggs (Dangerous)
Although athletes seem constantly to be consuming raw eggs in one variety or another, think twice before giving your pet raw eggs. Although cooked eggs are high in protein and make an excellent treat, raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins. Biotin is essential to your dogs growth and coat health. Additionally, raw eggs are often contaminated with bacteria, such as salmonella, and you could end up giving your dog food poisoning in addition to biotin deficiency.
Symptoms Of Biotin Depletion:
Treatment: If your dog is suffering from these symptoms the situation is urgent, and she should be taken to the vet.
Prevention: Eggs, when cooked, are an excellent treat for your dog. They are high in protein and essential nutrients. It is only the raw white of the egg that contains avidin. You could feed her just the raw egg yolk, which does not contain avidin, but you would still be risking bacterial food poisoning.
Raw Meat And Poultry (Dangerous to Deadly)
Although dogs in the wild hunt and eat animals, they rarely prey on cows or chickens raised under commercial conditions! Your dogs immune system is not adapted to handle the bacteria that can contaminate commercially raised and processed raw meat. As well as danger from food poisoning, raw meats often have traces of pesticides and other chemicals that break down or dissipate with heat.
The two major culprits in food poisoning are salmonella bacteria in poultry and clostridium bacteria in meat.
Salmonella: Salmonella is a gastrointestinal infection. The bacteria enter the stomach, surviving the acids inside to colonize your dogs small intestine and lymph nodes. From there, they can spread into the blood stream.
Once your dog is infected, she can transmit the disease to other dogs, children and adults with impaired immune systems. Keep this in mind, and keep your pet in a secluded area for the duration of her illness.
Symptoms Of Salmonella Poisoning:
Lack of energy
Treatment: If left untreated, salmonella infection can result in death. This is a life-threatening situation, and your pet should be rushed to the vet.
Clostridium: These bacteria give off a toxin that affects your pets nervous system. If your dog contracts clostridium poisoning, she may need nursing care for up to three weeks.
Symptoms of Clostridium Poisoning:
Diarrhea, bloody in severe cases
Treatment: This is an emergency situation. Rush your pet to the vet.
Prevention: Making sure that your garbage cans are secure and cooking meat until it reaches the proper temperature can prevent both kinds of food poisoning.
The fat globules in pork are larger than the fat globules in other meats. Thus, they can clog the small blood vessels of a dog. Avoid pork products, especially bacon, which also contains sodium nitrate.
If your pet has been eating ice cream and yogurt and has never had any problems, you have a lucky pet. Many dogs are lactose intolerant -- unable to produce the enzyme lactase -- so they cannot break down the lactose, or milk sugar, in dairy products. Milk just does not agree with them.
If your dog drinks milk and you observe symptoms such as excess gas, diarrhea, dehydration or skin irritation, you should determine if she is lactose intolerant. Removing milk from her diet should cause all her symptoms to disappear.
To avoid or correct the problem, you can purchase lactose-free brands of milk products specially formulated for dogs. Lactose-free milk for humans can also work, although the nutritional balance is not quite as good. Canned milk or sweetened, condensed milk is usually tolerable, even to a lactose intolerant dog, and can make a good substitute for the occasional must-have treat.
Mushrooms (Disagreeable To Deadly)
Although store-bought mushrooms are perfectly safe for your dog to eat, it isnt a particularly good idea to have her develop a taste for them. If she has free run of the backyard or is allowed to roam off leash in a park or field, a taste for mushrooms can be dangerous. Dogs with a mushroom fixation will be on the lookout for these treats. If they sniff out some poisonous mushrooms and eat them, the effects can range from disagreeable to deadly.