11:18 am   
Dog Tip: Food Warnings and Kitchen Safety

* Safety Tips and Smart Ideas
* Potentially Toxic Foods
* Treating Indigestion and Diarrhea
* If Your Pet Has Ingested Poison or Is Seriously Injured
* Related Articles

Safety Tips and Smart Ideas:

* Tell household members and guests to keep items out of the pet's reach AND not to feed him any unauthorized foods, including sweets, fatty table scraps and bones. Refined flour and sugar is unhealthy for pets, ingesting fat leads to illness, and bones can splinter and send a dog to the emergency room.

* Have healthy pet treats handy for household members and guests so that they can indulge your pet safely.

* To share holiday flavor with the dog, you can add a bit of white turkey meat or defatted broth to the dog's bowl.

* It is good practice to always have your dogs earn their treats and food. Teach your pet commands such as come, sit and down, then give a command for the dog to obey before you provide the meal or treat. Dogs like the opportunity to show that they understand their people and enjoy interaction that leads to rewards and praise. Other advantages of teaching dogs to take food only upon your command: your pet will be less likely to try to steal food, ingest unauthorized substances indoors or outdoors, or accept treats from strangers.

You can also teach your dog to "go to your place" before getting fed, which is especially helpful for dogs prone to begging at kitchen counters and dinner tables.

* "Go to your place" is an extremely useful command when you're cooking, cleaning or engaged in any activity in which the dog's interference could lead to distraction and injury. You can designate a place, say, in the far corner of the kitchen or family room, and place a mat or dog bed there. Teach your dog to associate that place with a special word, such as "place," "spot" or "bed." Then, using positive reinforcement, incorporating praise and small treats as rewards, teach him to "go to your place." This gives the dog something good and acceptable that he can do.

* Do not leave food unattended on the table or counter. Dogs have been known to pull pans of pasta off stoves and whole turkeys off tables. Whenever preparing or serving food, keep far from counter and table edges and out of pets' reach.

* To discourage begging and pawing when you cook or prepare meals, have a squirt bottle of water handy. Better yet, teach your dog to "go to your place."

* Cook food on back burners whenever possible.

* Be careful when using knives around dogs, especially tall dogs.

* Make sure pets cannot reach family members' lunch bags.

* Protect your cat and other small pets at mealtime. Dogs find cat food very appealing and tend to ignore cats who hiss to defend their food.

* Use porcelain or stainless steel bowls. Bacteria tends to grow in plastic bowls. Also, many dogs will chew plastic bowls.

* Immediately dispose of food cans and the lids because pets can bloody their tongues licking them.

* Wrap food debris carefully and dispose right away. Put garbage and trash cans out of reach.

* Make sure visitors do not leave out medications, toiletries, tobacco products or items that could be choking hazards. Keep doors to guest bedrooms and bathrooms shut to keep out pets.

* Block access to areas where cleaning agents are kept or used. Store them securely. Cleaners, dish detergent and the like can cause problems ranging from mild stomach upset to severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach. Read product labels, since some common products should not even be used in areas in which pets walk.

* Keep a stocked first aid kit within reach.

Potentially Toxic Foods:

* Fatty foods can lead to gastrointestinal upset, digestive disorders and pancreas inflammation. Pancreatitis symptoms include abdomen pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and depression, and this condition can even result in death.

* Chocolate can be lethal to pets because it contains theobromine, which causes increased heart rate, overstimulation of the central nervous system and constriction of arteries. Symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea and hyper behavior to cardiac failure, seizures and death. Baking chocolate is the worst because it contains the highest amount of theobromine.

If your dog has ingested some chocolate and is acting very agitated, put Rescue Remedy or Animal Emergency Trauma Solution in her water and feed her a lot of water to flush the system.

If your dog has eaten a signficant amount of regular chocolate (or a lesser amount of dark chocolate, which is stronger) try to induce vomiting. To do this, give one teaspoon to one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide orally, depending on the dog's weight. If the dog does not vomit up the chocolate, or if he shows signs of illness such as repeated vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, excessive panting or seizures, get to the veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately.

* Bones can splinter and puncture a pet's mouth lining, gums, throat, stomach or intestinal tract, usually requiring surgery. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, so they don't have to eat meat. All bones are potentially dangerous, including turkey, chicken, beef and pork.

* Alcohol and hops are bad for animals. Ingestion can lead to injury, sickness, urination problems, and even death. An ounce can put a pet into a coma.

* Bread dough can be very dangerous for pets. When ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to expand in the stomach. Even a small amount can cause problems, since bread dough can rise many times its size. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting and disorientation. Dogs who ingest large amounts might require surgical removal of the dough and treatment for alcohol toxicosis due to fermentation of the dough.

* Milk can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, since animals are often lactose intolerant.

* Iodized salt and salty foods can lead to stomach ailments and pancreatitis. Dogs, especially large breeds, who gulp too much water after eating salty food may develop a life-threatening condition called bloat during which the stomach fills with gas and twists, leading to painful death unless emergency medical help is received immediately.

* Ham, pork, bacon and cured meats can be dangerous because they're high in fat and often salty.

* Organ meat, unless organic, can be very bad for dogs.

* Tuna fish can be bad for cats' hearts.

* Avocado contains a toxic component called persin, which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. They are high in fat and can trigger stomach upset, vomiting and even pancreatitis. The pit is also toxic, and if it gets lodged in the intestinal tract, it can create a severe blockage requiring surgery. Remember, avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, so keep pets out of the dip.

* Onions and onion powder can damage pets' red blood cells. After ingesting onions, a dog can become anemic and have trouble breathing.

* Tomatoes, rhubarb, citrus fruits can be bad for pets.

* Raisins and grapes may lead to kidney failure in pets. In addition, raisin sugar can contribute to tooth decay.

* Some nuts such as macadamia nuts can be toxic to pets.

* Moldy or spoiled foods pose dangers from diarrhea to mycotoxin poisoning.

* Sprouting or green potatoes can be toxic.

* Too much soy and rice bran can eventually contribute to heart problems in cats and some dogs.

* Due to their smaller size and more compact body systems, pets can be more prone to the toxic effects of pesticide contamination than are people. So it is best to feed them produce that is organically certified.

* Caffeine in coffee grounds, coffee beans and tea can affect the central nervous system and heart. It can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations and even death.

* Painkillers, cold medicines, antidepressants, diet pills, other drugs and some vitamins can be lethal to animals, even in small doses. Store all medicines and medications in a secure place.

* Cigarettes and cigarette butts, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and chewing tobacco can be fatal to dogs, cats and birds if ingested. Signs of nicotine poisoning can appear within an hour and include hyperactivity, salivation, panting, vomiting and diarrhea. Advanced signs include muscle weakness, twitching, collapse, coma, increased heart rate and cardiac arrest. If anyone who lives in or visits your home smokes, tell them to keep tobacco products out of reach of pets and to dispose of butts immediately.

* Plastic pet food bowls can harbor germs. Use metal or ceramic instead. However, don't use ceramic bowls on which the paint is exposed.

* If using canned or home-made food, reseal well, refrigerate between feedings and use open cans up within 5 or 6 days.

* Sponges can harbor germs and chemicals, so replace them frequently and keep them far out of pets' reach. Many dogs find sponges fun to chew.

* Many common kitchen items are dangerous to pets, including plastic bags, knives, pieces of foil and wrappers, detergent and cleaning supplies. Among products that are particularly dangerous to pets are those containing lye; such products should not be used on surfaces touched by animals.

* Keep pets from drinking from toilets, especially if those having freshener or cleaner in the tank or bowl. The chemicals are toxic.

* Self-cleaning ovens, when first activated, may emit fumes that harm birds and small animals.

* Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores, is a natural stress reliever that many folks keep on hand at home and in travel kits. It can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue, chocolate ingestion and irritation. Put a few drops in the dog’s water bowl or portable water container. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier. Flower essences are free of harmful effects and can be used along with conventional medicines. Another safe, nontoxic Rescue Remedy-like product is Animal Emergency Trauma Solution, available from www.greenhopeessences.com, where you can also get Flee Free to combat fleas nontoxically. Other flower essence sources include anaflora.com and perelandra-ltd.com.

* Keep a pet first aid/emergency kit accessible in your home and in your car.

Treating Indigestion and Diarrhea:

* If a dog gets the runs, treat with canned pumpkin, mashed potatoes or plain vanilla yogurt. Continue feeding him as much as he will eat to replenish needed nutrients. Rice, or rice with some lean hamburger, is another good choice. Add some yogurt to it if possible, since yogurt helps calm upset stomachs. Canned pumpkin is especially helpful if the dog's stools are loose.

* Diarsanyl is an oral paste for treating digestive upsets. Now available through vets without a prescription, its key ingredient is the clay montmorillonite. The clay absorbs toxins, viruses, and bacteria without irritating a dog's mucous members. 800-759-3644.

If You Suspect Your Pet Has Ingested Poison or Is Seriously Injured:

Toxic substances can case salivation, tearing, skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and neurological signs such as tremors, seizures, disorientation and ataxia (stumbling). Take action immediately if you observe any of these signs.

Call your veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency hotline such as:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 1-888-426-4435 or 1-888-4-ANI-HELP
National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPPC) 1-900-680-0000 or 1-800-548-2423

Be ready to provide your name, address and phone number; information concerning the poison your pet was exposed to, such as the amount ingested, if known, and the time since exposure; your pet's species, breed, age, sex and weight; and the symptoms your pet is experiencing.

If your pet is seizuring, unconscious or losing consciousness, or having difficulty breathing, or if you suspect antifreeze or chemical ingestion, get to your veterinarian or closest emergency animal hospital immediately.

Induce vomiting ONLY if the dog ingested non-caustic or non-corrosive material, such as human medications, antifreeze or rat poison. A three percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used to induce. Do not use salt. Hydrogen peroxide fizzles in the stomach and triggers an upset; it is suggested to use one teaspoon per 5 pounds to a maximum of 3 to 4 tablespoons.

See the important First Aid Tipsheet listed below.

Related Articles:

First Aid Kit and Guidance
Keep a pet First Aid Kit in your home and car. Take one on trips with your pet. This webpage lists items to include and how to use them:

Removing Items from a Dog's Mouth

Household Hazards, Poisoning Prevention and Safety

Yard and Outdoor Safety

Toxic Plants

Alternatives to Toxic Cleaning, Household and Yard products

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Alternatives to toxic cleaning, household and other products

Dieting, Nutrition and Feeding Tips


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Last Updated: May 23, 2018 (LET) PawSupport