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Food For Thought: Do’s and Don’ts of Doggy Dining

Guest Post by Brooke Hines

Picture this: you’re enjoying your favorite meal at the dinner table when you hear a familiar whine to your right. Those irresistible “puppy eyes” from your dog are pleading for a taste of your food. We all know we shouldn’t give in, but sometimes we slip, thinking, “Well, just one little fry won’t hurt.” Yet, that single fry can lead to a pattern of sharing human food that might not be safe for your furry companion. What’s a treat for us could spell trouble for them in the long run.

Among the well-known toxic foods for dogs, chocolate tops the list, especially the dark variety. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, substances that don’t agree with our dogs’ sensitive systems. While chocolate ingestion is rarely fatal, it’s essential to act fast if you notice symptoms of poisoning, like vomiting, excessive urination, panting, diarrhea, or restlessness. Consulting a vet promptly is the best course of action.

Certain human foods are downright hazardous to dogs and should be off-limits entirely. Grapes and raisins, even in small amounts, can lead to kidney failure. Onions and garlic contain compounds that harm dogs’ red blood cells, causing serious health issues. Beware of fruit pits like those in peaches, plums, and cherries—they’re choking hazards and contain traces of cyanide. And remember, alcohol is a definite no-no, causing vomiting, diarrhea, coordination problems, and potential respiratory failure in dogs.

On the flip side, dogs can benefit from a range of healthy foods, just like humans. Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber, aiding digestion and weight management. Watermelon, when seedless and moderate, hydrates and offers vital vitamins. Carrots make for a low-calorie treat, promoting dental health by cleaning teeth and strengthening gums. Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses that boost the immune system and cognitive functions. Homemade bone broth, minus harmful ingredients like onions and garlic, provides joint support due to its collagen content and offers a soothing indulgence.

However, remember to consult a vet before introducing new foods to your dog’s diet. Not every food that’s safe for us is safe for them, and individual dietary needs and sensitivities vary.

In summary, being mindful of the foods we share with our dogs is paramount for their well-being. While some human foods are off-limits (chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and artificial sweeteners), others can be beneficial. Pumpkin, watermelon, carrots, blueberries, and bone broth are great additions. But always consult a vet to ensure your furry friend’s safety and optimal health. After all, a healthy dog is a happy dog!