Simple Dog Health Tips!

Gram surprised me with an early visit this week and as usual we were talking about dogs. Dogs are my favorite subject, since I am one.

We got to talking about some of things dogs love to eat and should not have. We know that this is a subject that has been discussed many times, but we feel it won’t hurt to cover it just one more time. We call simple dog tips a little refresher course, especially with Easter around the corner.

Table foods, oh, how we dogs love people food. I personally cannot think of a better treat in the whole world, than to have my mom give Mr. Yule and I, some of last night’s leftovers.

You notice I said “last night’s” leftovers. We do not get table food from the table when mom and dad are eating. Nope, we have to wait for our treats.

Mom says that good dogs eat from their bowls and do not beg. She also says that people food (table scraps) is one way to put extra unneeded weight on a dog. So she gives us some of those delicious treats rather sparingly.

Gram says there are other reasons to limiting our extra treats and that people food in excessive amounts can cause illness, including toxicity (poisoning, as some foods are not good for us,) gastric upset and in rare cases problems with our pancreas (actually from too rich foods.)

Mom says feeding your dog from your plate or your hand instills the “right to beg” in a dog’s mind. If you put the treats in a bowl, you do not have to look at those big brown eyes staring longingly at you. Just remember to wash the bowls afterward as leftover residue is a breeding ground for bacteria.

I know we have mentioned grapes and raisins as foods not to feed your dog. It is hard to say how many grapes or raisins can cause a problem, but Gram says one might be one too many. Grapes and raisins cause kidney damage; serious enough damage that can cause a problem known as acute tubular necrosis which is a condition that causes the death of kidney cells.

If your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, here are some of the signs to look for poor appetite, vomiting, depression, lethargy and decreased urination.

The problem here is the symptoms take several days to appear and by then you may have forgotten the dog got into the grapes or raisins. So in order to avoid a high vet bill, keep grapes and raisins away from your dog’s reach.

Chocolate, a dog’s favorite thing, is toxic because of the caffeine and a natural chemical called theobromine. All chocolate has this chemical. White chocolate has the least, milk chocolate has more and dark chocolate has two to five times more and is the most toxic.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are an elevated heart rate, excitability, vomiting, diarrhea and potential seizures. You need to see your vet at once if you suspect your dog got into the chocolate.

Macadamia nuts, why these nuts cause problems is not really known, but if you have any around and you suspect your dog has got into them, run don’t walk to the vet with the dog. Weakness in the rear legs, vomiting and tremors (shaking) are symptoms to be aware of.

Now, what dog does not love onions, garlic and chives? Mom says a teeny tiny bit is okay, cause we really love the flavor, but any large amount is very bad for us. Keep onion dips and things like that out of our reach.

My mom bakes bread and makes pizza dough and we, Mr. Yule and I, love to be around when she is making all those lovely smells. But in no way are we allowed to have any of the unbaked dough. Why? Well, it can lead to alcohol poisoning because of the yeast fermenting in our tummies. It can also cause bloat which can be a serious problem for a dog.

High fat foods, like potato chips, cheese, meat trimmings and other fatty foods can lead to pancreas problems by making the pancreas release enzymes inappropriately and can lead to pancreatitis. Symptoms maybe a tender stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Small breeds are the most susceptible to this

Since dogs love to beg and plead for treats, especially ones that we know we should not have. It is up to you, our caregivers, not to allow us any of the forbidden ones and to monitor the good ones. Gram says that vet bills for feeding us the wrong things, or having them around so we can smell and reach them can be costly. By being careful you can save between $500 to $2,500 in vet costs.

I hope these few tips have refreshed your memory and will help keep your dog safe.

Until next time, I remain your loving


Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.