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Dangerous Foods for Dogs, from Will Draper, DVM

11/19/2010

  • Will Draper, DVM:

    I got a question here, which is a great and very, very common question.

    “I feed my dog table scraps. Why is that bad?”

    It’s an easy rule that dogs should eat dog food. Dogs should eat a high-quality dog food. Table scraps are not beneficial to them as much as they love it. It is not something they need. Dogs should not eat people food. Now, what type of food do you feed, Steven?

  • Steven Belew:

    She just uses regular organic dog food. I have to admit the only table scraps that she might get are going to be if we’re cutting out fruits and vegetables. She tends to like those. But we figure those aren’t harmful as long as it’s not grapes or seed of some sort that obviously are dangerous to her.

  • Will:

    That is an excellent point. Grapes and, I like to call it grapes’ angry cousin, the raisin, are toxic to dogs.

    Some fruits -- apricots, pears -- can be toxic. And maybe that’s a good thing to talk about, as well. Types of foods that, human foods, that are bad for your pet. Does anybody have any ideas of some of them?

  • Steven:

    Chocolate.

  • Renee Genthner:

    Chocolate.

  • Will:

    Chocolate.Chocolate is a big one. Actually the baker’s chocolate is more toxic. Caffeine, which is in chocolate, is not good for pets. Gum. There’s an additive in gum that is very toxic to pets.

  • Renee:

    House plants. A big one during the holidays is mistletoe. Mistletoe can actually be fatal to pets if swallowed.

  • Steven:

    As far as people foods are concerned, are there any foods that are safe for Fenway to eat? Fruits or vegetables, or any other type of food?

  • Will:

    Carrots are great for pets. Lettuce is not going to hurt a pet. It’s basically water, anyway. In times of  GI distress, some of the things that are good for pets are turkey, white meat turkey, white meat chicken without seasoning. Some brown and white rice is very good to feed your pet when they are having enough upset stomach and you are trying to get them through that. We call it a bland diet.

    Plain yogurt is a good choice. Also cottage cheese is not a bad choice. I generally recommend those only in times where a pet needs to get through some sort of GI crisis. I’d probably stay away from some fruits because some of those can be dangerous.

  • Joe Callahan:

    Dr. Draper, could you please tell us what is probably the proper way to give a dog a bone, if there is such a way?

  • Will:

    Proper way to give a dog a bone …

  • Joe:

    And what sort of bone?

  • Will:

    Back in the days before pets were domesticated, that’s how dogs cleaned their teeth and got minerals by chewing on bones and eating animal carcasses. Bones were where they got minerals. But now that animals have been domesticated at this point, it’s best to keep them away from certain bones. The type of bones you want to stay away from are the ones that are very sharp that can cause some GI damage. Rib bones are a big no, no. Chicken bones… You know the rib eye bones are good. Big beef bones are good because they can chew on those, but only kind of scrape them, if you will.

    But a safe thing to do is a rawhide. Rawhides satisfy their need to chew. Dogs need to chew and have a desire to chew as we have seen. But you have to be careful with the type of bone. And it’s common sense. Certain bones that you know will break and are sharp, they should stay away from.

  • Joe:

    Now, there’s two different types of rawhide. Isn’t there one that’s healthy and one that’s not healthy, correct?

  • Will:

    Yeah. It depends on the dog. That’s a good question. You know, rawhides generally are in themselves pretty harmless. A dog will digest them. But a small dog eating a certain size of rawhide that they can actually swallow… The big knot on the end is very dangerous. I have unfortunately had to remove a great deal of rawhides from dogs’ stomachs over the years. The flat -- there are dental rawhides actually that are great, that actually help with dental health in dogs that are very kind of flat and sheet like. Those are pretty safe because it’s hard for them to swallow in a way that they become a foreign body.

Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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