Five things you should never feed your dog
Here's PetPeople magazine vet Alison Logan's top five no-nos when it comes to your dog's diet:
1. Chocolate should never be given to dogs, and must be safely stored out of their reach. Dogs are very sensitive to the theobromine found in chocolate because they can't break it down efficiently. Signs of toxicity occur within twelve hours of eating the chocolate, and include diarrhoea, vomiting, excitement, seizures and coma. The amount of chocolate eaten to cause a problem depends on both the size of the dog and the level of theobromine found in the chocolate. The theobromine dose increases with the cocoa level, so cocoa beans and powder, dark and continental chocolate have higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate, and white chocolate has the lowest.
2. Dogs are really partial to cat food, primarily because of the high protein content, but it is no good for them in the long term. They are different species and a dog's dietary needs are very different from a cat's - a dog is not a cat and should not be fed cat food!
3. Substituting high calorie treats and snacks with fruit and vegetables is fine, but never feed your dog grapes, which contain an as-yet unidentified toxin causing kidney failure, sometimes when only a few grapes have been eaten. If they are in a fruit bowl, ensure your dog cannot steal from it. Raisins pose an even higher risk, so keep that fruit cake out of reach!
4. Onions and shallots should not be fed to dogs in any form (cooked, raw or as onion powder). They contain thiosulphate, which is not deactivated by cooking and causes haemolytic anaemia in dogs. Garlic and garlic powder contain lower levels.
5. Fat balls for wild birds - the inherently high fat content makes these very attractive to dogs but if eaten could result in pancreatitis. Store fat balls safely away from your dog, and site the feeders high up and out of reach.
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