Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue Writer
While dogs are considered man’s best friend, can they eat their food too? For some of us living the kampung life, we without a doubt, tend to share our food and dinner scrapes with our dogs. Some choices of food might seem to be completely harmless for us human beings but exactly how safe is it for our canine counterparts and what happens when we feed them the wrong food?
“Some human foods are safe for dogs to eat while some like almonds, macadamia nuts, raisins, chocolate, cinnamon, garlic, onions, and ice creams are toxic or can be detrimental to a dog’s health. They can cause sickness and even death in dogs,” says Dr. Cecelia Boklin, founder and one of the panel vets at Kinabalu Animal Clinic.
“The fact is, dogs have a different digestive system from humans, so they metabolize foods differently than people. This means some foods that are healthy for humans can be toxic and potentially deadly for dogs.”
“Also, it is important to know that all dogs are different. One dog may tolerate a food just fine, while another experiences adverse effects. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, even commonly fed people food like bread might not be an option for them,” she adds.
Luckily enough for us, Dr. Cecelia is going to provide us with some advice on which everyday foods that are safe to feed and which ones to steer clear our dogs from.
“Dogs can eat cooked plain white rice. A serving of plain white rice with some boiled chicken can help soothe stomach problems. This is because it is easy to digest and low in fiber compared to brown rice. Brown rice is harder to digest because of the presence of a seed coat where the nutrients are stored,” she says.
“However, white rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice and can increase blood sugar levels. If your dog is diabetic, you can still feed it a little white rice, if needed, but not consistently,” she continues, “be careful not to overload your dog with additional high-carb foods like rice because commercially produced dog food also contains carbohydrates.”
“When preparing rice for your dog, boil it in water and do not add any seasonings or spices. And just like with any new food you introduce into your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian first and then start slowly,” she lastly adds.
“Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and it is OK to be consumed by dogs. It also contains Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Niacin and also fats that are good for the heart. The healthiest option is raw, unsalted peanut butter. Remember to always read the peanut butter label carefully before giving it to your dog as some peanut butter contains xylitol – a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.”
“It is safe for dogs to eat a small amount of plain bread (with no raisins and no spices). But feeding them bread (even homemade ones) can add on to the carbohydrates and calories already present in the commercial dog food,” she adds, “also, some store-bought loaves of bread contain preservatives – so it is better to avoid it altogether,” affirms Dr. Cecelia.
“Fully cooked eggs are safe to be consumed by dogs because they provide protein to aid an upset stomach. On the other hand, raw egg whites can contribute to biotin deficiency leading to a dull coat with brittle hair, alopecia or loss of hair, dry scaly skin, pruritus (itchiness) and dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).”
“Cheese is safe to be given in moderation to dogs that are not lactose intolerant. Too much cheese will fatten up your dog. Cheese can be given as treats, or to hide medications (except antibiotics!) Giving cheese with a certain class of antibiotics called tetracyclines (for example; Doxycycline) is not advisable as they can lower the bioavailability of these medications,” Dr. Cecelia mentions.
“Garlic is FIVE TIMES more toxic to dogs than onions, leeks, and chives. Garlic can cause Heinz body haemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells) leading to pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapse. Garlic and onion poisonings may have delayed symptoms up to a few days after ingestion. Close monitoring at the veterinary clinic is required if you think your dog may have consumed some. There are some holistic supplements available in pet shops for dogs that contain garlic in small amounts which are claimed to be beneficial. However, bear in mind that not all dogs can tolerate it,” she warns.
“Fully cooked fish (without the innards, scales, and bones) can be given to dogs. Fish contains good fats and amino acids that are beneficial to dogs. Salmon, for example, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system, may decrease inflammation, and can keep your dog’s coat looking shiny and healthy. Never feed your dog raw or undercooked fish as it may have harmful bacteria. Fish must be cooked without any additional oils and seasonings, as these may cause adverse effects on dogs with gastrointestinal sensitivity,” she says.
“In conclusion, it is a good practice as a responsible dog owner to consult your veterinarian first and then only start with any newly introduced food for your beloved dog.”
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you.
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