Let’s face it; we often treat our pets better than we treat ourselves. We take our pets for visits to the veterinarian for regular checkups, something that most adults don’t even do for themselves. We make sure that our pets are not being overfed and that they don’t get too many treats during the day. We even go so far as to ensure that the food they eat is healthy and full of nutrition, again something that humans don’t do for themselves enough.
When deciding what foods to feed your pet it is sometimes recommended that they can eat many of the same foods that humans do. While this is true in some cases, in others it is not. Once again, much like human beings dogs and cats can be allergic to certain foods and experience bad reactions.
Take dairy products for example; some dogs and cats can be lactose intolerant. Feeding an animal that is lactose intolerant dairy products can result in acute intestinal distress such as gas, vomiting or diarrhea. This is due to the fact that lactose is a kind of sugar; it’s actually two different kinds of sugar molecules stuck together. For an animal to be able to digest any food containing lactose they must first be able to break the molecules down into their two parts. To do this the animals system must contain an enzyme called lactase, an enzyme that some animals do not posses. What this all boils down to is if you are going to feed your dog a food that is unfamiliar to them, try it first in very small quantities to gauge how the animal will react.
There are some foods that should never be given to a pet; avocados contain persin which can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs (birds and horses have died from ingesting avocado pits), macadamia nuts have been known to cause tremors, weakness and GI problems, and “sugarless” products can contain Xylitol which causes blood sugar levels to become dangerously low in dogs.
Grapes and raisins are another food to keep away from your canine companion. Some dogs have been known to develop acute kidney failure from eating grapes and raisins, although research is pointing to the culprit being concentrated amounts of fluoride.
Fluoride taken internally in high quantities will cause problems for any being, human or otherwise; it is a carcinogen and toxic. Today our environment contains higher levels of fluoride than ever before; it is in our pesticides and fertilizers, emissions from factories and in the water used to water and wash our produce. Because of the concentrated amounts of fluoride in raisins it is speculated that this may be the cause of the reported cases of acute kidney failure in animals that have ingested large quantities of raisins (such as a whole large container full). The same thing would happen if a human ingested vast quantities of fluoride at one time.
The bottom line is this; if you’re going to feed your dog a “human” type food it’s best to ensure that the food is organic, and that the pet is given only very small amounts to ensure that their system is not allergic. Remember that your pet cannot tell you when they are not feeling good, so close observation are recommended when giving your pet an unfamiliar food (much like a child who experiences allergic reactions). The best thing for your pet is to seek out pet food that is properly made. There are many foods available for pets now that address every concern; pet food that is organic, high or low protein, grain free, low carb, there’s even kosher pet food!