The perils of pampering pets

pampered pet 3Many people treat their pets as a member of their family, and this love is demonstrated by how much we spend on them.

Consumer spending on pets and related products rose from £2.5 million in 2005 to £4.9 million in 2018, with much of it spent on specialty food for dogs, such as dog ice cream made by companies such as Waggy Doggy Doodahs.

Another luxury trend is alcohol substitutes for pets. For example, Pawsecco is a safe pet version of rose wine for your pampered pet. Woof & Brew makes ‘champaws’, a champagne substitute for dogs and cats.

However, in our urge to pamper our pets, could we be endangering their health by mistake through exposure to toxic foods? Research shows that dogs are allergic to many different common foods.

For example, chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is similar to caffeine, and can have toxic effects on dogs such as agitation, hyper-excitability, tremors convulsions and heart disturbances.

Grapes, raisins and sultanas also are linked to kidney failure, while onions have a toxicity that causes lethargy, elevated heart and respirator rates, pale gums and even physical collapse.
Garlic consumed in large amounts can also cause these symptoms for some dogs.

Other foods that make dogs ill are macadamia nuts, which within twelve hours of digestion can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and an increased body temperature, with symptoms lasting up to 48 hours. Mouldy food also makes dogs ill with mouldy bread and nuts containing lots of toxins.

Dairy products can be especially sickening as dog’s don’t have significant amounts of the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose in milk, which means that feeding a dog dairy products can cause diarrhoea and other stomach problems.

Yeast dough is also dangerous for canine consumption as it can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system and lead it to expand and rise which can cause stomach or intestine blockages and is extremely painful for your pet.

Corn on the cob also creates intestine blockages for dogs as it is not easily digested by them and can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, absence of faeces and a sore stomach.

Bones can be dangerous to dogs if uncooked and easily splintered so make sure if you give your dog a bone for a treat that it is sturdy, cooked and unlikely to splinter in your dog’s mouth. For this reason, chicken bones should not be given to dogs.

Another very dangerous food for dogs to consume is blue cheese, which as a dairy product is already difficult for dogs to digest. It also contains dangerous substances called roquefortine C which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and tremors, twitching, seizures and high temperatures if consumed in large doses.

Respected veterinary online sites and services state that if your dog shows any of these signs of exposure to toxic foods, you should seek emergency veterinary advice.

Esme Kroese
December 5, 2019