Citrus fruit isn’t necessarily bad for dogs but it can cause stomach upset in some dogs and should definitely be given with moderation. Foods that aren’t poisonous can still be bad to feed them and while some people argue that their dog loves certain foods like grapefruit, it brings into question the ethics of feeding them something that we know may cause them to not feel well.
You are supposed to look out for their best interest, as a parent should look after a child. We know that children love sugar but most responsible parents also know that too much of sugary foods will give them an upset stomach.
Loading up on sugar is addictive and it can lead to adult-onset type 2 diabetes also. Dogs can also develop diabetes from too much sugar in their diet. Watch the dog food you feed for hidden sugars like high fructose corn syrup. It is very high on the glycemic index which measures how food impacts blood sugar.
After years of high levels of sugar and the pancreas releasing loads of insulin to deal with it, the body can become insulin resistant. This is the start of type 2 diabetes. In time, it will require supplemental insulin injections. Do you wish to give your dog insulin daily? It will also shorten their lives.
This sounds extreme but this is the road we go down when we shrug and say that the ice cream cone won’t kill them. Yes, in time it surely can. It won’t kill them today. What about tomorrow? Ten years from now?
Avoiding Chronic Health Issues
Sadly there are many issues that plague dogs if they fall into poor health. The best defense is a good offense, so the saying goes.
Feeding a proper diet with the right amount of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and low carbs is the best choice for dogs. Make sure that they are getting the exercise that they need. A walk once or twice per day is typically not enough exercise.
Many pet owners feel that if they take their dog for a walk, this is plenty. Dogs actually need to run. If running time is given, they can get too fat and out of shape. Just like humans, being too sedentary can lead to heart conditions, poor overall health and put them at risk of heart failure or lung disease.
Also, consider their comfort level. Veterinarians often see dogs that waddle into the clinic and can barely breathe after walking just from the car. This is sad and frustrating. Dogs are natural athletes. All dogs need exercise and while you may feel that giving them anything that they beg for, you could really be taking years from their lives.
Be their voice of reason and show them love through caring about their future. See to their basic needs and know that sometimes telling them no, when they beg for food, is perfectly fine.
Humans have a tendency to place human emotion and traits on our dogs or other animals. When we say things like ‘oh look, he’s upset with me’ we are anthropomorphizing. Dogs do not feel the way we think they do in human terms.
Dogs are opportunistic animals. In other words, if a behavior pays them with a reward, they repeat that behavior. This is why reward-based training works so well for dogs.
They often train their humans by staring until the human hands them a treat. They learn that this behavior gets the human to hand them food. They will repeat. If you never start the bad habit to begin with, they will never be begging for food from you.
They aren’t intent on making you feel guilty. They don’t have those sort of motivations. They simply want the food and sitting there, staring a hole through you is how they’ve always gotten it. They will repeat this over and over for the rest of their lives unless you break the cycle by ignoring them and not giving in.
When you choose to give your dogs food that is good for them, like fresh veggies, make an effort to add it to their food dish so that they learn their food always comes in the dish; it never comes from begging.
Some Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog
- High-fat foods
- Raw eggs
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw meat
- Apples with seeds intact
- Plums, peaches, or prunes with pits
- Candy and chewing gum
- Dairy products
This is a short list. Some of these foods are toxic while others will cause diarrhea. Others will cause gastrointestinal upset.
Foods that give dogs gas are very uncomfortable to them but equally uncomfortable to you if you have to share space with them on a sofa one evening while they pass gas in their sleep.
It’s funny to some degree but it really isn’t fun, especially for them. Some dogs can get a very serious condition from gas, known as bloat. Bloat is gas in the stomach and it can lead to gut torsion. Big dogs are very prone to this life-threatening situation.
Gut torsion is when the stomach actually flips over inside of the body cavity because it is filled with air. When this happens, the intestines are twisted and pinched, causing loss of blood flow to the bowels.
Immediate surgery is required. Without surgery, they will die painfully. If help is not given quickly, large portions of the bowel may need to be removed because the loss of blood for even short periods of time can cause the tissues to begin dying. This immediately causes decay and infection can begin spreading in their body.
Many animals die from gut torsion each year. Know the symptoms –
- Stomach pain
- Bloated stomach – visibly enlarged
- Can’t get comfortable to lay still or sleep
- Dry Heaves
If you note any of the above symptoms, have your dog seen by a veterinarian immediately. Time is critical. Dogs with gut torsion can die within one hour.
Diarrhea Concerns and Treatment
If you note that your dog has diarrhea from something he has eaten, you should withhold a meal to give their bowels a chance to return to normal. Additionally, giving them some rice with a small amount of boiled chicken in it will help to bulk their stools again.
Pumpkin can sometimes be added to their food to provide the fiber that can help with diarrhea. If your dog has soft stools all the time, consider food that has a little more fiber or even supplementing his diet with some rice mixed into the food.
In the event that your dog has very bad diarrhea that lasts more than 48 hours, you should call your veterinarian. Diarrhea is often a symptom of an underlying issue. Giardia can cause severe diarrhea, for example. It’s treatable and the sooner you treat them, the less likely they will have to suffer from dehydration.
Diarrhea can quickly dehydrate an animal to the point of death. This will be the watery, constant sort of diarrhea that should be of concern. Your veterinarian can check a sample for worms or illness and inject an anti-diarrheal shot.
Other Important Signs
If your dog has an upset stomach and doesn’t want to eat, it need not be a concern until it goes on for more than three days.
Water, on the other hand, is far more critical. If you notice that your dog has stopped drinking water, it is time for a vet visit. Every veterinarian will tell you that even with the worst illnesses, such as parvo, it isn’t the illness that kills the animal, it is the dehydration that shuts their body down.
If your dog’s gums are quite pale, they may be in shock. Whether it is from something ingested or an accident, they need to be seen at the vet as well. Pale gums can also be anemia and that means blood loss internally.
Scratching and digging at their skin can be a symptom of skin allergy and it can often be food related. Make note of the reaction your dog has to foods that you’ve given him. Even dog foods can contain ingredients that your particular dog has an allergy to and it will likely manifest as scratching and/or ear infections.
Do their ears smell bad? Is there black goop in their ears? This can be an ear infection but it could also be ear mites. Having them seen at the vet can help determine which it is and what will be the proper course of treatment.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.