Dogs are Not Carnivores
Many people falsely believe that dogs are carnivores. Dogs are actually omnivores, which means that they can eat a lot of the same foods that humans also enjoy. There are definitely some types of food that we need to be careful about feeding our best friends because they may cause gas, diarrhea or just be very bad for them.
Some human foods are poisonous to dogs, but some aren’t poisonous but can make them very sick. It’s wise to know exactly what foods are dangerous and avoid them completely. Some foods can be fed but only in moderation. Green bell peppers are in this category. Dogs will either love them or hate them. In this respect, they’re like children.
Too many bell pepper pieces can give them a case of diarrhea. This is often the case with dark green veggies. In fact, there is potentially even too much of a good thing. Some dogs just have a very sensitive stomach and don’t do well with dietary changes. Make changes very rarely and in small portions for dogs like this.
Dogs can enjoy vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Avoid processed foods, sugar and salt. These aren’t good for dogs at all. While sugar and salt don’t poison your dog, they will cause health issues in the future. Dogs can become diabetic and have heart issues, even fatty liver disease. In fact, dogs suffer from a lot of things that humans do, but they already live shorter lives and can rapidly get ill.
Five extra pounds on a dog is like increasing their body weight by ten to twenty percent. That’s a lot and it can cause them back problems and issues with their feet and legs.
What Foods Are Poisonous or Bad for Dogs?
You may be surprised to find that many foods in and around your home are very poisonous to dogs. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause their kidneys to shut down. Most people know about chocolate but here are some others that may be surprising to you:
- Xylitol – candies, gum, and some types of peanut butter READ LABELS
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Yeast dough (unbaked rising bread)
- Onions and garlic
- Dairy products, including milk
- Fat trimmed from meat and bones
- Persimmons, peaches, and plums that still have the pit
- Raw eggs and raw meats (salmonella risk)
These are most of the foods you should be steering clear of. You should also note that there are other foods that can be potential problems. Nuts can cause some dogs to experience severe gas or diarrhea, for example.
Broccoli is safe in small amounts but should be sparingly given because it can cause an overabundance of isothiocyanate. This chemical can cause gastrointestinal upsets if too much is eaten. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that less than 10% of their diet is ever made-up of broccoli.
Dogs Don’t Know Any Better
A dog has no idea what he can eat without getting an upset stomach. It’s up to you to watch out for them. Dogs need you to be their guardian, just as if they are a child. In fact, the intelligence level of a dog, when they are fully grown, is equal to about a 3 to 5-year-old child.
Some dogs are very good problem solvers, but they simply don’t have the knowledge to understand that food could be bad for them.
Dogs live in the moment, and they do not think about what can happen later. Dogs may be able to smell when food is spoiled, but it is likely that they will eat almost anything if the scent is appealing to them.
Dogs, as well as cats and other creatures, will lick radiator coolant from your driveway. It’s highly toxic. Just a tiny amount can kill them. It smells and tastes sweet to them. They don’t know it is poisonous.
You should work with your dog and perhaps seek a dog trainer to help you teach them not to pick food up from the ground and eat it. “Leave it” is the command taught to dogs that tells them to ignore something on the sidewalk when you are walking them. It’s a valuable training prompt.
Dogs can learn incredible things. They have entertained us in the circus, and they have learned incredibly difficult tasks. Dogs went to war with men and kept our soldiers safe, raced into buildings after explosions and fire to help find victims. Dogs can track criminals for miles from a few skin cells that blow from a car window from the body of their suspect. One bloodhound successfully tracked a man in a car for five miles from the crime scene in this manner. He brought police right to the car, parked at a motel.
Dogs are incredible creatures and it’s no wonder we want to repay them with the best of care.
Man’s Best Friend
While dogs don’t have the ability to decide what is safe to eat, they are good for a lot of things. Mankind might not know what to do without dogs in our lives. They are friends and companions. Dogs are watchful of our herd animals.
They protect us, they work as police dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, and even dogs that sniff contraband at airports in our luggage. Dogs have even been trained to sniff skin cancer.
As far back as man is depicted in history, dogs are also there. Look to the Great Sphinx of ancient Egypt for all the proof you need of the high place in our lives that dogs have occupied.
Even today, we realize that having dogs in our lives helps us to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Dogs are trained to assist those with mobility issues and bring calm and security to those with emotional needs, such as autistic children. A dog can be trained to untie the shoes of a child with muscular dystrophy and help them undress. Dogs can bring a phone or medication to a person with a chronic condition, such as epilepsy.
Dogs have awakened their families in the night to alert them to a fire in the house. The loyalty of dogs is never in question. Living in the moment, with little regard for themselves, they react as they are trained. Dogs are intelligent and reliable when they’ve been trained appropriately.
It is no wonder that we try our best to give them some things that more appealing than what we think a dog would be. It doesn’t look great to us, so we want to give them better things. Some people even take additional steps to cook food, especially for their dogs.
There’s nothing wrong with this and if you wish to do so, as long as you change their diet slowly and methodically, you shouldn’t upset their stomach. Now that you know what they can safely eat, you should feel relatively confident in how to make meals for them if you decide you’d like to do that.
Many resources are available online if you would like recipes and tips for feeding your dog something other than dog food. It isn’t overly complicated as long as you take some time to learn what they need in their diet. Dogs, like humans, need a little fiber, good lean meat, fresh vegetables and will enjoy some fruit on occasion.
Dogs can be surprisingly picky and will definitely make their favorites known to you. This isn’t a bad thing. Just remember that when you are introducing them to brand-new things, they may not like everything you offer. Don’t take it personally and have fun with it. Just because they can have some green bell pepper, they may not actually like it.
You can try to give them choices between two items at all times. This will help you learn what their favorite foods are and which things they absolutely do not like at all. They can’t tell you verbally what they like but dogs are very good at making their points well-known.
Some dogs will actually pick the peas out of a bowl full of beef stew that you’ve made them and spit the peas on the floor all around their bowl. Don’t be mad. Don’t take it personally. They just are a five-year-old child living in the body of a dog, who doesn’t like peas.
Laura Barnes 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.