Many pet owners take nutrition for granted. Did you know that
SPECIALLY FORMULATED DIETS
can assist in the management of various medical conditions, including kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease? From the very first day you bring a new pet home through the final days of its life, nutrition plays a critical role in your pet’s overall health and well-being.
One of the most common questions of any pet owner is, “what should I feed my pet?” This question, although important, can have surprising and complex answers. Nutrition is a key component of health, and nutritional requirements may vary with a pet’s species, age, health conditions, and reproductive status.
There are currently at least 44 nutritional parameters for cats and 37 nutritional parameters for dogs. How the food is packaged, stored, handled, and fed can also influence health. Most pet owners meet these needs of their pets by either preparing or purchasing food. Scavenging and hunting behaviors may also significantly impact the health and nutritional status of an individual pet.
Our veterinarians do NOT recommend feeding your pet a raw diet.
What Dogs and Cats Shouldn’t Eat.
It can be difficult to keep your dog or cat on the dietary straight-and-narrow. Many pets enjoy eating inappropriate or unusual things. Here are some guidelines for ensuring that your cat or dog doesn’t eat anything it shouldn’t.
The basics include not eating anything which isn’t food! Eating feces can cause infestation (or reinfestation) with a variety of worms, in addition to creating some stinky breath! Batteries, string or rope, or plants can all be real hazards! Batteries can degrade with stomach acids and release toxins. String or rope can obstruct the intestines requiring surgery, and many plants are toxic in their own right.
No over-the-counter medications should be allowed for your pet. As humans, we think nothing of popping a Tylenol or Advil if we feel achy or sore—even a child’s dose of these medications can kill a cat instantly or cause severe and potentially fatal liver damage to dogs. Please call your Veterinarian if you feel your pet is in discomfort for a safe medication recommendation.
Human foods are often toxic or can cause some severe gastrointestinal consequences:
- Garlic and onions are known to cause a breakdown of red blood cells, which means that oxygen won’t get to the tissues.
- Citrus can cause significant central nervous system depression if the essential oils (found in the stems, peels, fruit, and seeds) are eaten in significant enough quantities.
- Raisins and grapes cause an “idiopathic renal toxicity,” which means that the kidneys can shut down due to a not fully understood mechanism.
- Avocados tend to cause mild stomach upset – except for the pit, which can cause intestinal obstruction and require surgical removal.
- Alcohol can affect dogs and cats lead to coma and death at much smaller doses than in most humans.
- Undercooked meats, eggs, and bones can cause bacterial and parasitic illnesses in dogs – just like in people! There is also a concern about bones splintering and breaking, potentially causing your pet to choke.
- Coconut oils may cause stomach upset, and the water is unsafe due to its elevation in potassium.
- Nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a disease called pancreatitis due to the high level of fats and oils. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia, with symptoms lasting from 12 hours to 2 days.
- Dairy is ideally not on a cat’s or dog’s diet, as they do not have the enzymes that break down dairy. Milk and dairy will usually cause diarrhea or some other digestive upset.
- Xylitol is an artificial sweetener in various foods, gums, candies, and even hygiene products like toothpaste. Even in very small amounts, Xylitol causes liver failure, with initial signs of toxicosis including vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination.
- Yeast doughs can rise even after being ingested, causing gas to be discharged into your pet’s digestive tract; this can lead to a life-threatening condition called gastric dilation and volvulus, which are also very painful.
- Salt and salty foods, including cold cuts and snack foods, can lead to sodium poisoning – beyond the excessive thirst and urination they promote.
- Wild mushrooms growing outside are not fit for animal or human consumption. Make sure your dog isn’t munching on anything growing wild in the yard.
If you have concerns about something your pet has ingested, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Control number: (888) 426-4435.