Some people-foods can be toxic to your dog, vet warns

Pet owners often feel guilty when they give in to their pets who beg to sample some of their human food. But it turns out a lot of the food on our plates is not only safe for our pets, it’s good for them too.

“For the most part, the stuff that’s healthy for us is healthy for them,” Toronto veterinarian Dr. Ian Sandler told CTV’s Canada AM this week.

That said, there are a number of people-foods that should never be fed to pets. That’s because some people-foods contain toxins that don’t affect humans but that can sicken or even kill pets.

Other foods are known to cause stomach upset among pets, who have trouble digesting some of the foods that we find delicious. And nothing ruins a pet and owner bonding moment faster than a treat gone bad.

“You don’t want to be in the situation where you wanted to give them a nice healthy treat and suddenly they have vomiting and diarrhea,” says Sandler.

So here are a few of the items Sandler recommends pet owners should avoid:

Fatty foods
These include such items as bacon, fat trimmings, anything deep-fried, cream sauces and gravies. Not only are these foods not healthy, they can upset pets’ stomachs.

Lean meat, on the other hand, can be a great treat especially during training. It’s rich in vitamins and protein. (Sandler’s one exception to this rule is liver, which he says is too high-fat). Again, beware meat’s high amount of calories and balance it with kibble or other starches and vegetables.

Chocolate, coffee-based products and soft drinks
These are well-known no-nos, especially to dogs. These products contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds and well as in the fruit of coffee plants and the nuts of extracts used in some soft drinks. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, and even death.

Raisins and grapes
These are also non-nos for dogs, though it’s come to light only recently. Large amounts of grapes and raisins appear to cause kidney failure in dogs, but why they do is still not clear. Doctors are trying to narrow in on whether a toxin is present in grapes that affects pets, so until they know more it’s best to just avoid grapes and raisins altogether.

Canned tuna
Although cats love fish, it’s not a good idea to give them canned fish made for humans. That’s because canned fish has been deboned, and cats actually need the minerals and other nutrients found in the bones. As well, vitamin E is not present in canned tuna, which could lead to a deficiency, resulting in a disease is called yellow fat disease, or steatitis.

Macadamia nuts
These nuts are toxic to dogs, though just like with grapes, no one has been able to figure out why. But even tiny amounts of the nuts should be avoided because they can cause toxicosis, which leads to weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Dogs generally recover within 48 hours.

Onions and garlic
Members of the onion family which includes garlic, contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Pets affected by onion toxicosis may seem weak or lethargic, and their urine may turn orange or red. An occasional low dose of onions likely will not cause a problem, pets should not given regular quantities.

Sandler says the trick with feeding pets people-food is to make sure that their animals are not taking in too many calories.

“We don’t want treats or snacks to make up more than 15 or 20 per cent of what they’re eating,” advises Sandler.

So if you supplement your pet’s regular diet with plenty of leftovers or even pet food you’ve cooked yourself, remember to cut back on your pet’s kibble.

He also advises that if you are trying new foods on your pet, start with small amounts and wait to see if they have a reaction. Don’t mix a number of food items at once in case since that will make it more difficult to figure out which food upset your pet.

Sandler says it’s okay to give in to your pet’s puppy dog eyes by feeding him or her treats, but never slip them to them under the table at dinnertime. Instead, put the food in his usual food dish and serve it to hem after your meal in an area separate from space from where you eat.

That way, mealtimes ca be peaceful times, free from hopeful, drooling pets whimpering for more.

The Most Intelligent Poodle

The Poodle is commonly acknowledged to be the most wisely intelligent of all members of the canine race. There is a general belief that he is a fop, whose time is largely occupied in personal embellishment, and that he requires a great deal of individual attention in the matter of his toilet. It may be true that to keep him in exhibition order and perfect cleanliness his owner has need to devote more consideration to him than is necessary in the case of many breeds; but in other respects he gives very little trouble, and all who are attached to him are consistent in their opinion that there is no dog so intensely interesting and responsive as a companion. His qualities of mind and his acute powers of reasoning are indeed so great that there is something almost human in his attractiveness and his devotion. His aptitude in learning is never denied, and many are the stories told of his marvellous talent and versatility.

Not merely as a showman’s dog has he distinguished himself. He is something more than a mountebank of the booths, trained to walk the tight rope and stand on his head. He is an adept at performing tricks, but it is his alertness of brain that places him apart from other animals.

The profuse and long coat of this dog has the peculiarity that if not kept constantly brushed out it twists up into little cords which increase in length as the new hair grows and clings about it. The unshed old hair and the new growth entwined together thus become distinct rope-like cords. Eventually, if these cords are not cut short, or accidentally torn off, they drag along the ground, and so prevent the poor animal from moving with any degree of comfort or freedom.

Corded Poodles are very showy, and from the remarkable appearance of the coat, attract a great deal of public attention when exhibited at shows; but they have lost popularity among most fanciers, and have become few in number owing to the obvious fact that it is impossible to make pets of them or keep them in the house. The reason of this is that the coat must, from time to time, be oiled in order to keep the cords supple and prevent them from snapping, and, of course, as their coats cannot be brushed, the only way of keeping the dog clean is to wash him, which with a corded Poodle is a lengthy and laborious process. Further, the coat takes hours to dry, and unless the newly washed dog be kept in a warm room he is very liable to catch cold. The result is, that the coats of corded Poodles are almost invariably dirty, and somewhat smelly.

Poodle’s General appearance
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Head: Long, straight, and fine, the skull not broad, with a slight peak at the back.

Muzzle: Long (but not snipy) and strong not full in cheek; teeth white, strong, and level; gums black, lips black and not showing lippiness.

Eyes: Almond shaped, very dark, full of fire and intelligence.

Nose: Black and sharp.

Ears: The leather long and wide, low set on, hanging close to the face.

Neck: Well proportioned and strong, to admit of the head being carried high and with dignity.

Feet: Rather small, and of good shape, the toes well arched, pads thick and hard.

Legs: Fore-legs set straight from shoulder, with plenty of bone and muscle.

Hind-legs: Very muscular and well bent, with the hocks well let down.

Tail: Set on rather high, well carried, never curled or carried over back.

Coat: Very profuse, and of good hard texture; if corded, hanging in tight, even cords; if non-corded, very thick and strong, of even length, the curls close and thick, without knots or cords.

General History of Dogs

There is no incongruity in the idea that in the very earliest period of man’s habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some sort of aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in return for its aid in protecting him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats, he gave it a share of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in alien surroundings. One can well conceive the possibility of the partnership beginning in the circumstance of some helpless whelps being brought home by the early hunters to be tended and reared by the women and children. Dogs introduced into the home as playthings for the children would grow to regard themselves, and be regarded, as members of the family

In nearly all parts of the world traces of an indigenous dog family are found, the only exceptions being the West Indian Islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malayan Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands, where there is no sign that any dog, wolf, or fox has existed as a true aboriginal animal. In the ancient Oriental lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained savage and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, gaunt and wolf-like, as it prowls today through the streets and under the walls of every Eastern city. No attempt was made to allure it into human companionship or to improve it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilisations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct varieties of canine form.

The dog was not greatly appreciated in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly spoken of with scorn and contempt as an “unclean beast.” Even the familiar reference to the Sheepdog in the Book of Job “But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock” is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognised companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16), “So they went forth both, and the young man’s dog with them.”

The great multitude of different breeds of the dog and the vast differences in their size, points, and general appearance are facts which make it difficult to believe that they could have had a common ancestry. One thinks of the difference between the Mastiff and the Japanese Spaniel, the Deerhound and the fashionable Pomeranian, the St. Bernard and the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier, and is perplexed in contemplating the possibility of their having descended from a common progenitor. Yet the disparity is no greater than that between the Shire horse and the Shetland pony, the Shorthorn and the Kerry cattle, or the Patagonian and the Pygmy; and all dog breeders know how easy it is to produce a variety in type and size by studied selection.

In order properly to understand this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure may best be studied in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two animals, which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not easily be detected.

The spine of the dog consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loins, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both the dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes, while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large, bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for the other.

Nor are their habits different. The wolf’s natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat vegetables, and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves will divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other endeavouring to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy, a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers when hunting in teams.

A further important point of resemblance between the Canis lupus and the Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf’s litter, and these are blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the end of that time they are able to eat half-digested flesh disgorged for them by their dam or even their sire.

The native dogs of all regions approximate closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of those regions. Of this most important circumstance there are far too many instances to allow of its being looked upon as a mere coincidence. Sir John Richardson, writing in 1829, observed that “the resemblance between the North American wolves and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf seems to be the only difference.

It has been suggested that the one incontrovertible argument against the lupine relationship of the dog is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canidae express their feelings only by howls. But the difficulty here is not so great as it seems, since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups reared by bitches readily acquire the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs allowed to run wild forget how to bark, while there are some which have not yet learned so to express themselves.

The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be regarded as an argument in deciding the question concerning the origin of the dog. This stumbling block consequently disappears, leaving us in the position of agreeing with Darwin, whose final hypothesis was that “it is highly probable that the domestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species of wolf (C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubtful species of wolves namely, the European, Indian, and North African forms; from at least one or two South American canine species; from several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more extinct species”; and that the blood of these, in some cases mingled together, flows in the veins of our domestic breeds.