Peanut butter, raw meat, grapes, potato chips or onions – do you slip your dog some of these foods? In a new advisory, health officials are warning pet owners to stop spoiling Fido with food that could be upsetting his stomach.
“If you consider the family dog, well, family – and are apt to toss him a piece of your food now and then – proceed with caution. Some foods meant for human consumption can be dangerous, and even deadly, to your dog,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says in a new advisory.
Humans break down food and chemicals that dogs can’t tolerate. While we encounter allergic reactions, dogs could end up with less obvious symptoms in their skin or ears.
A dog’s genetic makeup and size, as well as how much of a food the animal eats, are important factors, too, they warn. A Labrador may not react to eating a piece of chocolate but a Chihuahua could get dangerously ill, Carmela Stamper, an FDA veterinarian, warns.
Here’s a list of foods the FDA is warning about:
It can contain E.coli, Salmonella or other harmful bacteria. If you’re prepping for a barbecue and have hamburger patties, steak or chicken breasts out, make sure your dog can’t get to the uncooked meat.
Don’t cross contaminate either: if you touch raw meat, you have to wash your hands before preparing your dog’s meal, too, and vice-versa. “People can get sick after handling contaminated dog food, not washing their hands, and then using their hands to eat a sandwich or a slice of pizza,” Stamper says.
Grapes, raisins and currants
They can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Not all dogs get sick from eating these fruits, but they’re definitely not a healthy snack, the FDA says. Dogs can eat apples and bananas, but make sure they don’t get to the core and seeds.
Fried and fatty foods
Your dog wants bacon and fried chicken just as much as you do, we know. But the FDA says these guilty pleasures can induce a stomach ache or even a potentially life-threatening disease called pancreatitis.
Cheese rinds and leftover hamburger buns could be tossed into the garbage, but make sure your dog can’t get to them, the FDA advises. Moldy scraps – and anything in your compost – should stay out of your dog’s reach.
Onions, garlic and chives
These ingredients, including onion and garlic powder, can upset your dog’s stomach, especially in large amounts. If you’re cooking with a lot of onions and garlic powder, say, in salsas or marinades, your dog can’t dig into your meal or the leftovers. Cats are “super-sensitive” to onions, garlic, and onion and garlic powders, too.
If you’re grazing on junk food while watching TV, try not to throw Fido a bite. “Feeding the odd potato chip or pretzel probably won’t do any harm,” Stamper says. The risk is if your dog gets into the whole bag. You have to make sure these snacks are stored away from him and keep access to plenty of water nearby.
These can be “very harmful” to dogs, the FDA says. If they’re in white chocolate chip cookies you packed for a family picnic, for example, your dog can’t dig into them at all.
A sugar substitute, called xylitol, could be bad for your dog. It’s in sugarless gum, candies, and some peanut butters and other nut butters (which is why the FDA is warning about peanut butter).
“If you feed your dog pills coated in peanut butter, or put peanut butter in their hollow chew toys, make sure to check the list of ingredients first to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol,” Stamper says.