What the Dog Ate…

Mr. Pete comes to dinner
Mr. Pete comes to dinner

What the Dog Ate …
(This title is a spin-off from a Malcolm Gladwell book
entitled What the Dog Saw.)

Feeding the family rodent (aka Chihuahua) has caused no small amount of disagreement and mild contention around our household. In fact you might say that deciding what to feed the little rat (aka Chihuahua) has been a “bone” of contention for mom, daughter, son, and of course, my daughter’s rodent (as you are already aware – aka Chihuahua), Mr. Pete. (“Bone” of contention – That pun was intentional. I hope you thought it was as funny as I did.)

Of course, Mr. Pete (aka the rodent) has been fed only the best dog food. For a long time we were feeding him the special Chihuahua formula made by Royal Canine. That dog had more expensive food than we did. But you should know my daughter, what the vet said was the law and so the vet kindly picked out one of the most expensive brands available. After a while I realized that the dog could get “healthy” (I have to go by the advertiser’s word for it.) food, like Iams, for a lot less.

Mr. Pete has fared well in the food department. Where the “bone” of the matter comes in is the question of table food. Yes. Yes. Dogs (and cats, too) are not supposed to have food from the human bowl. But, when you have the dog gives you those puppy dog eyes (No truer name was ever coined.) and starts licking his little chops what do you do? Why, give him what he wants, of course! Lest you, kind reader, think that I am the guilty party, I want to point the finger at my darling daughter and son. I have personally witnessed them give the dog little tidbits. But, when I slip the dog a treat (I’d really rather slip him a Mickey when he’s barking his tennis ball-sized head off) it becomes a matter to be brought to the Supreme Court. My question is why can’t we fatten that dog up? He weighed 5.3 pounds at the last vet visit and his legs are like little chicken wings.

I can’t give him watermelon, which he loves by the way, without hearing, “That’s bad for him.” I can’t give him avocado, salad, sausage, etc. without a high pitched voice saying, “Are you trying to make him sick? Stop giving him that stuff. You have a sub- conscious desire to kill him, don’t you?” Land sakes! Such drama! And no, I do not want to knock him off. (By the way he is from Mexico and guacamole is a tasty and well known Mexican topping. Mr. Pete likes it, too.)

So to settle the controversy I ask the veterinarian ages ago what a dog shouldn’t be eating. Truthfully she gave a list, but I not having a pen handy only remember that grapes were deadly for a dog and that dogs can’t have chocolate. (Mr. Pete will differ on the chocolate issue. He loves it.) The ongoing arguments at our house have never been resolved. I decided to consult the experts on the web and find out what a dog shouldn’t have so I could stop the madness.

Here is a list of the foods on the no-no list – and watermelon isn’t one of them. Neither is salad, Golden Crisp, or bread.

1) Grapes and raisins. Never have given him a grape, Scout’s honor. I detest, loathe, and hate raisins so they are never in this house because they are not allowed. Grapes and raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys.
2) Onions cause hemolytic anemia. That is destruction of the red blood cells causing weakness, shortness of breath, and pale mucus membranes. Treatment is a transfusion. (Yes, dogs can get transfusions as they can get chemotherapy, MRIs, etc.)
3) Chocolate contains theobromide. Pure baking chocolate is the worst.  If a dog gets a hold of milk chocolate (the only kind we have in this house) they can have 20 ounces before harm. This is based on a 20 pound dog. Yes, I have given him milk chocolate, but not 20 ounces worth. Maybe an M&M here and there or a small nibble from a chocolate bar.
4) Caffeine is similar in its effects as chocolate. The heart rate speeds up, they become hyperactive, and can have lung, kidney, and central nervous system problems. No worries about caffeine at our house. We don’t drink tea or coffee.
5) Macadamia nuts if ingested are not fatal to a dog, but can cause severe illness.
6) Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener found in gum and some candies. This causes liver damage and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia.) Hypoglycemia can cause an animal (and humans) to go into shock. Emergent treatment is necessary.
7) Alcohol and uncooked yeast dough. Alcohol will cause respiratory depression and central nervous system problems. I hope when people show off that Fido can down a can of beer that they have really dumped out the beer and put water in that can.
8) Fruit pits and seeds, like peach pits, contain cyanide. I don’t think any living thing does too well after they have ingested cyanide.
9) Avocados. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that avocados are on the “don’t give to the dog list.” Please be assured that when I give Mr. Pete a snack I don’t give him much, honest. He loves avocado. I noticed after he had some his stomach would rumble and he’d be a bit gassy. But the last time I gave him some he vomited. I haven’t given him any since. The compound in avocados that is harmful is Persin. When Daphne heard this one she gave me that condescending look and the “I told you avocados were bad for him, Moooom!”
10) This one is a no brainer – rotten or moldy food. I don’t think many people consciously give their canines rotten and moldy food. Watch out for the garbage can, though. Dogs do like to dig for treats in the trash. Botulism and alcohol are produced as by-products of rotting food.
11) Dairy products can be difficult to digest. Mr. Pete doesn’t have that problem. The milk left at the bottom of the cereal is a treat to him.
12) No chicken bones as they can break easily and choke the dog.
13) This one applies to humans as well as dogs. Avoid foods high in sugar, sodium, and fat. Dogs can get indigestion, dehydration, or obesity from these foods (as can humans. But don’t those foods taste good despite being unhealthy for you.)

If your dog ingests something and gets ill, call your veterinarian ASAP. When talking to the vet try to determine what and how much of the substance the dog ingested and how long ago. Be prepared to make a trip to the animal emergency room. Some veterinarians will call the animal poison control hotline themselves and then advise you on what to do. Don’t induce vomiting in your dog unless advised by a professional to do so. You can also call the hotline(s) yourself. You could be charged a fee for the service. The hotline numbers are: ASCPA – 1-888-426-4435 or the”Free” Hotline – 1-785-532-5679.

On my honor I will not feed Mr. Pete avocados, but I will probably continue to give him a bite or two of seedless watermelon and an M&M now and then. I guess I am incorrigible.

Have a Great Day! Blog You Later!

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