If you have a dog, you undoubtedly look forward to a long and happy life for your pet. Two key factors will help you reach that goal: Your dog needs exercise and a healthy diet. It needs to be a diet that includes the things that your dog needs, while avoiding food that can be harmful.
Providing Your Dog With a Healthy Diet
Just like humans, dogs need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water every day to stay in top condition. The proper diet will help dogs maintain muscle tone, and healthy skin and coats. It will also keep their immune system functioning well to avoid disease.
Some people swear that their dogs need home-cooked meals. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get the right mix of ingredients to create a balanced diet. Usually, the best thing to do is to choose a commercially available dog food that meets your pet’s needs.
- You might want to choose a food made for its stage of life, such as puppy, adult and senior. There are also foods for special needs such as dogs who are overweight or have kidney conditions.
- It’s relatively common for dogs to have food allergies, and those allergies often result in itchy skin. A large variety of foods can cause allergies, so if you can’t identify a specific cause, consider commercial food that is especially formulated for dogs with skin conditions.
Top 10 Foods to Avoid Giving Your Dog
Dogs love to beg, and people love to give their pets treats. However, before you give your dog a treat, consider the problem of obesity, and the foods that are truly bad for your furry friend. Here are the top 10 foods you should avoid.
- Chocolate: Chocolate, along with coffee and caffeine, contains methylxanthines. For your dog, these things can cause vomiting and diarrhea because they are toxic to the dog’s heart and nervous systems. In extreme cases, you’ll see panting, hyperactivity, tremors and even death.
- Alcohol: Alcohol, or foods containing alcohol, could kill your dog. Alcohol causes a range of symptoms, very similar to humans, including vomiting, lack of coordination, tremors, coma and even death. Keep all forms of alcohol away from your pet.
- Avocados: Avocados are good for people, but the persin in them can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
- Citrus: Anything with citric acid in it can give dogs an upset stomach. If given in large amounts, the acid can depress a dog’s central nervous system.
- Grapes and Raisins: It isn’t known why grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, but avoid giving them to your dog, regardless.
- Nuts: Nuts typically contain a large amount of oils and fats. Dogs can experience stomach upset and it could cause pancreatitis.
- Onions and Garlic: Dogs will experience stomach upset.
- Salty Food: Too much salt will make your dog overly thirsty, and could cause electrolyte imbalances that can lead to seizures and sometimes death.
- Dairy Products: Dogs aren’t able to produce the enzyme needed to break down lactose in dairy on a consistent basis. Acute digestive distress can result from feeding your dog dairy.
- Xylitol: You may not be familiar with this type of sweetener, but it is added to gum, candy, sweet baked goods and toothpaste. In dogs, it can cause extremely low blood sugar, which can result in intestinal distress, weakness and, in high doses, death.
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