The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat

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There are human foods that are completely safe for dogs and also foods that are dangerous and even potentially fatal. Many pet owners learn about toxic foods only after their dog has ingested something and started having abnormal symptoms.

Since dogs are naturally curious and have an amazing sense of smell, this combination often leads to them getting into purses, getting food off of counters, getting into trash cans, stealing food from grills, and sneaking food from plates. Other times, well-intentioned pet owners offer tables scraps or human foods without understanding that they are toxic.

Below, we will review what can’t dogs eat as well as list what is safe. It is important to have healthy alternatives once you know what is not safe.

Safe Food for Dogs
There are many human foods that are “safe” for dogs. However, dogs do not need human food. What dogs need is a good quality food formulated for the size, age, body condition, activity, or for any underlying medical problems they may have. Learn more about Nutrition for Dogs.

Safe Treats for Dogs
The ideal dog treat is one made of good quality ingredients that is moderate to low in calories, consistent in ingredients (thus unlikely to cause stomach upset from bag to bag), very appealing to your dog, and safe. Higher-quality treats tend to be more consistently produced, so it is best to avoid discount and supermarket brands if possible.

There are also many human foods that you can feed your dog safely. By safely, I mean the foods listed below are not toxic to dogs. However, large quantities of any food or food given to dogs with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts can lead to problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and/or pancreatitis. Treats should make up less than 5% of your dog’s caloric intake.
Safe Foods and Treats for Dogs
Human foods that are safe for dogs include those in the list below. These foods are considered to be fresh, seedless, shelled, sliced, peeled, and in some cases, washed, and/or cooked depending on the particular product. Butter and seasonings can create their own dangers.
Almonds
Apples – small amounts without the seeds
Asparagus
Avocado –small amounts without the seeds
Bananas
Blackberries
Blueberries
Broccoli – cooked or raw clean/washed
Brussels sprouts
Cantaloupe
Carrots – cooked or raw clean/washed
Cauliflower
Celery – cooked or raw clean/washed
Cheese
Chicken – cooked
Clementine
Cooked fish such as salmon
Cooked green beans. In fact, some pet owners give green beans to aid in weight loss.
Cooked ground beef or steak
Cottage cheese
Cranberries
Eggs
Fish
Freshly cooked lunch meat
Iceberg Lettuce
Kiwis
Oatmeal
Oranges
Papaya
Pasta
Peanuts
Pineapple
Popcorn
Pork – cooked
Potato – raw or cooked plain or sweet
Pumpkin – cooked
Rice or rice cake
Shrimp
Strawberries
Spinach
Tangerine
Turkey – cooked
Yogurt
Watermelon

Tips for Giving Human Food as Treats to Your Dog
Treats are never a replacement for a good quality core dog food.
Consider low-calorie treats for dogs with weight control problems.
Give only fresh food. Moldy or rotten food can cause gastrointestinal upset.

What Dogs Can’t Eat: Foods Not Safe for Dogs
Any food in large pieces or chunks can cause difficulty chewing or swallowing and can be a choking hazard.

Specific foods that veterinarians commonly recommend NOT to give to dogs include the following:

Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches, and Plums. Ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds, and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include anxiety, dilated pupils, labored breathing, fast breathing, and shock. Small pieces of cleaned apple without the seeds can be safe.
Avocados. The leaves, fruit, bark, and seeds of avocados have all been reported to be toxic in some animals. The toxic component in the avocado is “persin,” which is a fatty acid derivative. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen, and sac around the heart, which can occur in some animals such as cattle and horses. The amount that needs to be ingested to cause signs is unknown. The biggest danger of avocado in dogs is the ingestion of the pit that can cause life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Learn about the safety of avocados here.
Baked Goods. The products which are made with xylitol are highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sweeter used in place of sugar primarily because it is lower in calories. Xylitol is also an ingredient in many different types of gums. It is in many products designed for people with Diabetes due to its low glycemic index. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Learn more with this article on Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents. A leavening agent is a common ingredient in baked goods that produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder consists of baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate or a mixture of the three. Ingestion of large amounts of baking soda or baking powder can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure, or muscle spasms.
Bones. There are many bones that aren’t safe for dogs. This can be due to the danger of them getting stuck or caught in the mouth, sharp splinters injuring the intestines, risk of constipation when passing relatively indigestible bone fragments, as well as possible bacterial contamination on the bone that can lead to illness. Learn more about The Danger of Bones.
Bread Dough. The dough contains yeast which rises in moist, warm environments, such as in the stomach. After ingestion, the rising dough can expand the stomach and decrease blood flow. Fermentation of the yeast can be reduced to alcohol causing signs of intoxication.
Chewing Gum. Gums that are made with xylitol can be toxic. Learn more with this article on Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.
Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to having a high-fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. Learn more about the specific amount of each toxin that is based on body weight in this article: Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs.
Coffee (grounds and beans). Dogs that eat coffee grounds or beans can get “caffeine” toxicity. The symptoms are very similar to those of chocolate toxicity and can be just as or even more serious.
Dairy Products. Human dairy products are not highly dangerous but can pose problems for two reasons. One is their high-fat content and like other foods with high-fat content, there is a risk of pancreatitis. The second reason is that dogs poorly digest dairy products since they lack the enzyme required to digest lactose. This affects some dogs more than others and can cause issues from gas to diarrhea. Small amounts of plain yogurt or cheese are tolerated by most dogs but it is probably safest to avoid dairy products altogether.
Diet Foods. Foods made for weight loss or diabetes may have the ingredient xylitol.
Fatty Foods. Rich and fatty foods are favorites of dogs. They often get them as treats, leftovers, or from getting into the trash. These fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can affect any dog but miniature or toy poodles, cocker spaniels, and miniature schnauzers are particularly prone. Signs of pancreatitis generally include an acute onset of vomiting, sometimes diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is often evidenced by the hunched posture or “splinting” of the abdomen when picked up. The dog may become very sick quickly and often needs intensive fluid and antibiotic therapy.
Grapes and Raisins. Ingestion of grapes and/or raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Some pet owners feed grapes thinking they are a healthy treat or give a piece of a cookie with raisins. Aggressive, and sometimes prolonged, treatment may be necessary to give the affected dog a chance at survival. Despite testing, the reason for the kidney failure and the amount necessary for toxicity remains unknown. Learn more about Grape and Raisin Toxicity.
Onions and Garlic. Dogs and cats lack the enzyme necessary to properly digest onions which can result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea or severe gastrointestinal distress. If large amounts of onion or garlic are ingested or onions are a daily part of your dog’s diet, the red blood cells may become fragile and break apart. This is due to the toxic ingredient in onions and garlic, thiosulphate. Learn more at Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog Garlic.
Peanut Butter. Some peanut butter manufacturers add xylitol to peanut butter, which is toxic to dogs. Learn more about Peanut Butter Toxicity in Dogs.
Rawhides. Like bones, rawhides can also get stuck in the esophagus or stomach of dogs, causing problems. There is also a risk of bacterial contamination. Although this is not human food, it is worth a mention with the goal to prevent your dog from getting sick. Learn more about The Good and Bad of Rawhides.
Table Scraps. Scraps, especially those that are fatty can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in dogs. Some dogs tolerate table scraps well but others can become very ill.

Your Adolescent Dog

October 21, 2019 – CKC Articletangledinleashes

You WILL survive this phase with some knowledge, tricks and

many withdrawals from your pool of patience! 

“What happened to my good puppy?” countless dedicated owners have asked themselves once their beloved pet turns 6 months mark and enters their “teenage months”. This period where your dog begins sexual maturity involves a ton of changes to your dog’s biological, physical, and psychological makeup. As a result, their behaviour is affected.

As mentioned above, your dog’s adolescent period typically begins around six months of age, and ends when a dog reaches physical maturity around the eighteen months to two years old mark, depending on the breed. The most pronounced behavioural issues will usually be noticed between six months to one year of age.

At this point, you may wonder why you even gave your dog a name because they rarely listen when you call it. You might wonder if your dog has suffered amnesia, because you swear that gorgeous pup knew all their basic commands a mere month or two ago. While having a “teenage dog” can test your patience, the good news is it is a phase. With some tricks and tips, the both of you will survive.

Too much freedom too soon

In my opinion, many puppy owners give too much freedom, too soon. Just because your pup is mostly housebroken doesn’t mean they should have free range of your home, especially when you aren’t there. Impulses run rampant through a teenage dog and the temptation to destroy a shoe, chew an electric cord or show a throw pillow who’s the boss could easily get the best of your pup. It’s no secret to regular readers of my blogs that my favourite puppy accessory is an exercise pen (aka an “ex pen”). An ex pen provides both freedom and security without putting your valuables or your puppy at risk.  The ex pen should continue to hold your dog while you’re away during the adolescent phase. All dogs are different and mature at various rates. I personally don’t begin to leave a dog unsupervised out of the ex pen until their first birthday has passed, and even then, I still limit access to the home using baby gates and closed doors.

Keep it social

Socialization must continue during the adolescent phase. Don’t assume that because your four-month-old pup was great with all other dogs that they will stay that way without any further meetings with new dogs. This goes with new people and situations as well. Practice makes perfect. Keep bringing on the new situations and your dog’s social skills will continue to grow. Same goes for new people. Get out and let your pup continue to interact with strangers.

Don’t chill on the training

As with socialization, your teenage dog will need regular refreshers on basic skills and would also love to learn new tricks and commands at this age. Remember- teenagers don’t like to work for free, so keep the praise, treats and toys on hand during these training sessions.

Impulse control needs some work at this phase. I like to make it a game. Use your rope toy to teach “give”, a treat on the ground to teach “leave it” and hide and seek to teach “wait”. All these activities work well with a teenager because they are fast, fun and offer a reward.


Keep in touch with the breeder 

Sometimes when an adolescent dog is driving you nuts, you need to talk to someone who has experienced the teenage phase dozens of times. Your dog’s breeder knows your dog’s breed and family line very well and is a great person to call when you’re at your wits end. They can provide you with their own tricks and tips, as well as reassure you that it is only a phase.

Keep your head up

As someone who owns a 7 month-old Terrier, I can say to anyone going through the “teenage period” that 1. I feel you. 2. Pour me a drink. However, I am an optimist, so I will give you some good news about this phase. Providing you bought your puppy as an 8 -12 week old baby from a reputable CKC member breeder, by this point some positive things have happened.

  • Toilet training is about 90% done. Apart from the occasional accident, your puppy should be able to only go to the washroom outdoors providing you stick to schedule and are aware of all signs they give you to tell you they “gotta go”.
  • Teething is almost over. Rejoice! Teething generally happens before adolescent and tends to wind down around the 7 month mark. That being said, your dog still requires toys to chew on and they will need to be stronger now that they have their adult teeth.
  • You can leave your puppy alone for a bit longer. While you only had a one to two hour limit while leaving your puppy in their crate or ex-pen a few months ago you can now go a couple more hours provided they’ve had exercise and gone to the bathroom.
  • They can walk properly on a leash. My Dandie Dinmont Terrier is getting better and better on the leash. It’s so much easier to take your dog for a brisk walk to burn off some steam when they get into one of their energetic moods. If you use a dog walker, this is the time where you might be able to switch from solo puppy visits to pack walks, which will save you a bit of money and allow your dog to socialize daily.
  • If you show your dog in conformation, you can now enter the Puppy Classes and try to earn points. You can also compete in some other CKC events like Earthdog Tests and Field Dog Junior Tests. Other events require your puppy to reach 12 or 18 months due to avoid injury.
  • Your bond is stronger with your dog. If you got your puppy when they were an 8 -12 week old youngster, time has been on your side and you now have developed a good relationship with your dog.

The adolescent phase of your dog’s life can test your patience, but by this time next year it will be just a memory. With these tips and a good sense of humour, you will have a well-adjusted adult dog as your best friend for years to come.

 

Are There Cues Your Dog Doesn’t Like?

I was teaching a “teen dog” class last night, and we were working on the “stay” behavior. In the training center where I teach, we instruct the students on the “four Ds” of stay – distance, duration, distraction, and disappearance (the last one, very advanced, when the handlers can leave the room and their dogs will “hold” the stay). We teach that when you increase the difficulty of one of the “Ds,” you should decrease the others – so, in the high-distraction environment of the training center, with other dogs in the class, to help your dog succeed, you should reduce the distance and duration of the stay you ask of your dog. So far, so good.

As the handlers and their dogs practiced, I noticed one dog doing exactly what my younger dog, Kane, does when we work on the stay behavior. Every time this dog’s handler gave the hand signal and verbal cue for “stay,” his dog turned her head away, jumped to her feet, and looked around for something else to do. Clearly, there is something about the stay behavior that she found either aversive or perhaps just far less rewarding than the other behaviors we practiced in class.

 

Kane Doesn’t Like the Stay Cue

In Kane’s case, he loves doing all the “action” sort of behaviors I might ask him for: sit, down, stand, back up, spin, go through my legs. And he enjoys the eye contact that we usually share while we are working on these behaviors. But, just as the dog in class last night, often, when I cue him for “stay,” his head will immediately swivel and he will look away, like, “Did I just hear the doorbell? Maybe I should go check!”

 

Unhappy face when told “down stay”

As an active dog, I think Kane finds the stay behavior extremely boring – and what’s more, it’s more difficult for him to do than the far more fun, active, exuberant behaviors. Not difficult physically – difficult mentally. To counter this, and keep solid stays, I really need to increase the quality and quantity of the rewards he gets for good stays, keep the length of the behaviors extremely unpredictable (if they are all long, no reward is good enough to make it worth his while!), and not over-practice. This is one of his behaviors that gets worse with more practice, not better, since he finds it to be extremely not fun.

 

Resist the Urge to Over-Practice!

It’s human to want to keep practicing the behavior your dog is not very good at – especially when she’s really good at almost every other behavior you ask for! But resist that urge! – unless you can find a way to change how you ask for or practice the behavior, so that your dog actually loves to hear your cue for that particular behavior. Kane loves to come find me when I hide, so I guess I will start cueing him to “stay” before I release him to find me (with a whistle, from my hidden location). I hope that will increase his interest in and desire to “play” the “stay” game.

Are there any behaviors that your dog hates being asked to do? How can you tell he or she doesn’t enjoy it? How have you countered your dog’s unhappy reaction to the cue?

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Dog Owners

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These powerful lessons can improve your overall relationship with your dog and improve his behavior as a positive side effect.

Almost 30 years ago, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey was published for the first time. The self-help book went on to be called the “most influential business book of the 20th century.” To date, more then 25 million copies of the book have been sold.

As a small business owner, I found the book very enlightening and helpful, but I mostly found myself relating to Dr. Covey’s “7 habits” as things that would really help anyone who lived with and worked with dogs!

As a professional dog trainer, I get to work with people from all walks of life and the dogs they love. Interestingly, no matter who they are, what they do for a living, or what kind of dog they have, their issues are similar: They call me because they want their dog to stop doing “X.” Usually, they say they have “tried everything, but the dog just won’t listen.”

I love the opportunities I have to work with so many amazing dogs. But a lot of what I do comes down to coaching the dog’s owners on how to look at things differently to obtain a new outcome.

With Dr. Covey’s “seven habits for success in business” in mind, allow me to apply them to people who want a more successful relationship with their dogs.

  1. Be proactive.

Much of the old-fashioned dog training we were exposed to growing up focused on waiting for the dog to make a mistake and then harshly correcting him. While most of us simply accepted this as “how you train a dog,” we were missing the bigger picture. This method never taught the dog what he was supposed to do in that situation the next time.

It doesn’t make sense to let an untrained dog loose in your house and then follow behind correcting him with “No! Don’t! Off! Stop! Get down! Quit that!” for every wrong decision he makes. It is much more effective and productive to take the time to teach this new family member how to act appropriately in your home.

In modern, science-based animal training we understand the importance of teaching the learner, in this case the dog, what to do by being proactive. To use the example above as what not to do when you bring your new dog or puppy home, start things off on the right foot by first showing your new family member where she is supposed to go potty – before you ever bring her indoors! Stay out there until she goes, and immediately reward her with treats and praise!

Then, instead of turning her loose in her new home, allow your new dog to have access to just one room or area in the house at first – a place where she won’t be able to make mistakes like jumping up on the bird cage, soiling a precious rug, or chewing up a family heirloom. Allow her to relax in an area where it’s safe to explore without being able to make any major mistakes and where her water, food, toys, and beds are located. Reward her for sitting politely as she meets each member of the family and each visitor to the home!

Dogs do what works for them and what’s safe for them. If you introduce behaviors that are safe for the dog and work for you both, your dog will begin to choose them naturally.

 

  1. Begin with the end in mind.

To change an unwanted behavior, you first need to decide what you want your learner to do instead. It is very easy to say, “I want my dog to stop jumping” or “I don’t want my dog to bark at the mailman.” You need to turn that around and decide exactly what you’d rather have your dog do in those moments.

To modify the unwanted behavior, we must be able to picture the final goal. If your dog is jumping on guests, you would probably prefer that he sit politely instead. If your dog is barking, you may decide you want him to play with his toy or go to his bed while the mailman passes by. These are the finished behaviors you can have in mind so you know exactly what you’re going to teach your dog to do.

If you don’t have a goal in mind and you’re only focused on stopping a behavior, your dog will never learn what he’s supposed to do the next time a guest comes to visit or the mailman delivers a package. This will set up an endless cycle of wrong behavior, harsh correction, confused and scared dog, frustrated guardian. This cycle can be broken easily if you begin dealing with your dog with your end goal in mind.

 

  1. Put first things first.

Prioritizing is a necessity in all aspects of our lives. Working with your dog is no exception. There will probably be several things you wish to change or work on with your dog, but certain ones should take precedent. Any behavior that is necessary to keep your dog and other family members safe should be a top priority. This could be teaching your dog to come when called because you live near a busy street. It may be working on creating positive associations for your dog with babies because you’re expecting. If you’ve recently brought home a new puppy, proper and humane socialization should be your number one priority due to the brief window of time puppies have to learn about their world and whether it’s safe.

Focus on teaching your dog whatever behaviors meet your immediate needs; usually, the rest can be handled with proper management such as baby gates, fences, a leash, stuffed food toys, etc. There is nothing wrong with using management to keep everyone safe and happy until you have a chance to work on that next issue with your dog.

 

  1. Think win-win.

Always think in terms of mutual benefit when working with your dog. I doubt you added a dog to your family to spend the next 10 to 15 years in an adversarial relationship. Therefore, it’s not helpful to think in terms of dominating your dog or expecting your dog to spend his life trying to please you.

Instead, make the things you ask your dog to do just as beneficial for him as they are for you. Thankfully, this couldn’t be easier, since most dogs will gladly work for food, toys, praise, and/or petting.

Your relationship with your dog should be like any other in your family, built on mutual respect and love for one another. If you stop and consider how your dog must feel in a given situation – just as you would for your partner or child – you can then approach it in a way in which you both receive what you need in that moment: a win-win.

 

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Humans are quick to demand full and complete comprehension from our dogs. It’s surprising when you consider we expect this from an entirely different species – one that doesn’t speak our language! On the flip side, consider that dogs speak to us all day long with their ritualized body language. Sadly, the majority of humans have never learned this language.

Dr. Covey wrote in his book, “Seek first to listen with the intent to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, then seek to effectively communicate your own thoughts and feelings.”

We must remember that our dogs have their own thoughts and feelings and that the environment we subject them to affects both. If you cue your dog to sit or lie down while at the vet clinic or on a busy street corner and he doesn’t do it, it’s not because he is being stubborn. Your dog may be scared, anxious, or overwhelmed in this situation and feels that it would be unsafe or uncomfortable to sit or lie down. He is not defiantly disobeying your orders. He is responding to his instinct and emotions in the moment. Every one of us does this when we feel scared or threatened.

Learning how your dog communicates with his body means you care about this family member with whom you share your life. It also shows your dog that he can trust you to help him out of overwhelming moments and you will understand what he needs. What an amazing gift to be able to offer him!

 

  1. Synergize.

This means recognizing your own strengths and celebrating the strengths of those around you. You may have adopted a dog because you thought it would be nice to visit nursing homes and cheer up people with a sweet, fluffy therapy dog. However, the dog you end up with might be full of energy and better-suited for an agility field.

Instead of seeing this as a failure in your dog’s ability to be a therapy dog, consider the amazing possibilities you could have doing something more active together. Perhaps this unexpected development will open up a new world to you, with like-minded friends and fun travel. (And perhaps your dog will grow to share your interest in providing comfort to people later in his life!)

Just as you would with a child, try meeting your dog where he is, accepting him for who he is today. Be open to discovering the wonderful gifts he can bring to your life right now.

 

  1. Sharpen the saw.

There isn’t an individual on this planet that ever stops learning. In fact, learning is always taking place, even when we don’t realize it.

If you think of training a dog as something you do haphazardly (when you find the time) for the first few weeks he’s in your home, you will not be happy with the results. Alternatively, if you weave training into your everyday life with your dog, thinking of each brief interaction as a teaching moment, you will be amazed by the outcome. Your dog will receive clear and consistent messages from you in all types of settings and situations. This will allow him to develop into a calm, confident dog who truly understands what is expected of him and which behaviors are appropriate to choose on his own.

It’s not uncommon for someone to ask me, “How long will it take before my dog is trained?” The truth is, there really isn’t an answer to this question because there should not be an “ed” on the end of the word train. As long as we are alive, learning is always happening and none of us is ever fully “trained.”

Instead of being disappointed by this and thinking that you will have to train your dog for the rest of his life, I encourage you to flip that narrative and become excited about the opportunity to share a mutual journey in learning alongside each other – a journey that builds a bond like no other.

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