All posts by korr

The Foods Dogs Can’t Eat

By Kelley Kombrinck

For us humans, sharing meals with each other is a huge part of our lives. It’s a way to celebrate, to grieve, to bond and to conduct business. We probably do this most often with our loved ones, often every night at dinner, so it is natural for us to want to include our special furry friends in this practice. As long as man and dog have been cohabitating, we’ve been slipping food to them from our plates. It’s easy to assume that whatever is good and tasty to us will be the same for our dogs. Unfortunately, this is not the case and there are a number of foods that are not healthy for our four-legged companions and some that can even be deadly. Before you pass your dog that yummy morsel, let’s look at some of the foods dogs can’t eat.

As a general rule, it is probably best to limit how much “human” food we share with our dogs. Most of our food is heavily seasoned or processed and we aren’t always aware of what might bother their digestive systems. To understand the healthiest diet for your dog, you should always consult your vet. With that in mind, if you do give in to those big, hungry eyes that seem to say, “Please may I have just a bite?” there are some foods that are particularly harmful to a dog’s body and should be avoided. There is an excellent and comprehensive list of foods that are both safe, and dangerous for dogs that can be found at the American Kennel Club website for those looking for more suggestions, but for this post we will focus on the ones that should always be left alone.

Foods To Avoid

(Remember, even foods that are “ok” for dogs aren’t meant for them, so when you do share, make sure it is only occasionally, and small amounts.)

Chocolate

chocolate
Chocolate

Most people, dog families or not, are aware of this one and with good reason. Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, varieties and is in many different foods and beverages that we consume. Most households have quite a bit of chocolate in one form or another laying about the kitchen and it is extremely toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains a stimulant called methylxanthine, and ingesting even a small amount can cause a dog to experience severe vomiting and diarrhea. Any significant amount can cause a dog to have seizures, heart problems and could even kill them. Not only do you want to make sure you don’t knowingly give your dog friend any chocolate, you want to make sure that there is no way for them to get into it on their own. If you discover that your dog has eaten chocolate, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. If you can’t reach a vet, you can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline to find out how best to proceed.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts
Macadamia Nuts

These nuts are a big no-no for dog consumption. Like chocolate, they are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause any number of harmful effects including damage to their nervous system.

Garlic

Garlic
Garlic

Garlic is part of a family of plants called the Allium family, along with onions, leeks, shallots and scallions. All of these should be avoided when giving your dog food from the table because they can all make them sick. Garlic, however, is much more toxic than the others and has a host of symptoms including an elevated heartrate and weakness that can lead to collapse. It is also worthwhile to note that with foods such as garlic and onions, a dog may have delayed symptoms, so if you know that your fur baby has gotten into the special, garlic-heavy family spaghetti sauce, keep an eye on them for a few days and watch for any signs of discomfort or irregular behavior.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon
Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice with a very pleasant sort of “heat” that we humans enjoy and while it is not necessarily toxic for dogs, it is also not good for them. The oils that carry that spiciness to our flavor receptors can irritate the lining of a dog’s mouth. If it is inhaled as a powder (it’s most common form in this country) it can cause breathing issues and overall will just make a dog feel sick and uncomfortable.

Almonds

SLmonds
Almonds

Certain nuts are toxic to dogs in and of themselves (the aforementioned Macadamia nuts)while others, like peanuts and cashews, are alright in very small amounts. Almonds fall somewhere in between and so to be overly cautious we are including them on our list. While not specifically toxic, almonds can easily be lodged in a dog’s esophagus creating a choking hazard or even damage their windpipe if not chewed very thoroughly. Additionally, if the almonds are salted they can cause your dog to retain water which can be life-threatening if there is any underlying heart condition. Best to steer clear and keep the almonds for yourself.

Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and Raisins

Dogs can eat some fruits, but grapes and raisins should definitely be avoided. They are toxic to a fur-baby’s system and eating them can cause a dog to endure vomiting, severe lethargy and possible kidney failure.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Ice cream

Dogs are able to digest dairy and it is not always harmful to them but some dogs have an intolerance for lactose that can cause mild to severe digestive issues. On top of that, ice cream contains very high levels of sugar and sodium, which can cause weight gain, retention and lead to more serious conditions down the line. While it may be hard to not give a good boy or good girl the last lick of your frozen treat, it is best to just keep that last lick for yourself.

Alcohol

alcohol
Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol is a big no-no for dogs. Their bodies react to alcohol in a very similar way to ours except that they experience issues much faster and with a much lower amount. Think of your furry friend as the ultimate lightweight. Vomiting, diarrhea and loss of coordination can begin quickly after consuming even a small volume of alcohol and can eventually lead to coma or even death.

Caffeine

Caffeine
Coffee

Like alcohol, the effects of caffeine on a dog’s system are not unlike our own, but are greatly amplified and far more damaging. Muscle tremors, trouble breathing and heart palpitations are all common symptoms of caffeine consumption in dogs, but depending on how much they ingested, can also lead to caffeine poisoning.

Xylitol

Xylitol
Sugar substitute xylitol,

Xylitol is a popular artificial sweetener used in many different foods and other products (like toothpaste). It is extremely harmful to dogs and can cause liver failure in just a few short days after being ingested. It also causes severe, repeated vomiting, lethargy and sometimes seizures. This one can sneak up on you because sometimes you don’t know that a product contains xylitol. Some peanut-butters, for instance, contain xylitol and many dogs receive peanut-butter as a treat. Before sharing anything with your animal friends, make sure you check the ingredients list.

Of course, there are other “human” foods that are harmful to greater and lesser degrees to dogs. If you’re committed to sharing foods with your dog, it is probably best to research it thoroughly first, or as mentioned above, contact a veterinarian who can help guide you. We all want to make our animal friends happy and give them treats that we enjoy, but we also want them to feel good and be healthy. There are so many other treats that are appropriate for our dogs that will give them that good feeling while not doing any harm to them.

Visit the blog over at Petstop.com for more great articles on ways to spend time with and care for your beloved furry friend!

Happy dog waiting for dinner
Thanks for protecting me from the foods I can’t eat!

Getting to Know President Joe Biden’s Dogs

Embed from Getty Images

Dogs in the White House have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams brought their dogs Juno and Satan to live with them at the capitol back in 1800. Nearly every US president has had a furry companion to help them oversee the country and President Joe Biden is carrying on that tradition with his two German shepherds, Champ and Major. In fact, the freshly inaugurated Commander-In-Chief has not only carried on the tradition but added a new wag-of-the-tail by being the first president to have a rescue dog, Major, living at the White House.

The first of these two presidential pups to join the Biden family was Champ. As the story goes, Joe told his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, that if Barack Obama, who’d chosen him as running mate, won the 2008 election, they would get a dog to bring along with them. As we all know, Barack Obama did indeed become the President of the United States and so Joe got Champ as a newborn from a breeder in Pennsylvania.

Champ spent the next 10 years as an only child, but then in 2018 was joined by a new little brother, Major. Major was born in 2018 and was part of a litter than could not be cared for by their original owners. Joe and Jill began fostering Major from the Delaware Humane Society shelter where he’d been staying and adopted him later that same year.

Both Champ and Major seem comfortable living in the spotlight and have a strong social media presence. They share aTwitter account (which you can follow HERE) and a fan page on Instagram with over 13,000 subscribers (follow that account HERE). Their Twitter profile lists their hometown as Wilmington, DE and welcomes followers with the message, “We’re The First Good Bois. We’re moving to the White House soon. Our hoomans have decided to get a cat, so they’re not all that perfect anymore.” They have 22,000 twitter followers who scroll their feeds to find out what these two “First Good Bois,” are up to daily. Typical posts include cute statements released by Champ and Major such as:

https://twitter.com/TheFirstDogs/status/1333719339338526725?s=20m/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

And:

There are also many beautiful photos of Champ and Major posted to both Twitter and Instagram like the ones below:

This tweet, "authored" by Major, was in response to an injury President Biden received while playing with the young German shepherd:

Back on November 20, then President-elect Biden had fractured his foot while romping around with Major. In an interview with the New York Ppst (read that article HERE) Biden said,  “I’m joking, running after him and grab his tail. And what happened was that he slid on a throw rug. And I tripped on the rug he slid on.”

Champ and Major’s social media savvy should come as no surprise as they both were very visible during Biden’s 2020 campaign, and were referenced by him often. They are settling in to carry on the legacy of presidential pooches throughout history, helping guide their favorite human as he guides the country. For that fact alone, these Champ and Major Biden are true American heroes.

Dogs and Covid-19

By Kelley Kombrinck

Dogs and Covid-19

2020 brought a lot of unrest and anxiety to people all over the globe, and the events that shaped that unease came in many shapes and sizes. One of the most harrowing for us humans has been the worldwide pandemic caused by Covid-19, otherwise known as SARS-Cov 2 or Coronavirus. It is an extremely contagious and infectious disease that can seemingly attack any system in the body. The effects can fall anywhere on a broad spectrum of severity that includes having no symptoms at all, feeling like one has a mild flu, or in the worst cases, death from complications caused by the virus. Social and physical distancing has become phrases we’ve come to hear almost daily. Humans are social animals and so it’s no surprise that we’ve had difficulty adjusting to this situation as a species. It’s hard for us to stay away from one another and to stay indoors. We crave face-to-face interaction and experiences beyond our front doors. What about other species’, however? When it comes to our dogs and Covid-19, what do we need to know? How has the coronavirus affected our animal friends and how do we protect them? Experts believe that Covid-19 originated in an animal (most likely a bat, according to the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html), but can it be spread from humans back to animals? Could we be spreading the virus to our pets? Can they, in turn, infect us?

The good news is the likelihood of us contracting Covid-19 from our dogs is very slim. The virus seems mostly transmitted through respiratory droplets, spread it via sneezes, coughs and talking in close proximity to one another. From the same page on the CDC website linked above:

“Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.”

What about us passing it on to our beloved fur-babies? What is the risk there?

In May of 2020, a German Shepherd named Buddy became the first dog in the US to test positive for Covid-19. His owner had contracted the coronavirus the previous month and noticed that the dog was showing signs of illness. A veterinarian was able to confirm that Buddy did indeed have the virus. Sadly, in July of 2020, Buddy passed away from lymphoma, but vets were unable to determine whether this was related to the virus, or if complications from his cancer were coincidental to the infection.

We love our dogs

This story and a few other like it sent cold tendrils of panic slipping down the spines of dog lovers everywhere. It was hard enough worrying about infecting our most vulnerable human family and friends, but now it seems, we may also have to worry about making our pets sick.

Steps to Keep Your Dog Safe

The information we have is obviously limited and the story grows and changes every day, but the CDC advises treating pets similarly to humans in regard to distancing. They’ve released some general guidelines about how best to avoid spreading the coronavirus to our dogs.

Walking your dog during covid
Walk your dogs on a leash when you take them out
  • Practice good pet hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, particularly after handling your dogs or their food, Physically distance. Just like we’ve done with other people, it’s advised to keep our animal friends separated from people outside of their home.
  • Walk your dogs on a leash when you take them out and try to keep them distanced (at least six feet) from other animals and people who may be out doing the same. Also, try to avoid public places where a large number of people and dogs may gather, including busy, social dog parks. If possible, exercise them in their own yard (a great way of doing this, if you are worried about them staying put, is to install an invisible pet fence).
  • The CDC states that there is no evidence that the virus can be contracted from the skin, fur or hair of pets so please don’t try to “disinfect” them by wiping or cleaning them with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners. Again, this does nothing to help and could very definitely be harmful, or deadly, to your beloved dog. It is perfectly fine to wipe the pads of their paws with warm, water. You can use a pet safe soap but if you do, be sure to rinse your dog’s paws thoroughly to be sure it is all gone. Even soaps meant for pets can be dangerous if left on the skin. Also, never use soaps meant for humans on your pets–the chemicals can cause serious health problems or even death.
  • Of course, the best way we can prevent our dog friends from getting infected with Covid-19 is to stay healthy ourselves. If you do contract Covid-19, or even think that you have, limit contact with your pet as much as possible. If you can, try to have someone else care for your dog(s) if you are infected.
  • If no one else is available to help you care for your animals, avoid prolonged contact such as petting, kisses, being licked and snuggling (definitely the hardest part but so necessary).
  • When it’s necessary to feed them or be near them, make sure you are wearing a mask.
  • There are also a couple of things you should not do, in trying to protect your dog from the coronavirus.
  • First, don’t put a mask on your dog. Their mouths and noses are built completely different from ours and the mask will not protect them, and in fact could actually harm them.
  • As with all matters relating to the health of your pet, consult your veterinarian if you have questions about how best to keep your animal friends safe.
keep your dog healthy

We all want the best for our dogs, they are special and precious, and we strive to do what we can to keep them safe and healthy. Thankfully, it seems that doesn’t seem very common to spread the virus to our pets, but it can, and does, happen from time to time. We are learning more as time goes on about how the coronavirus spreads and the effects it can have on both humans and animals. To stay up to date on coronavirus as it applies to our animal friends, consult the CDC page HERE.

Do what you can to keep yourself safe and healthy, and you will be going a long way to ensure the same for your dog.