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Despite being meat-eaters at heart, dogs can readily digest a variety of other foods like vegetables, fruits and grains. A carrot, cucumber, courgette or potato can make for a good snack, as can some cooked pasta or rice. You may also like to give your dog some sliced fruit as a treat – apples, oranges, bananas and melons are all good choices. Make sure you remove any stones, seeds or stems before feeding your dog.
Certain foods can pose a serious health risk to dogs. Some of them are well-known, others are quite surprising.
Do try to keep your dog away from the foods listed out below. If you suspect he may have ingested some, or is showing signs of sickness, contact your vet as soon as you can.
- Avocado: The perisin found in avocados can be toxic to dogs in large quantities
- Alcohol: Can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of coordination, coma or death
- Onions and garlic: It can lead to anaemia in large doses
- Caffeine: Large amounts can be lethal
- Grapes and raisins: Small amounts of either can make your dog sick and can lead to kidney failure
- Macadamia nuts: Just a few of these could make a dog ill and high doses can be fatal
- Chocolate: The chemical ‘theobromine’ is present in all chocolate and is bad for dogs
- Peaches and plums: The large seeds in these fruits can cause intestinal inflammation
- Human medicine: This accounts for most dog poisoning
As a rule of thumb, smaller dogs need more calories per pound of bodyweight than larger dogs. The same applies to a dog’s age: younger dogs and puppies tend to be more active and need more servings than their older counterparts.
When feeding your dog, it’s a good idea to start out with smaller suggested servings and then to keep an eye out for signs of hunger or weight loss. This will allow you to adjust the portion sizes if necessary and makes it easier to keep your dog at a healthy weight.
A simple way of knowing whether your dog’s weight is healthy is to run your fingers across the side of his abdomen – you should be able to feel his ribs under a thin layer of flab.
Puppies generally begin to eat solid food at around five weeks. They should be fed four times a day until 12 weeks, and three times a day after that. Once a dog reaches six months old, he should be fed two meals a day for the rest of his life.
Remember to keep your dog’s food and water bowls clean and in good condition.
The content of these pages is for general information only. It does not constitute advice and must not be acted or relied on as being so. Veterinary advice should always be sought before applying this or any other information to any facts and circumstances concerning each individual pet.
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