I am not a dog person. I am not a cat person. Quite frankly, I am not a huge fan of animals at all. Growing up, we used to have dogs and cats, but I was never really all that responsible for them. I would pet them, walk them from time to time, but never actually owned a pet. To this day, I have never owned a pet that I would consider to be mine. My girlfriend, however, owns a dog and while it might be the cutest thing on the face of the planet, I still would not want to own one.
I think I have figured out why. I don’t like the responsibility that comes along with pet ownership. I don’t want to have to feed the animal. I don’t want to have to walk the animal, clean up after the animal, and continuously pull hair off of my clothes because of the animal. I have heard before that if you ever want to have a child get a dog first to see if you can live up to the day to day maintenance. I guess I shouldn’t have a child either.
But I do tolerate my girlfriend Sheryl’s dog. Her name is Sophie, and she is the cutest little wiener dog you have ever seen. She demands that you pet her. She will not leave you alone until she has decided she needs a nap or has to go outside to potty. She is the queen of the castle, and she makes it known to new visitors. She also likes to eat just about anything that you give her. From table scraps to peanut butter and everything in between, she wont say no to much. But did you know that there are certain foods that can be harmful to animals? As a matter of fact there are certain foods that can even kill an animal.
I love avocado. I buy a handful of these every month and make my own guacamole. I smash up a few of these, squeeze a couple of fresh limes, toss in some salt and chopped onion and tomato and grab the closest bag of tortilla chips. But these babies are not acceptable for your household pets to consume. Avocado contains a substance called persin. This is highly toxic to animals. It damages their hearts, and even as little as half an avocado can kill a small dog. So keep these away from your pets at all costs, and just make some more guacamole!
Grapes and Raisins
It makes sense that these two fall into the same category. I am sure you knew, or you do now, that raisins are just dried grapes. Anyway, why are they dangerous for your pet? Mainly for dogs, there seems to be some sort of a reaction with grapes and raisins that can cause kidney failure. Doctors are still confused as to what this damaging ingredient is, but there are several cases of kidney disease and kidney failure. Dogs seem to suffer this much more than any other animal. Note that just one grape can start the process of kidney failure in dogs. So keep those away from your pet and in your own tummies.
Now wait a minute. Dogs are supposed to chew on bones. That is the number one cliché of being a dog owner. And while that might be true, please make sure you only give bones that are specific to dogs that are meant for the size of your pet. When you finish your ribs from last night, those bones are not acceptable for your pet. Mainly because of the size and the structure of the bones. These bones, even chicken bones, can serve as choking hazards for your dog. There is nothing in them that will cause anything to happen physically, but your pet might choke from chewing on these bones.
Chocolate, Coffee, and Alcohol
I am guilty of this. Well, not the chocolate or coffee part, but definitely the alcohol. Sophie likes beer, what can I say? But in all seriousness, do not feed your pets chocolate or coffee. But why? We as humans eat chocolate all the time. We can’t make it through the morning without our cup of Joe. And most of us have such high-stress jobs, we can’t go to bed without at least one cocktail. So why cant animals have any of these treats? All three of these contain methlxanthines. Without getting into too much detail, even a small amount of this substance can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and potentially death. Not worth it. So keep the good stuff for yourself.
So what do you do if your doggy gets into your stash of candy bars or starts drinking out of your martini while you take a restroom break? If your animal is having seizures or losing consciousness, bring him or her to your veterinarian or emergency vet center. If your pet is not showing symptoms, but ingested something potentially toxic, call the ASPCA hotline at 888-426-4435. When you call you will need to have the following information available: the species, breed, age, sex, weight, and information about the product exposure. It is best to have the package of the product available for reference just in case they ask you anything about what was ingested. Be prepared. I might not generally like pets, but I love Sophie, and I wouldn’t want to see anything happen to her.