It may seem more likely for a dog owner to have to worry about their pet snatching a toxic food from the countertop. Human food shouldn’t make up more than 15% of the diet you feed your cat, but if you’re a cat owner, you know they can get into anything they set their minds to! This includes human foods that are unhealthy and sometimes dangerous.
Learn about several foods cats can’t eat and why.
1. Onions and Garlic
Although a meal almost always benefits from onions or garlic, your cat doesn’t. That includes scallions and shallots too! The compounds found in these foods can do damage to red blood cells and cause anemia.
If your cat consumes a food in the onion family, you’re likely to see symptoms like:
- Pale gums
- Lessened appetite
- Orange to dark red urine
While these foods are generally toxic when eaten in large amounts, be careful of concentrated foods as well, like garlic powder and onion soup mix.
2. Caffeine and Chocolate
You’ve heard that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but did you know it’s dangerous for cats too? That’s because it contains theobromine, a methylxanthine. Theobromine is found in cacao seeds, and while it’s easy for humans to digest, it isn’t for cats.
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Muscle tremors
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Unusual heart rhythm
Caffeine is another methylxanthine and just as bad for your cat. She should never have tea, coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverages or items. If your cat ingests caffeine, she’s likely to show the same symptoms as she would if she ate chocolate.
It may be tempting to let your feline friend nibble from your piece of candy, but there are better ways to share! Many candies, gums, and baked goods contain xylitol, an ingredient that can be toxic to cats. It’s a sweetener often used in sugar-free candies, but it also shows up in products like vitamins, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
Vets report seeing fewer cases of xylitol poisoning in cats than they do in dogs. This could be because cats are pickier about what they eat. (They also can’t taste sweet!) But the definitive answer is not yet known.
Symptoms of xylitol ingestion include:
- Lack of coordination
Alcohol in any form is dangerous to cats. But alcohol isn’t just limited to your after-dinner drink. It can be found in many other items, like syrups and rum-soaked cakes.
Your cat is much smaller than you. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can lead to quick intoxication.
If you think your cat accidentally consumed alcohol, look for these symptoms:
- Muscle tremors
- Difficulty breathing
If it’s not caught right away, alcohol ingestion in cats can lead to death. Should you need to take your cat to the vet, try your best to tell them how much your cat consumed and the strength of what she had.
5. Raisins and Grapes
Grapes and raisins are fun for people to snack on, but they can cause rapid kidney failure in cats. It’s not known why grapes and raisins are foods that are dangerous, but it’s not worth the risk of having them around!
If your cat experiences kidney failure as a result of consuming grapes or raisins, it can cause vomiting within 12 hours. Within 24 hours, she may exhibit:
- Abdominal pain
- Reduced appetite
- Decreased urination
Kidney failure is not something to wait on. Bring your cat to the vet immediately if she shows signs of having it or if you know she’s eaten grapes or raisins.
6. Raw Dough
Raw yeast dough—like bread dough—is dangerous for cats because it contains alcohol. It creates alcohol in a cat’s stomach, causing the stomach to expand.
7. Raw Meat, Raw Eggs, and Bones
Raw eggs, meat, and bones all have one hazardous thing in common: the risk of salmonella and E. coli. While cats are carnivores and need meat to thrive, it’s best to cook it. The possibility of E. coli and salmonella is too risky to take the change that it harms your cat or you, as it could pass through your cat and remain in the excrement you clean out of her litter box.
Symptoms of these bacteria include:
Raw eggs and bones carry additional risks:
- Raw eggs – They carry an enzyme that can cause problems with your cat’s coat and skin.
- Bones – Besides being a choking hazard, a hard bone can harm your cat’s teeth, and a sharp bone can damage her digestive tract.
Vet Note: Dairy
Many people think dairy is dangerous for cats. You should avoid feeding your cat dairy products because it is most likely lactose intolerant, and products like milk, cheese, and butter can cause her digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhea). While most cats become lactose intolerant as they mature, some cats can still enjoy dairy in small quantities. If you feed your cat a dairy product, keep an eye on her afterwards to see if it made her sick or uncomfortable.
If you think your cat has eaten one of these items, take her to a veterinarian right away. Note a couple of important things:
- What she ate
- How much she ate
- When she ate it
You don’t have to answer all of these questions! Even a little information can help your vet craft a plan of action for your cat’s health.
You should also bring your feline friend to the vet if she’s showing any of the common signs of poisoning, even if you aren’t sure of what she ate. Those signs include:
- Decreased appetite
Learn more about cat poisoning here.
Prevention is best! Avoid feeding your cat these foods. And keep foods that are dangerous out of reach of your furry friend’s mischievous paws. Always clean up after making a meal.
Do you believe your cat ate a toxic substance? Don’t wait! Bring her to an experienced veterinarian, like those at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital, right away. Ask a question about poisonous food or let us know you’re coming by giving us a call at 281-693-7387.
You find your feline friend on the countertop or the dining room table, lapping up milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl or tasting cake batter. Is that okay? If you’ve wondered, “What human foods can cats eat?”, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of six common food groups it’s okay for cats to try.
Vet Tip: Cats generally get all the nutrients they need from commercial cat food, so any people food should be given in moderation unless you get veterinary advice first. If you suspect your kitty is nutrient-deficient, make an appointment with a vet, who can run tests to ensure he’s healthy.
A Key to Nutrients
Under each food in our list, you’ll see the nutrients it provides. Here’s a key to help you understand how each helps your cat:
Antioxidants – Protects your cat’s cells from damage caused by free radicals (molecules that can harm cell membranes, enzymes, and DNA)
Calcium – Helps blood clot and supports teeth and bone health
Fiber – Maintains a healthy microbiome in the gut and helps food move through the digestive system
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Keep the coat shiny and healthy and support the immune system
Protein – Helps repair and build tissue and muscles and contributes to healthy hair and skin, a strong heart, good vision, and a healthy reproductive system
Vitamin B – Maintains the digestive system and promotes good blood circulation
Cats are carnivores. They need meat to thrive! A little extra cooked and unseasoned meat in your cat’s diet can be a great addition. Trim off the fat, as it can be hard for cats to digest and can result in diarrhea. Turkey can be especially high in fat.
The most common image of a cat enjoying people food is a happy feline lapping from a bowl of milk. The second most common is a happy cat enjoying tuna! Tuna fish and other cooked or canned fish is healthy for cats, and they love it.
Serve canned or fully cooked fish to avoid parasites. Raw fish also has too much thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine, an essential vitamin for your cat.
Vet Note: Carnivorous fish (swordfish, tuna, salmon) tend to have higher levels of mercury than flounder, halibut, and cod. Tuna has high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which can deplete your cat’s vitamin E. If you love to feed your cat fish, do so in moderation, and choose a variety of types!
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Wild cats commonly raid nests to eat eggs. Your cat is just as likely to enjoy eggs in his diet, but be sure they’re cooked, not raw. The risk of E. coli and salmonella is too high in raw eggs. And while your cat might successfully pass salmonella or E. coli, it could remain in his excrement, which you clean up.
Scrambled eggs are a quick, easy way to deliver nutrients like:
- Vitamin B
Dairy can be a confusing subject for cat owners. You’ve probably seen images of cats drinking from bowls of milk. But you may also have heard that milk is bad for cats. Which is true?
Lots of adult cats are lactose intolerant. They can digest milk as kittens but lose that ability as they age. You can know if your cat is lactose intolerant if he vomits and/or has diarrhea after he eats a dairy food.
Most cats—even cats that are lactose intolerant—enjoy dairy, even if it causes them stomach upset. And dairy is a source of protein, although it’s not as beneficial a source as meat, fish, and eggs. If you struggle to give your cat medicine, it can be very effective to grind up the pill and put it in cheese or butter. This should only be done in very small amounts of dairy.
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
Vegetables (and Fruit)
Cats are carnivores, but they do like greens and need them in their diets. The main benefit of greens is fiber; otherwise, they don’t provide many nutrients.
- Winter squash
- Green beans
- Baked carrots
- Fresh cucumber
- Steamed broccoli
- Steamed asparagus
- Water content
Remove the cores and seeds of the fruits and vegetables you serve your cat to prevent choking.
Vet Tip: If you notice your furry friend chomping on grass or trying to chew a houseplant, he might be lacking fiber, and you can take it as a sign that he may like his diet supplemented with greens.
Whole grains can be an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps keep your cat’s bowel movements regular. Make sure any grains you serve are cooked and maybe mashed, so your cat can digest them. Don’t add sugar or any other flavoring.
Avoid feeding your cat bread. It’s full of carbohydrates and calories without providing much nutritional value.
- Brown rice
- Soluble fiber
Feeding your cat new foods can be fun! It’s interesting to learn what they like and what they don’t. And it’s nice to know that these foods aren’t just delicious; they can benefit your cat too! If you have questions about nutrient deficiencies or you’re wondering if a food listed above is safe for cats, ask one of our vets or vet techs at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. We’re always here to help!
When you’re eating dinner or prepping a meal in the kitchen, your dog is probably a close companion. Sometimes food gets dropped, or you have extra of one ingredient. In both situations, you’ve probably wondered whether it’s safe for your pup to munch on a human food.
There are lots of people foods that are perfectly safe for dogs to eat—most in moderation. We’ve compiled a big list of things that shouldn’t make you worry if they fall off the counter. Or get snatched by a mischievous dog!
Vet Tip: It’s fun to share food with your dog, but if you don’t want to encourage begging, be mindful of how you deliver it. Putting it in his food bowl encourages him to look for food where it belongs instead of under your feet while you cook or eat.
A Key to Nutrients
Under each food in our list, you’ll see the nutrients it provides. Here’s a key to help you understand how each benefits your pup:
Antioxidants – Protects your dog’s body from damage caused by free radicals (molecules that can harm enzymes, DNA, and cell membranes). There is research to suggest antioxidants can improve age-related issues in older dogs. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins E and C.
Calcium – Supports teeth and bone health and helps blood clot
Fiber – Maintains a healthy gut microbiome and helps food move through the digestive tract
Lauric Acid – Helps fight bacteria and viruses; freshens breath; and clears up skin conditions like flea allergies, itchy skin, and hot spots
Magnesium – Helps contract and relax muscles and regenerate them. It’s also an important part of a properly functioning liver, heart, and digestive tract.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Keep the coat shiny and healthy and support the immune system
Phosphorus – Ensures healthy kidney function and helps with muscle contractions
Probiotics – Improve coat appearance and bad breath, reduce gas and allergies, and regulate bowel movements
Protein – Helps repair and build tissue and muscles and contributes to healthy hair and skin
Selenium – Helps the thyroid function properly
Vitamin A – Aids fetal development and the function of cells and the immune system
Vitamin B – Maintains the digestive system and promotes healthy blood circulation
Dairy is generally fine for a dog unless he’s lactose intolerant. How will you know? He will vomit and/or have diarrhea after he eats a dairy product. Even if he doesn’t exhibit these symptoms, only let your dog eat dairy in small quantities. Dogs have low levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the sugars in milk. To avoid too much fat in his diet, stick to low- or reduced-fat dairy.
- Cottage cheese
- Plain yogurt
- Probiotics (in yogurt with active bacteria)
Unseasoned, cooked meats are great for your dog! Trim off the fat and limit portions sizes to avoid too much of it in your dog’s diet. Fat is hard for dogs to digest and can cause pancreatitis and inflammation. Also beware of meat with high salt content, like bacon and processed ham, and remove all bones.
Several varieties of seafood are tasty and safe for dogs. Be sure the fish is fully cooked to avoid feeding your pup parasites.
You can deliver the benefits of food via salmon oil or cooked fish skins mixed in with his regular food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B (in shrimp)
Lots of fruits are safe human foods for dogs. They are full of vitamins A, B, and C, along with other nutrients. Fruit can be high in sugar, so make it a special treat for your dog, and be sure to remove the core and seeds to prevent choking.
- Watermelon – Chewing on the rind can cause an upset stomach, so toss that part in the trash.
- Pumpkin – Read our blog post on how to get pumpkin into your dog in fun, new ways here.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin C
- High water content
Vet Tip: Apple skins can help clean residue off your dog’s teeth, freshening his breath!
Some grains, like oatmeal, are excellent sources of soluble fiber, which can keep your dog regular. Others, like bread, are safe for your dog to eat but don’t provide nutritional value. Bread is also full of calories and carbohydrates, which are best kept to a minimum in your dog’s diet.
- Cooked oatmeal – Don’t add sugar or any other flavoring.
Some nuts are safe foods for dogs, but almost all are high in fat, so they should be given in moderation.
- Coconut – Dogs can eat the raw coconut fruit (outside the shell), coconut oil, and coconut milk.
- Lauric acid
Other Delicious Things
There are many other people foods that are both safe and delicious for dogs! Here are the benefits of a few of the most common:
Scrambled eggs are a quick, easy way to deliver nutrients to your pup, like:
- Vitamin B
Honey is okay for dogs to eat, but it can also be applied topically to help ease burns and superficial cuts!
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C (and D, E, and K!)
Peanut butter is really nutritious for dogs, and it’s fun too! Put it in a Kong, let your dog lick the spoon, or use it to deliver medicine. Aim for raw, unsalted peanut butter, and never give your dog the sugar-free version. It contains xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
- Heart-healthy fats
When you’re putting a bowl into the microwave for movie night, it can be tempting to slip your pup a piece. That’s okay if the popcorn is unsalted and doesn’t have added sugar or salt. Make sure there are no rogue un-popped kernels; they can be choking hazards.
Feeding your dog new foods can be fun! It’s interesting to learn what they like and what they don’t. And many of these make healthy meal replacements if you’ve run out of dog food. In almost all cases, your dog’s regular, commercial dog food gives him all the vitamins and minerals he needs, so supplementing with human food isn’t necessary. If you have questions about nutrient deficiencies or you’re wondering if a food above is okay for your dog, ask one of our vets or vet techs at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. We’re always here to help!
Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or you’re enjoying life with your very first dog, you may be wondering, “Is there anything I shouldn’t feed my pup?” This is urgent if he just grabbed something off your dinner plate! Learn what dogs absolutely should not be allowed to eat.
Alcohol, in its various forms, can be quite dangerous to a dog. Giving your dog even a sip of your liquor, wine, or beer is a big no, as the ethanol in the drink can lead to serious health complications. But alcohol isn’t just limited to your drink at dinner. It can be found in many other products, including:
- Rum-soaked cakes
- Yeast bread dough (raw bread)
Since dogs are smaller than humans and not used to consuming alcohol, they can become intoxicated much quicker than a human would.
Symptoms of alcohol ingestion include:
- Muscle tremors
- Difficulty breathing
Left unchecked, alcohol intoxication in dogs can lead to organ failure or death. With prompt and appropriate care from a vet, a dog that has ingested alcohol can recover. Make sure to tell the veterinarian how much your dog drank and the strength of the drink she had.
Probably the most well-known people food that dogs shouldn’t eat, chocolate is dangerous because it contains theobromine, a methylxanthine. A substance found in cacao seeds, theobromine is easy for humans to digest, but this isn’t the case for dogs. They process the component much more slowly than we do, which allows it to build up to toxic levels.
Symptoms of chocolate ingestion include:
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Unusual heart rhythm
- Abdominal discomfort
The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, but in large amounts, chocolate can lead to heart attacks or seizures in dogs.
Another methylxanthine—like chocolate—caffeine is bad for your dog’s health. Under no conditions should she have access to coffee, tea, sodas, or other caffeine beverages or items. If your dog drinks caffeine, she may show similar symptoms to those of chocolate.
Although you may want to share a treat with your dog from time to time, candy is not the way to do it. (May we suggest a pumpkin dog treat instead?) Many candy, gum, and baked goods contain xylitol. This substance is a sweetener often used in sugar-free candies, but it can also make an appearance in products like toothpaste, mouthwash, and vitamins.
Xylitol is harmful to dogs because it causes an insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia and liver failure. Always avoid feeding your dog sweets or snacks that contain xylitol.
- Lethargy or weakness
If you believe your dog has eaten a product or snack that contains xylitol, it’s important to bring her to a veterinarian immediately. A 10 pound dog only needs to eat one sugar-free piece of gum for a toxic dose of xylitol. Life-threatening low blood sugar levels can occur in less than 15 minutes.
5. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins may not jump immediately into your mind toxic to dogs, but some pets can develop kidney disease from eating them. It’s unclear why grapes and raisins are dangerous to dogs and why some dogs are unaffected by the food while others have serious side effects. But it’s never worth the risk to find out if your pet is one of those that won’t be affected by eating grapes!
Symptoms of grape or raisin ingestion in dogs includes:
- Lack of appetite
- Increased urination and, later, decreased urination
If your dog has eaten one of these two foods, she will need to see a veterinarian. If left untreated, the symptoms can lead to long-term kidney disease or kidney failure.
Just like with humans, mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. The number of toxic mushrooms found in the wild are small, but it can be difficult to identify which are safe and which aren’t.
Symptoms in dogs vary depending on the type of mushroom eaten, but they could include:
- Liver failure
- Kidney Failure
A dog that has eaten toxic mushrooms may experience symptoms within the first 30 minutes; other signs will not appear for 24 hours. If you dog ate a wild mushroom, always err on the side of caution and bring her to a vet right away, along with any remains of the mushroom for identification.
7. Onions and Garlic
Although a meal almost always benefits from some onions and garlic, a dog’s health doesn’t. All types of garlic and onions, including shallots and scallions, are toxic to pets. The compounds found in the food can do damage to red blood cells and cause other issues, including gastroenteritis and anemia.
Signs your dog ate something from the onion family aren’t always obvious and may not appear for a few days. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Fast heart rate
- Fast breathing
- Pale gums
Garlic is particularly dangerous to pets; it is five times as potent as onions. Also note that some breeds may be more susceptible to onion poisoning than others.
Other Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat
There are quite a few other foods and snacks that are harmful to dogs:
- Macadamia nuts
- Star fruit
- Moldy food
If you believe your dog has eaten one of these products or another food that may be dangerous to her, take her to a veterinarian right away. Note what she ate, how much, and when. This will help your vet craft a plan of action for your pet’s health.
Prevention is the best approach! Ensure the foods that dogs should never eat are kept out of your pet’s reach, garbage bags are closed up securely, and you always clean up after cooking.
Do you believe your dog ate a toxic substance? Don’t wait! Bring her to a veterinarian right away. Ask a question about poisonous food or let us know you’re coming by giving us a call at 281-693-7387.
Halloween is just around the corner; don’t leave your pup out of the fun! He can absolutely be a part of this spooky holiday and even take part in trick-or-treating. Below are seven great examples of Halloween treats for dogs that you can find online or make at home!
Human Candy Is Not for the Dogs
As much as we like to share everything with our dogs, human candy should never be given to them. Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. That’s because of two ingredients—theobromine and caffeine—that are toxic.
But there are other foods, snacks, and ingredients that can be found in your trick-or-treat bag that you should keep away from your pup, including:
- Xylitol (also commonly found in gum and baked goods)
It’s always a good idea to stow your candy and snacks out of reach of your pets and to keep a sharp eye on furry friends during the holidays. If you suspect your dog ate a food or snack that is toxic to them—or you watched them do it—bring him to your veterinarian right away.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #1: Pumpkin FroYo Bites
You only need a few ingredients, plus an ice cube tray, to make Pumpkin FroYo Bites!
- 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
- ½ cup canned pure pumpkin (Canned pumpkin is better for dogs than fresh!)
- ¼ cup water
Mix the ingredients together, and spoon the mixture into the ice cube tray. Once the bites are frozen, they make a wonderful October treat for your dog.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #2: Halloween Brownies
Healthy Hound Bakery has plenty of delicious treats for your dog, including Halloween Brownies. No chocolate is harmed in the making of these brownies! Instead, they’re concocted with pumpkin and carob.
This online bakery also has plenty of other Halloween-themed dog treats, including
Head to their website to see their full selection.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #3: Skeleton Bones Dog Treats
- 2½ cups non-bleached flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1½ cup water
- 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt.
Simply mix, and freeze!
These treats will take you about one-and-a-half hours, plus time for freezing.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #4: Pumpkin Cubes
Pumpkin cubes are 100% pumpkin, so your pup gets all the health benefits of this awesome gourd. And they’re super easy to make. All you need is
- Canned pumpkin
- An ice cube tray
Simply put the pumpkin into the tray, and freeze!
You and your dog will enjoy pumpkin’s benefits to his digestive system, fur, and skin.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #5: Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Pooch Treats
With the health benefits of pumpkin and the deliciousness of peanut butter, your dog will love this combination.
- 2½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
You should also have cookie cutters (Halloween-themed would look great!), a bowl, and a baking sheet.
To make Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Pooch Treats, follow this super easy recipe.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #6: Sweet Potato Dog Treats
Pumpkin isn’t the only fall food that can be a treat for dogs. Sweet potato is also wonderful to create Halloween-themed treats with. All need are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooking spray
- A microwave
Learn how to make Sweet Potato Dog Treats by following this recipe.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #7: Sweet Potato Pretzel Dog Treats
Following the sweet potato theme, Sweet Potato Pretzel Dog Treats are another autumn-themed snack perfect for Halloween.
You should have:
- 200g fresh sweet potatoes
- 1¾ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 1 beaten egg
You will also need to have a baking tray and baking paper. To see exactly how to make these pretzels, check out the recipe here. The pretzel shape makes this recipe especially fun for kids!
Halloween is about sharing. Why not include your furry friend too? Remember to feed him dog-friendly snacks and not human food. These wonderful Halloween dog treats will keep your dog happy and healthy while still sharing in the holiday spirit!
If you suspect your dog got into the Halloween candy or ate something else harmful to him, contact your veterinarian right away. To speak with one of our staff about the signs and symptoms of chocolate consumption or other toxic items, please give us a call at 281-693-7387.
It’s pumpkin season! You’ve seen it flooding your social media feeds, all over commercials, and advertised in stores. Believe it or not, pumpkins can be used for much more than pumpkin spice lattes and Jack-o-lanterns. They’re delicious and healthy for your dog as well! There are plenty of ways to use the gourd during the fall season—or year-round.
1. Pumpkin for Digestive Health
Pumpkin can do great things for your dog’s digestive system, especially if she’s suffering from diarrhea or constipation. It helps with both! Fiber rich, pumpkin contains vitamins A, E, and C and also includes potassium and iron. Do be careful how much pumpkin you give your dog; too much vitamin A can be dangerous. A couple teaspoons a day is best.
Dog diarrhea could be a sign of a more serious issue, especially if constant or bloody. Constipation could also point to problems, such as a foreign obstruction. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is dealing with either type of bowel movements. If your pup is cleared by a doctor or the problem is because of a change in diet, a few teaspoons of canned pumpkin can be truly beneficial.
2. Pumpkin for Urinary Health
Pumpkin is a wonder for your dog’s urinary health. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, can get rid of kidney stones, and the oil from the seed and gourd can assist with incontinence.
3. Pumpkin to Deworm Your Dog
No dog (or owner) wants to deal with worms, but if you do, stock your pantry with pumpkin. The gourd’s seeds provide relief! They’re often used as a natural remedy for tapeworms and roundworms. The omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects.
4. Pumpkin for a Glossy Coat
Those same fatty acids can do wonders for your pup’s coat, nourishing it and leaving it shinier than before pumpkin season!
5. Pumpkin for Weight Loss
If your dog is on the heavy side, and you need to reduce the amount of food she eats each day, replace the missing food with pumpkin to ensure she finishes with a full—healthy—stomach.
Instead of using fatty treats, try pumpkin substitutes. The gourd is 90% water, which provides an excellent extra source of hydration.
How to Give Pumpkin to Your Dog
Choose Canned Over Fresh
While both canned and fresh pumpkin can be beneficial to your dog, plain canned pumpkin has more vitamins, fiber content, and nutrients. This is due to the high water content in fresh pumpkin. It’s also easier to get canned pumpkin, as it’s sold year-round in stores!
Crush Up the Pumpkin Seeds
If you want to give your dog pumpkin seeds, you can simply crush and grind them into your dog’s food. They can eat whole seeds, but these should be fed one at a time and kept to a minimum.
Seeds can go bad quickly, so you have two options:
- Use them fast, or
- Roast them.
Roasting them allows them to last about 30 days. Throw bad seeds away, as they can be toxic.
Never Give Your Dog Pumpkin Pie
Delicious as it is for humans, never give your dog pumpkin pie. Some pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol, a toxic ingredient for dogs. Always stick to canned or fresh varieties, or seeds.
Don’t Add Any “Flavoring”
While you may like to add things to your pumpkin dishes, keep it as simple as possible for your pup. Do not add salt to the seeds or pumpkin, but also avoid spices, flavors, and preservatives.
Getting Creative with Pumpkin for Dogs
While 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin (or tablespoons for big guys) is best for dogs, you may want to mix it up a little, so pumpkin season is fun for them too!
Mix cooked pumpkin, banana, plain unsweetened yogurt, and peanut butter together. Put this concoction into one of your dog’s stuffable toys for her to lick out!
Using the same ingredients as the pumpkin filler above, freeze the mix. This is a delicious cold treat on a hot summer day and keeps your dog occupied for longer.
A Dinner Topper
Mix pumpkin puree or mashed pumpkin with plain yogurt, chicken or beef broth, rice, and water. Pour it over your dog’s dinner to add a bit of flavor!
A Hollow Pumpkin
You don’t want to give your pup an entire pumpkin, but a hollow pumpkin can provide hours of fun. Add some treats or food, and it becomes a puzzle for your pup to enjoy with a reward at the end.
Who says pumpkin season is only for humans? Pumpkin is for the dogs! It can be an absolutely delicious and beneficial treat for your pet, encouraging better hydration, fur, skin, and weight. There are endless possibilities for this treat when it comes to your dog, and she’s sure to enjoy it year-round.
While adding pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can provide wonderful health benefits for your dog, if your pet is experiencing any medical problems, it’s important to take her to a veterinarian before giving her this treat. You should also ask your vet if it’s okay for your pup to have pumpkin if she suffers from diabetes.
If you have questions about the benefits of pumpkins for your dog, schedule an appointment with us! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.
Dogs get into a lot of things they’re not supposed to, and those often go right into their mouths before you know it. Sometimes those items pass right through your pup. Other times, a swallowed object can cause serious issues. Here’s what you need to know when your dog eats a foreign object and how to get her to pass it.
Foreign Objects Dogs Shouldn’t Eat
Dogs will try to eat just about anything, and most food is okay for them. (Check out our list of safe snacks here!) But there are others items they seem to go for more often and definitely shouldn’t consume. Here’s a list of the most common ones:
- Toilet paper
- Tennis balls
- Dog, cat, or children’s toys
- Chicken bones
- Food wrappers
If you have a dog, you now this list is by no means exhaustive! The amount of things a curious canine can get into can be endless, so take precautions to keep such items out of reach, and choose toys that are safe for your pup.
How to Tell If Your Dog Ate a Foreign Object
If you didn’t witness your dog eat a foreign object, two things can happen:
1. You notice it when she passes it on her own – Items that move through the digestive track on their own tend to be out in 10 to 24 hours, but some can take months to pass. Certain objects can make it to the colon but then have difficulty coming out.
2. OR, she starts to show signs of having eaten something she shouldn’t have.
There are plenty of signs that your dog ate something foreign and it’s causing an obstruction in her stomach or intestines. Vomiting is extremely common, but so is:
- Abdominal pain
- Not eating
- Behavioral changes
Your dog might guard her stomach due to tenderness or pain.
If your dog is passing the item and you can see it sticking out of her anus, do not pull on the item. It could cause damage to her intestines or colon.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Foreign Object
If you saw your dog eat something she wasn’t supposed to or you suspect she did, don’t hesitate: Take her to the veterinarian right away. The sooner you get there, the better chance your vet can remove the item before it causes more issues or before surgery becomes necessary. If it is after your veterinarian’s regular hours, call an emergency veterinarian. Describe the situation, and ask for advice. They may ask you to come in.
When you arrive, your vet will take X-rays and blood work to see exactly where the item is and if your dog’s health has been negatively affected by the foreign body.
The next step depends on where the item is in your dog’s digestive system. In some cases where the foreign body is still in the stomach, the vet may induce vomiting or remove it through an endoscopy. Never try these at home; leave them to a professional who can care for your pet before, during, and after the procedure.
If the item has passed the stomach and is in the intestines, your dog may require surgery.
If the foreign object reaches the colon but still hasn’t passed, your veterinarian may suggest fluid therapy, laxatives, or an enema.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Foreign Objects
It can be tough to keep your dog out of everything or to keep your eye on her at all times, but there are simple steps you can take to prevent an emergency. Prevention is the best way to help your dog stay safe!
Monitor Her Toys
Be careful about what you present to your pup as a toy. Don’t give her things she can swallow easily, and keep her play style in mind. For instance, if your pup likes stuffed animals but tends to rip out and eat the stuffing or eyes, it may be time to stop buying those types of toys. Find safe objects that she won’t destroy or eat, and monitor her as she plays.
Check reviews before you purchase a new item.
Dog-Proof Your House
Dog-proofing is similar to baby-proofing and just means finding ways to keep your dog out of things she shouldn’t be in. It could include locking access to cabinets, keeping the garbage in a closet or other location, placing smaller items out of reach of her mouth, and never leaving objects on the floor. Put away shoes, socks, children’s toys, and tempting items.
If you saw your dog swallow something she shouldn’t have, you suspect she did, or she’s experiencing the symptoms of an obstruction, don’t wait to see if she will pass the foreign body on her own. Take her to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible to avoid complications.
You can reach Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas. We provide emergency care whenever our clinic is open. If we are closed when you call, we’ll refer you to a quality veterinary emergency center that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about our hospital services here.
“Don’t eat that!” How many times a day is that question directed at your cat?
There’s no doubt cats love string and yarn (and anything that looks remotely like string or yarn). As fun as it can be for them to play with, string and material like it can be quite dangerous to their health. Here’s what you need to know if your cat swallows it!
How to Tell If Your Cat Ate String
If you didn’t witness your cat chomping on string during playtime, you might not know right away that she swallowed something she wasn’t supposed to. In some cases, you may never know it occurred because your cat can pass it on her own.
When it doesn’t pass on its own, there can be serious consequences, but you will see signs of an obstruction (bunching up in the intestines). Look out for:
- Problems going to the bathroom
- Not eating
- Not wanting you to touch her stomach
What If You See the String?
You may be able to see the string in your cat’s mouth or later, coming out of your cat’s anus when she attempts to pass it. Never try to take the string out of your cat’s mouth. It could cause serious damage to her digestive tract, as you don’t know how long it is and whether it’s wrapped around something internally.
If you see string hanging out of your cat’s back end, don’t pull on it. The best solution is to carefully trim it and contact your veterinarian. Even trying to gently pull it out could cause damage to your cat’s intestines.
Your Cat Ate String: What to Do Now
If you notice any of the symptoms above, whether you know your cat ate string or just suspect it, go to the vet. Their care will ensure the string doesn’t cause more serious issues.
What Can the Vet Do?
If the string is wrapped around your cat’s tongue, it can be removed by your veterinarian.
If the string was swallowed completely, your veterinarian may order X-rays, blood tests, extra fluids, medication, or an endoscopy. They may also induce your cat to vomit, but this only works if the string has not passed further into your kitty’s digestive tract.
In more serious cases, your cat may require surgery.
You should never attempt any of these solutions at home.
Cats, just like dogs, can sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. Just like string, these are items you’ll want to keep out of their reach:
- Rubber bands
- Dangling toys (With supervision, these are generally fine!)
- Paper clips
- Dental floss
It’s important to use judgment when giving your cats new toys. If you’re not sure about a toy’s safety, check the reviews and ask your veterinarian. It’s a good idea to avoid toys:
- That have dangling strings or other items
- That have eyes that can be easily removed
- That are extremely small and can be easily swallowed
Sometimes food and plants looks like fun to a cat! Here are some things that definitely aren’t cat food:
- Insect bait
- Chicken bones
This is a short list of the things that can have negative consequences for your cat. If you suspect she ate a poisonous or dangerous item, contact your vet immediately. You can also call Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.
Safe Toys for Your Cat
While there are items that are not safe for your cat, there are plenty of great playthings! And they don’t always have to be labeled as “cat toys!” Here are some great toys, homemade or store bought, your kitty can enjoy.
- Shower curtain rings
- Colorful springs
- Wands (with supervision)
- Laser toys
- Cardboard boxes
- Paper bags (without handles)
- Ping pong balls
- Cat tree
- Food maze
String—and material like it—is never a good idea for cats, dogs, or any other pet, but if your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to—or you suspect she did—it’s time to visit your veterinarian. The sooner the item is discovered, the easier it may be to get out.
If your cat swallows string or eats another foreign object, please give us a call at 281-693-7397, or bring your pet to our hospital located at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, especially if your cat is already displaying symptoms. If it’s an emergency, we can assist over the phone and at the office, even if you don’t have an appointment.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Whether you’re cooking your own food or eating somewhere else, Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and be thankful for what they have.
For the family dog, Thanksgiving is a time to salivate. Fido will be running around the dinner table, begging for the delicious food that the humans get to enjoy. Should you give into his temptation and feed him, or should you just serve up his regular dog food?
Just as Thanksgiving is a time for you to gorge, it’s also a good opportunity to treat your dog. Thankfully, plenty of Thanksgiving favorites are safe for your pup!
Dogs and People Food
Sneaking the dog table scraps is an image that seems to have been around since the inception of Thanksgiving itself. With that said, Thanksgiving food is typically high in fat; thus, feeding your dog table scraps should be done in moderation. High-fat foods can hurt your pup’s pancreas if it eats too much, so feeding your pup Thanksgiving food shouldn’t become a habit.
You may find yourself unable to resist Fido’s puppy-dog eyes as he begs for food while you’re at the table. Don’t give in! The dog will associate your table with its feeding station. Instead, put all scraps in its normal food bowl.
What Foods Are Safe?
We’ve heard of some foods that you shouldn’t feed your dog, such as chocolate, grapes, and alcohol, so which ones can you treat your dog to?
- Turkey — The Thanksgiving favorite, turkey, is perfect for your dog! Dogs are carnivores, after all. Use white meat, and remove the fat, skin, and bones before you serve turkey to your dog. If you’re serving ham instead, don’t feed it to Fido. Ham can cause stomach pains for pups!
- Pumpkin — Pumpkin is delicious and nutritious for your dog! While you shouldn’t give your pup a slice of pumpkin pie, the extra canned pumpkin you had after making that pie is just fine. Pumpkin can aid in Fido’s digestion and even help him lose weight!
- Mashed potatoes — This second staple for most Thanksgiving dinners makes a lovely, filling snack. Just make sure that it doesn’t include butter or gravy.
- Cranberry sauce — This is another treat your dog can eat as long as you limit the sugar content.
- Green beans — These are a good snack for your pup. You can feed your serving to your dog if you’re not a veggie person!
- Dairy products — These are fine in small amounts, but make sure Fido isn’t lactose intolerant. If you’re unsure, just hold the cheese and give him the mac.
- Sweet potatoes — These are a good treat too! Just ensure your dog’s serving doesn’t include butter, marshmallows, or brown sugar.
As previously mentioned, these foods shouldn’t be dinner for your pup every day, but seeing as Thanksgiving is a day to be merry and eat your heart out, feel free to reward your dog for good behavior. After all, we’re all grateful for a puppy’s kisses and cuddles!