1. Feeding your pet the optiomal diet - The Natural Alternative
2. Safe guard your pets against the Environment
3. Food Dangerous to your Pets
Knowing what to feed their pets is not enough, it is also important for pet owners to know how to feed their pets. Before we take a look at the optimal diet for a pet, let's review 12 important feeding principles of which every pet lover should be aware:
|Feeding your pet the optimal diet - The Natural Alternative|
Although a natural diet may be the best for your pet's health, you should consult a holistic veterinarian before making any major dietary changes. Your vet will be able to tell you what is best for your individual pets. They will also be able to tell you what foods should be avoided.
For instance, chocolate is known to be poisonous to most animals. Apple seeds, onion powder, and bread dough are other foods to avoid giving your pet.
The purpose of nutrition should be to support an animal with nutrients in order for him or her to have the best of life. Consider all of your options for your pet. While natural health therapies for illness and disease are not new, many more pet owners are considering them for the first time. Proper nutrition and diet may be your pet's best defense against many illnesses and diseases.
|Safe guard your pets against the Environment|
Our environment is not always the safest place for you, so why would it be any different for your pet? There are many dangerous elements that can harm the health of your pet. Here are some things to watch for and ways to safeguard your pet's environment
|Food Dangerous to your Pets|
Food is meant to be eaten. Unfortunately, not all of our “human food” is good for our four-legged companions. Dogs do not metabolize all foods the same way we do, meaning that some of our favorite foods (including chocolate!) are toxic to dogs. Following are some common foods that can be toxic to your dog.
Most pet owners know that chocolate is not good for dogs and cats. Chocolate contains two central nervous system stimulants; caffeine and theobromine. Dogs and cats are more sensitive than humans to the effects of these substances, which can cause excitation, agitation, and, in higher doses, high heart rates and abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. If your pet consumes more than ˝ ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight, you should seek veterinary advice for your pet. If your pet consumes dark, semi-sweet or unsweetened chocolate, seek veterinary care right away.
While white chocolate may not have the same potential as darker forms to cause a methylxanthine poisoning, the high fat content of lighter chocolates could still lead to vomiting and diarrhea, as well as the possible development of life-threatening pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the pancreas.
Treatment for chocolate toxicosis includes decontamination (inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal), intravenous fluid therapy, control of seizures and cardiac arrhythmias with medication, and other supportive care as needed.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins can cause acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs and cats. It is not known what substance in the grapes or raisins causes renal failure; currently researchers speculate that it is a toxin produced by mold present in some batches. Dogs seem to be particularly sensitive, but the toxic dose has not been determined yet. Therefore, veterinary toxicologists recommend that you not feed your pet any grapes or raisins.
Treatment for grape or raisin ingestion includes decontamination and intravenous fluids for 48 hours or more.
Dogs and cats are susceptible to alcohol poisoning. Just like binging college students, pets can ingest enough alcohol to cause severe symptoms and death. Do not allow your pet to drink any alcoholic beverages. If your pet accidentally consumes alcohol, it may cause vomiting, ataxia (wobbly gait), depression, coma and, in some cases, death.
Treatment includes intravenous fluids and supportive care.
Rising bread dough may seem innocent enough, but if a dog ingests it, it can continue to rise in the warm moist stomach. The effects are two-fold:
- The rising dough can cause distension severe enough to cause extreme discomfort, compression of major blood vessels and shock.
- The rising dough can release enough ethanol (alcohol) to cause alcohol toxicosis.
Treatment includes inducing vomiting, intravenous fluids, gastric lavage (rinsing the stomach with cool water while the animal is under general anesthesia), and supportive care. If the mass of dough is large enough, surgical removal may be necessary.
Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. The substance that causes the symptoms is not known, and as far as we know, dogs are the only animal affected. The toxic dose is unknown, but the lowest dose reported to have caused symptoms is about 11 grams (less than ˝ ounce) in a 10 pound dog. Symptoms include vomiting, depression, ataxia, and even an inability to walk at all. The symptoms usually resolve with supportive care.
Onions, Garlic and Chives
Onions and garlic and other members of the plant species Allum contain a substance which causes hemolysis(destruction of red blood cells) and potentially life-threatening anemia. Raw or cooked onions, onion powder, shallots, garlic or garlic powder can cause toxicity. Cats fed commercial baby food containing onion powder have become ill. The toxic dose of onions is anything greater than 0.5% of the pet’s body weight (e.g. less than 1 ounce in a 10 pound dog).
Treatment includes decontamination (if the ingestion was recent) and intravenous fluids. Other supportive measures such as blood transfusions may be required if the anemia becomes severe.
Moldy food can contain substances called tremorgenic mycotoxins. These substances are neurotoxins that can cause ataxia, muscle tremors and convulsions that can last for several days.
Treatment includes decontamination (inducing vomiting, activated charcoal) and supportive care that can be quite intensive depending on how severe the convulsions are.
Xylitol Artificial Sweetener
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in some sugar-free chewing gums and candies. It can cause a significantly low blood sugar in dogs in as little as thirty minutes after ingestion. The symptoms of this in the dog are weakness and even seizures. There have been reports of liver failure in dogs as well. Treatment is aimed at minimizing absorption by inducing vomiting as soon as possible after ingestion. Once symptoms appear, treatment is supportive and can be intensive, particularly if liver failure occurs.
Caffeine toxicity is seen mostly when dogs accidentally ingest over-the-counter stimulant medications, or ingest coffee grounds from the garbage. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause high heart rates and abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death.
Similar to chocolate toxicosis, treatment is aimed at early decontamination if possible, control of heart rate and rhythm, and control of seizures and hyperactivity, as well as general supportive care.
Salt toxicity most commonly occurs when dogs ingest homemade play-dough and paintballs. These substances contain enough salt to cause a potentially fatal sodium level in the blood. Salt toxicity can also be caused by giving salt to a pet to induce vomiting; salt is not recommended to induce vomiting in your pet for any reason. The increased sodium content in the blood causes the brain cells to swell (cerebral edema). Symptoms of salt intoxication are a rapid onset of a wobbly gait, falling over, disorientation, coma, seizures and death. Rapid and aggressive treatment is required once symptoms develop.
Certain parts of Fruits
Certain parts of fruits (oranges, grapefruits, peaches, cherries, apples etc) can be potentially irritating - or even occasionally toxic in some situations- to our companion animals.
The peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants such as lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits contain varying amounts of citric acid, limonin and volatile oils that can cause gastrointestinal irritation such as vomiting or diarrhea if ingested. In some cases, exposures to high concentrations of these substances (such as those found in certain citrus-based cleaners) could possibly result in central nervous system depression as well.
The stems, leaves and seeds of apples, cherries, peaches, apricots and certain other fruit trees contain cyanogenic glycosides that have the potential to cause vomiting and loss of appetite, and in severe cases weakness, incoordination, difficulty in breathing, hyperventilation, shock, coma and even death could occur.
Typically, these severe effects develop from very large ingestions of plant material that are more likely to occur with grazing animals such as horses or other livestock. The consumption of a few segments of citrus fruit, an apple or two or a few cherries would usually not be expected to cause serious problems beyond perhaps minor stomach upset. However, it is important for animal owners to be aware of the potential for problems that these fruit trees can produce.