Dog Poisoning

Dog poisoning is fairly common, but did you know that lots of everyday foods can seriously harm your pet? Find everything you need to understand which foods are toxic to dogs and help to keep your Spaniel out of harms way.

Human Foods Toxic To Dogs

We love our Spaniels, and would never knowingly harm them. However, there are many every-day foods that are tasty and nutritious for us humans, but which are toxic food for dogs...and we unwittingly feed them to our pets!

Some human foods can make your Cocker very ill and some could even be fatal if eaten in large doses. To make sure you keep your Spaniel safe, read on to learn what effects the following everyday foods could have on your pet.

Chocolate Can Be Lethal!

Dogs like sweet things and, once your pet has tasted chocolate, it's very likely that he'll want more.

Chocolate in any form is very dangerous for dogs. Keep it away from your Cocker Spaniel!Beware, chocolate can cause dog poisoning!

Unfortunately, chocolate can definitely cause dog poisoning.

Chocolate can be fatal for your Spaniel as it contains theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean.

Chocolate used for baking and dark chocolate are much more toxic than milk chocolate because they contain more cocoa solids, and consequently, more theobromine.

Theobromine is poisonous to dogs; it increases urination and can affect the central nervous system, as well as the heart muscle.

Chocolate can cause serious dog poisoning, but it's even more dangerous to a young puppy (because the pup is only little).

If you wish to feed chocolate to your pet, you can buy chocolate drops specially formulated for dogs and puppies.

If your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate, you will see within a few hours symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, panting and hyperactivity. Your dog may also pee more.

As the theobromine is further absorbed into the bloodstream, your pet's heart rate may increase, causing arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle and twitching.

High levels of theobromine can also lead to hypothermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and even death.

Fatty Foods Can Cause Pancreatitis

Most dogs, including our Cockers, love fatty foods and will root through the rubbish bins in the hope of finding a tasty morsel or they'll 'steal'  leftovers from our dinner plates the minute our back is turned!

Sound familiar?

Deep fried chicken, ham and cheese sandwich can cause dog poisoning.Fatty foods are bad for us, don't give it to your dog!

Too much fat in your Spaniel's diet will not only make him fat, but it can cause pancreatitis, which can be a life-threatening condition.

A normal pancreas produces enzymes to help digest fat, but in a high-fat diet the pancreas produces too many enzymes, causing the pancreas to become swollen and inflamed.

Cocker Spaniels are especially prone to pancreatic problems. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. 

Pancreatitis (and obesity) can easily be avoided by removing excess fat from your dog's diet. Don't feed him fatty foods such as chicken skin, fatty meats, cakes and biscuits, or leftovers, and make sure those rubbish bins are securely fastened!

Overweight dogs are often unhealthy and unable to run and play in the park as much as other, more healthy dogs.

If your Cocker Spaniel is a little overweight and you'd like to help him lose a little fat, cut out the treats, reduce his food intake a little and increase his exercise by an hour or two each week (I recommend you do this gradually, especially if you have a senior dog). 

If you'd like more information on how to help an overweight dog, follow this link.

Too Much Salt Can Cause Dog Poisoning!

Excessive salt in your dog's diet can cause severe kidney problems and in serious cases, eventual death.

Salt is not good for dogs as it can cause kidney problemsYour Cocker Spaniel doesn't need salt

Salt can also cause seizures, loss of appetite and dehydration.

Regardless of your dog's salt intake, it's important that your puppy has access to water and that his bowl is topped up with fresh water each day, especially when it's warm.

Processed human foods are very often quite high in salt. You may not be able to taste it, but I promise you it's there. Feeding your pet processed foods is another case of dog poisoning just waiting to happen!

Isn't that a good enough reason not to feed processed food and table scraps to your Cocker Spaniel?

Bread Dough Is A Toxic Food For Dogs

If you regularly bake your own bread, you'll know that the dough needs a warm, moist environment to 'prove' and that it will expand to at least twice its original size in a short space of time.

Dough is another human 'food' that's not good for your dog

If your pooch manages to get hold of bread dough while it's proving, and he eats it, it will do the same in his stomach; it will expand, causing his stomach to 'bloat', giving him considerable pain and discomfort.

In addition, the yeast in the dough causes a fermentation process which produces alcohol and could cause alcohol poisoning.

So if you make your own bread on a regular basis, make sure you prove the dough out of sight and reach of curious, ever-hungry pets.

Tomatoes Can Harm Your Cocker Spaniel

Unripe tomatoes, tomato leaves, stalks and stems, (in fact all the green bits) are toxic food for dogs and should be kept safely locked in the greenhouse!

All the green parts of a tomato plant can be poisonous to dogs

Unripe tomatoes, tomato leaves, stalks and stems, (in fact all the green bits) are toxic food for dogs and should be kept safely locked in the greenhouse!

The tomato plant contains atropine, which can result in gastrointestinal problems such as drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if your Cocker manages to eat some.

More serious symptoms are tremors, seizures, and a decreased heart rate.

It's interesting to note that the potato and the rhubarb plant can have similar effects as the tomato plant; they're all a potential dog poison and all green parts should be avoided.

Certain Wild Mushrooms Can Cause Dog Poisoning

Not all wild mushrooms are poisonous and the more discerning of us can tell the difference between those you can safely eat and those that you can't.

Certain mushrooms can harm humans but the are also harmful if eaten by our dogs

Unfortunately, our Cockers aren't as discerning as us and probably won't know the difference.

If your dog eats a poisonous mushroom, symptoms can vary from mild vomiting and diarrhea to severe digestive problems, liver disease, and neurological disorders.

If mushrooms grow on your lawn, or in your garden, check that they're not poisonous, or better still remove them altogether and be extra vigilant when walking your pet in woods or in the countryside.

Raw Salmon Can Cause Dog Poisoning

Raw salmon can cause dog poisoning because salmon (and certain other fish) sometimes carry parasites called flukes.

When raw fish (contaminated with these parasites) is eaten, the flukes attach themselves to the dog's intestines and release bacteria into the bloodstream, causing the dog to become quite ill.

Symptoms of salmon dog poisoning are diarrhea, dehydration, and depression.

Fortunately, the cooking process kills any bacteria that may be present so, as long as the fish is cooked, you can safely feed it to your pet.

Max loves salmon. I usually cook it with Cajun spices, but I always keep a little unseasoned to one side as a treat for him.

Raisins And Grapes Are A Serious Dog Poison

Grapes and raisins can be lethal if eaten in large amounts as they can cause acute renal kidney failure, and even death.

Green grapes on the vine.

It doesn't matter which kind of grape, or color, the effect is still the same.

An average sized Cocker Spaniel would only need to eat a small bunch of around 15 grapes for the potential to prove lethal. As raisins are more concentrated, the dog would need to eat even less.

Symptoms of raisin or grape poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy.

Please keep the fruit bowl out of reach!

Onions And Garlic Can Be Toxic To Dogs

Onions and garlic can be poisonous for out pets if eaten in large quantities.

However, moderate amounts eaten on a regular basis can cause a build-up of the toxin thiosulphate which can harm our pets.

Onions, garlic and chillies in a terracotta bowl.

Symptoms of toxicity are vomiting and diarrhea and there may be blood present in the urine.

It is said that a small amount of garlic is good for your pet as it can act as a natural flea repellent and we've seen it listed as an ingredient in many dog biscuit recipes.

I'm happy to give Max some home-made healthy snacks containing small amounts of garlic, however, if you're at all concerned about feeding garlic to your dog, I recommend you speak to your vet and ask his or her opinion.

Tea And Coffee Can Also Be Harmful To Dogs

I can't envisage a situation where any responsible pet owner is going to do this, but it's best not to give your Spaniel tea or coffee as they both contain caffeine and a substance similar to that found in chocolate called xanthine.

Symptoms are similar to chocolate poisoning.

Don't Feed Your Cocker Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts should never be fed to your pet (yet another dog poison!) so if you have them in the house, make sure you dog can't get at them.

Macademia nuts are toxic to dogs but the effects don't last too long

If eaten by dogs, macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, hypothermia, depression and weakness.

This weakness usually affects the back legs, making them so weak that the dog is unable to walk properly.

Thankfully, the effects of this dog poison isn't permanent and recovery is usually between two and three days, however, it's not a very pleasant experience for your Cocker!

Eating Brewing Hops Can Cause Dog Poisoning

Used hops from home brewing kits can be fatal to canines.

Hops can cause panting, high temperature, increased heart rate, and seizures.

It's said that in some dog breeds it can cause malignant hypothermia, (a condition caused by an excess of drugs or alcohol) and potentially death.

If you're a home-brewing enthusiast, it makes sense to keep the kit away from animals, and used hops should always be disposed of very carefully to avoid accidents.

Sugar-Free Sweets Can Cause Dog Poisoning

Just like children, Cockers will develop a sweet tooth if given sugar, but take care because sugar free treats can make your pet very sick.

Colorful, sugar-free sweets.

According to the National Animal Poison Control Centre, it's thought that xylitol in sugar free sweets may be toxic to pets, causing liver damage and if eaten in excessive quantities, even death.

So be aware and help your Cocker stay safe!

If there are any children in the household, make sure they don't leave their sweets where inquisitive Cockers can easily get at them and discourage the children from feeding sweets and especially chocolate, to the family pet.

Dog Poisoning And Alcohol

Sometimes people and alcohol don't mix, but dogs and alcohol certainly don't mix!

Bottles of alcohol and spirits.

If your Cocker manages to drink strong alcohol, left out after a party, for example, or after knocking over a bottle, it can make him ill fairly quickly.

Symptoms may be confusing as they can resemble a number of other illnesses, but generally they will reflect those seen in a drunken human; staggering, lethargy, excitement, and/or vomiting.

They don't usually like the taste of alcohol, but if it's sweet or flavoured, with lemonade perhaps, they may enjoy it. If your Cocker manages to drink enough alcohol he could go into a coma, or suffer a heart attack.

Keep your favorite tipples locked away!

Rotting Food - Another Source of Dog Poisoning

We normally associate food poisoning with humans, but, believe it or not, it's also fairly common in dogs. Rotten food, or food past it's sell-by date, is not good for your pet, so don't feed it to him.

Our Cockers may rummage in dustbins and they love to forage when out in the woods or fields, especially if they're hungry.

Spoiled, moldy spaghetti.

Whilst foraging, they may come across decomposing animals and/or rotten food and could pick up harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and e-coli, and end up with a bad case of food poisoning.

If your dog ends up with food poisoning, you may see symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

As a general rule these symptoms may only last a couple of days unless he develops a bacterial infection.

Dog Poisoning Summary

Take care when feeding your pet human foods as there are many that are nutritious and very good for us, but can be harmful to our pets.

Avoid feeding your Cocker those foods mentioned above and you'll avoid an accidental case of dog poisoning.

Don't feed your Cocker anything you wouldn't eat yourself. If the food past its sell-by date and you wouldn't eat it yourself, then it's not good enough for your pet.

We all know it's tempting to give in to your dog's appealing eyes at dinner time but think twice, you could be killing him with kindness!

If you want to treat your Cocker Spaniel, you can reward him the occasional morsel of chopped liver (which my Cocker adores) or chicken, a doggie chocolate drop, or a training treat.

Keep your pet safe from dog poisoning.

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» » Dog Poisoning

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