Sharing a meal with our loved ones is more than a simple act of eating, it’s how we connect! It’s no surprise that when we prepare and share food with our furry pals, we associate this with feelings of love, nurturing, and bonding.

As a vet I’ve seen the consequences of love-through-food go wrong, often leading to pet emergencies. Obesity, tummy trouble, and other not-so-great surprises can happen when well-meaning pet parents feed pets the wrong thing.

So, here are the five foods I’d keep away from your pup:

1. Cheese

It’s natural right? Dogs love it too, so why would I never feed my dog cheese? Firstly, it’s high in fat, so unless you’re keeping track of how many calories your pup is eating in a day, even a tiny bit of cheese could significantly increase their calorie intake.

Not only that, but fatty foods have the potential to trigger tummy upsets, or even worse pancreatitis, which can be life threatening.

Did I mention lactose? Most of our four-legged friends are also lactose intolerant, so ditch the dairy and try offering your pup a small piece of banana instead.

2. Processed treats

Have you heard of Faconi syndrome? This is a kidney disease that dogs can develop, and recent research discovered that excessive consumption of jerky and sweet potato treats manufactured overseas may have contributed to a rise in a number of dogs experiencing this syndrome.

The best treats for your pup are the natural kind, like fresh peas or green beans. You could even try dehydrating your own yummy sweet potato treats! Sticking to natural alternatives will help avoid any nasties ending up in your pup’s diet.

3. Pet mince

Raw mince meat especially pet mince is a food group I would never feed my dog. Why? Raw meats can be contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, E. Coli and more. Some of these bacteria may even be antibiotic resistant. Not only are these bacteria harmful to our pets, but they could make us sick as well!

While there are some rules in Australia regarding pet mince, it’s basically the reject meat that’s not safe for humans which often has nasty preservatives added to it.

If you want to add some excitement to your pup’s diet, vegetables and lentils can be a fantastic addition. But if you are going to add meat to the menu, be sure to use human grade meat and cook it well. Just remember to keep an eye on your dog’s daily food intake and adjust as needed, so you’re not overfeeding your best mate!

4. “Sugar-free” snacks

Artificial sweeteners, in particular Xylitol, are a big no no for our four-legged pals. These can be extremely toxic and even fatal for both cats and dogs.

Look out for foods marked “sugar free”. Some of the common ones containing Xylitol include:

  • Baked goods
  • Yoghurt/ice-cream
  • Protein supplements
  • Mints, gum, candy
  • Soft drinks
  • Toothpaste and mouth washes
  • Some medications

If your doggo has a sweet tooth, try offering them carobs or a small piece of apple or watermelon instead.

5. Bones

Feeding your dog bones comes with various risks; bones could break their teeth, injure their mouth and oesophagus, or puncture the lining of their stomach and intestines. Bones can also cause obstructions, constipation, and trigger choking incidents.

If that wasn’t enough, the fat content can result in pancreatitis or gastritis, and the bacteria on raw bones can make dogs (and humans!) sick.

Data from PetSure, the power behind GapOnly, shows that in 2022, the average claim amount for problems caused by ingesting bones was $1,177*. So skip the bones and grab a bag of big, crunchy carrots for your dog to munch on. When it comes to dental care – the best thing you can do for your pooch is brush those pearly whites!

We all have a story about a dog who has eaten an outrageous amount of something they shouldn’t have and lived to tell the tale. But why risk it? With lots of healthy alternatives available to feed our beloved pets, play it safe and stick to foods that are least likely to cause your pup a tummy ache and you a trip to the vet!



Outcome of Acquired Fanconi Syndrome Associated with Ingestion of Jerky Treats in 30 Dogs

Outcome of Acquired Fanconi Syndrome Associated with Ingestion of Jerky Treats in 30 Dogs

Pet food standards

US agencies warn about safety of raw pet food

Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs

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