While your lovable and loyal pup may beg you for a bit of your food, it's not always safe for you to give into its cravings. Some foods can cause your canine companion to become ill or even die. A way to combat food issues for dogs and puppies is to educate yourself about good and bad foods for them.
Chocolate in any shape or form should be off-limits for puppies and dogs. While your canine may show an interest in noshing on your stash of chocolate chip cookies, it wouldn't be healthy for it. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine --- both of which are harmful to your furry friend. Darker, less sweet varieties of chocolate --- such as dark chocolate and baker's chocolate --- prove more dangerous than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate can result in diarrhea, but darker versions can cause unpleasant and even deadly effects to the animal's central nervous systems such as tremors, vomiting, hyperexcitability and even cardiac arrest. A toxic amount of dark chocolate for a 10-pound dog is 1 ounce, according to the book "Puppy's First Steps: The Whole-Dog Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Puppy."
Bad: Raisins and Grapes
Vomiting, diarrhea, sluggishness and renal failure can all result from your puppy or dog ingesting a bunch of grapes or any number of raisins. Whether the grapes are table grapes that you eat in your home or grapes on a vine that are used for making wine, dogs should not eat them, according to the ASPCA. If you have children, make sure they understand not to share their raisins or grapes with the dog.
Bad: Alcohol and Caffeine
Don't allow your dog or pup to try a sample of your beer or other alcoholic drinks. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause vomiting and damage to its liver and brain. Caffeine in coffee, tea and sodas can cause your pet to experience things such as restlessness and heart palpitations because the stimulant will affect its cardiac and central nervous systems. If a dog or puppy consumes too much caffeine, it could die.
Good: Lean Meats
Much like people, dogs and puppies can benefit from a diet that includes lean meat such as chicken without the skin, venison, lean beef and turkey breast. It's always best to cook the meat properly before serving it to your dog. While you may be tempted to feed your dog fattier cuts of meat or chicken skin, avoid it. The fat can cause an upset stomach and gas. Avoid giving any bones to your pet because they could splinter and cause internal problems.
Good: Some Fruits and Veggies
Carrots, corn, green beans, cucumber and zucchini squash are good veggies to let your dog or puppy enjoy. Apple and orange slices as well as cantaloupe, watermelon and banana are appropriate to feed your canine. Remove all seeds before serving to your dog. Seeds can cause gastrointestinal issues or can prove toxic. The ASPCA recommends that you monitor your dog for signs of gastrointestinal upset. A rumbling sound in its tummy or noticeable gas can indicate that the veggie you gave it didn't agree.
Good: Plain Bread, Pasta and Rice
Breads and cooked pastas and white rice are fine to feed your puppy or dog. If you serve your pet bread, make sure it doesn't contain any nuts or raisins, which can prove harmful. Avoid giving your pet pastas with sauces; it should be plain.
This list is in no way exhaustive. There are many more foods that can be harmful or good for dogs or puppies. It's best to take the time to educate yourself on the effects of various foods for your canine so that it can enjoy a long and healthy existence. (See Resources)