Friday, May 26, 2017

Cookouts can be deadly for dogs and expensive for pet owners

Now that we are at the shotgun start of the summer vacationing season and the Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial kick-off to outdoor cooking, it is a good time to reexamine the risk of such fine culinary dining by our pets.

However – just as humans can’t take a drink from a lake or want to dip a glass into a toilet bowl - there are foods that are highly toxic to dogs but which we humans relish with no more risk than maybe an eventual need for an anti-acid.

Enter pancreatitis in canines; a condition caused by overeating or swallowing a foreign object.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance - a pet insurance provider for dogs and cats – says that last year it saw more than 1,300 claims related to pancreatitis last year. That is in addition to more than 5,600 claims the insurer says it received for so-named “foreign body obstruction.

This title stems from a pet eating something it’s not supposed to eat, such as socks, rocks or other. In fact, in one case a basset hound needed surgery after sneaking a corn cob from the family dinner. The required surgery generated a staggering $5,870 vet bill.

To help keep your furry family members happy and healthy this holiday weekend, Healthy Paws has compiled a list of BBQ dos and don’ts:

So what is okay for your dog to eat and which can help avoid an expensive holiday trip to an emergency veterinarian clinic? Healthy Paws says:

•  Burgers: Hamburger meat makes a great high-value treat if it’s plain. But burgers that are too greasy or cooked with garlic, onions, spices and seasonings are a no-go: your dog can get sick with vomiting or diarrhea.

•  Hot Dogs: If the hot dog’s ingredients are strictly high-quality meats, you’re safe. Toss the buns as Healthy Paws says “they are empty calories.”

•   Seafood: Seafood like salmon is usually safe for dogs if it’s cleared of miniscule bones and isn’t cooked in garlic or onions. If it comes in a shell, remove it (clams, oysters, lobsters, etc.).

Just as importantly, here is Healthy Paws’ list of forbidden foods:

•  Pasta salad, potato salad, potato chips. While potatoes are common ingredients in dog food, potato and pasta salads are often made with no-no’s like garlic and onions, and potato chips are coated in salt, which isn’t good for dogs.

•  Beer: Dogs just can’t process it.

• Desserts and ice cream: Canines can be lactose-intolerant, and ice cream is full of sugar. While naturally occurring sugars aren’t bad, the added sugars in pies and cakes can lead to health problems. Same with sugar-free desserts – most artificial sweeteners may cause diarrhea, and sugar substitute are actually poisonous to pups.

For further information about pet wellness, check out Healthy Paws’ Cost of Care report<>.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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