Loving Your Pet to Death

September 12, 2012

It is amazing in the human realm how emotions of all types are connected to food.

Birthday and anniversary celebrations are often marked by cake, ice cream and other 'treats'. When we want to have a romantic dinner we plan our menu carefully, often cooking multiple courses of special food. When someone is facing hardship or is grieving we bring food to their home as a token of support.

Unfortunately, this display of affection with food often spills over in our behaviour toward our pets.

We love them and want to affirm this daily. We do this with pats, play and toys. All good, but one bad habit many of us fall into is thinking we are showing affection to our pets by feeding them our food. After all, if we enjoy it, they will as well.

Just from a nutritional point of view this is a bad idea. Their dietary needs are very different than ours, and certainly our calorie laden, high fat food choices are counter productive to maintaining a healthy pet.

But it is even more serious than merely having an over weight pet. There are many of our foods that are toxic to animals and can actually poison them. Some of the foods that are quite dangerous for out animal companions are chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocado, alcohol, coffee, grapes and raisins. This is not a complete list by any means, but the foods listed above can cause diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, seizures and even death. Grapes and Raisins have been known to cause kidney failure.

The older and more infirm your pet is, the more dramatic can be their reaction to these toxic foods. There are some people foods that are normally harmless to your pet, but even these can be dangerous to a pet with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts. A few of these safer food include cooked lean meats, carrots, green beans, cucumber, apples, oranges, bananas, well baked plain potatoes and rice. Keep in mind that these 'people extras' should not make up more than 5-10 % of you pet's daily caloric intake.

Important: If you hire a pet sitter, make sure they know your feeding rules!

Human beings often turn to food in emotional situations, both happy and sad. But your attention and time is a much better choice than food to show your pet how much you love them. Don't let those pleading soft pet eyes get the better of you!