People food for dogs can be harmful, even fatal

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - You might think what is OK for a person to eat may be OK for a dog to eat, but that is not true. More often, the "treat" you may feed your dog could send him to the vet and even worse into surgery.

Summertime is barbeque season - a time for cook-outs, beer, corn-on-the-cob - and, for many, if you feed your dog people food, it may be a trip to the vet. One prime example is the fat that you don't want on your steak. Feed it to your dog and it could kill him.

"We see a lot of problems with that fat causing digestive problems, pancreatitis, and life threatening problems," said Dr. Carl Clary, with Acres North Animal Clinic.

Dr. Clary also adds that he hears the same thing from so many people: 'Well, I've done that for years,' or, 'My dog loves that and I've never had any trouble.' But, Dr. Clary says giving leftovers to your dog is like playing Russian roulette.

"You know you can walk across Slide Road with your eyes shut every day and not get hit, but when you do get hit, it's a big hit," he said.

"If you want to have a healthy dog and not spend money with me, don't feed them off the table," summed up Dr. Clary.

Bones are a big problem. Dogs love to gnaw on them. But, Dr. Clary says he sees a lot of emergencies in which a dog has been given a steak bone, rib bone, or even a chicken bone that got stuck on the way down in the throat.

This type of terrible accident is exactly what happened to little Deja. She was given a bone by her owner, Lilliam Lobrie, and the bone had to be surgically removed before she died.

"It's been a pretty costly mistake," said Lobrie. "If I could emboss this chicken in gold, we'd have it on our mantle."

Another common problem that takes dogs to the vet: Corn on the cob.

"People think corn on the cob, no big deal. It'll pass," said the vet. "That [thinking] gets us in trouble. I have to see it in an x-ray and it's almost always surgical."

Dr. Clary says he gets people's attention when he describes it as an $800 corn cob. Other life threatening foods are broccoli, onions, garlic potato peelings, avocados, macadamia nuts, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. After your sneaky dogs eats these things, you may not see a problem right away, but after a couple of days and just the right amount of toxin levels, your family pet could possibly be seeing the vet and worse, may die.

Some advice from Dr. Clary: Don't leave snacks laying around the house for your dog to grab.The worst offender would be raisins.

"I've had dogs eat two boxes, no problem," he explained. "I've had a dog eat a half box of raisins, and the kidneys shut down."

All dogs are different, and unpredictable. Perhaps the greatest offender is a dieter's best friend - that new sweetener called Xylitol. It is in a lot of different foods from pudding to sugarless cough drops.

"Xylitol, if you look on the back [of a pack of Trident] it says, 'Helps fight cavities,'" said Dr. Clary. "Well, it'll also kill your dog if they eat this pack of gum."

One pet owner nearly lost her pet when she tried to eat a pack of Trident Gum. Lucy is OK now, but that's after a near death experience and a $1500 vet bill her owner will make sure to keep a pack of gum away.

"I Googled, 'Is gum bad for dogs?' and everything that popped up was toxic!" said Lucy's owner, Lisa Siegler.

The bottom line is be careful what you give your dog because people food can be toxic to a dog. One more thing to remember before the next party; it may be funny at the time to see a dog drink a little beer, but they are a lot smaller than we are, and they can die a lot faster from alcohol poisoning. So leave the people food to people, and the dog food for your dog and everyone will be in tip-top shape to play all day.

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