Dogs and Vitamins

Nutmeg and Ginger have two black Labradors.  These ladies have a very good life; they get a few walks a day, lots of food and water, they have a nice backyard to laze around in and they get to swim in the nearby rivers.  In addition to that, they have two great doggie caregivers who pitch in for walks and when Nutmeg runs away from Calgary’s weather.  Nutmeg is away (did I mention the weather?) and she got an email this morning… Jade ate a vitamin is that OK?  Well if you own a Labrador you know the answer – ask Oregano to tell you the story of his dog and the socks one day.  Of course a vitamin is certainly not going to hurt and is 1000 fold better than half the stuff she finds in the park.

That was not enough for Nutmeg though she was curious – would human vitamins actually have any effect on dogs?  Well first of all on a Google search that question surfaces over 4 million results, so the jury is obviously out. Veterinarians are undecided, some think there could be some benefits while others feel there actually could be harmful side effects.  Commercially processed dog food is said to have a complete, balanced nutritional level (unless it comes from a suspect Chinese factory 🙁 ).

The vitamin manufacturers must love this statistic!  It is estimates that nearly one third of pets in the United States receive nutritional supplements.  The largest focus is relief of joint pain and arthritis that is common in older animals.  Other common supplements are fatty acids to improve coat shine and probiotics to reduce digestion issues.  You can read the full article on Wikipedia and surf a few credible sources for review including Vet Info.

So the answer to the question about dogs and vitamins?

Jade will be just fine.

What Nutmeg found more interesting, is the full list of foods that dogs should not eat.  The condensed list is below, with Nutmeg’s comments:

1. Onions (contain the toxic ingredient Thiosulphate also found in garlic) – apparently in can be toxic in one large dose… Note to self: better stop feeding the girls leftovers!
2. Chocolate (contains Theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic) – Nutmeg had heard that chocolate could be fatal for dogs, although over the years Skoki has eaten (in one sitting) 3 pounds of chocolate almond bark and another family dog ate ALL of the Christmas tree chocolates.  In both cases, they were a bit sluggish (wouldn’t you be) but certainly no terrible side effects
3. Grapes and Raisins (can affect canine’s kidneys)  – I will have to tell the girls as they eye my cheese and grapes every night!
4. Macadamia Nuts (contain an unknown substance that is toxic to dogs)  –  these nuts are really expensive so don’t feed them to your dog
5. Bones (in particular chicken or anything that might splinter)  – I wonder about all the sticks they chew instead 🙁
6. Potato Peelings and Green Potatoes (Contain Oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems) – our dogs are much too picky to eat these anyway they just want the good stuff
7. Yeast Dough (can produce gas and swell in your pet’s stomach)
8. Coffee, Coffee Grounds, Tea, Soft Drinks (are dangerous due to the caffeine)
9. Beer/Wine/Alcohol of any kind (could lead to coma or even death) – or a few quiet hours 🙂
10. Moldy or Spoiled Food (I think this goes without saying.)  – interesting considering the quality of stuff they have found over the years in the park
11. Persimmons (Persimmons can cause intestinal blockage)  – not sure why anyone eats these
12. Raw Eggs and Raw Fish (can cause Salmonella poisoning)
13. Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder (In large amounts these can cause an electrolyte imbalance which can lead to muscle spasm or even congestive heart failure)
14. Mushrooms (may contain toxins which could cause liver and kidney damage)  – our dogs love the spring and fall for the array of new wild mushrooms…
15. Avocado (All parts of the avocado and avocado tree are toxic to dogs)  – again way too expensive to feed to your dogs anyway
16. Diary Products (do not usually pose a great danger; although many pets are lactose intolerant) – not ours – just ask Chili he loves feeding the girls pieces of expensive cheddar!

So there you have it the secret to happy, healthy pets?  Everything in moderation and the odd vitamin will not hurt either.

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