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How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Food Poisoning

This is a collaborative post

As a responsible and loving pet parent, you should keep your dog’s health and safety among your top priorities. One significant health issue that you’ll definitely have to watch out for is food poisoning in your dogs. 

Food poisoning occurs more often in pets than you may think. In 2022, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center marked the rather unpleasant milestone of 4 million logged cases of pet toxicity since the organization’s founding in 1978. In 2021 alone, APSCA saved a total of 401,000 animals from poisoning, with 79 percent of these cases attributable to common household items and 14 percent chalked up to food products. 

It’s important for fur parents to realize that dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to toxins and poisons from contaminated foods. You’ll want to be proactive about protecting your pooch from such health risks by learning about common food poisoning risks and maintaining cleanliness and good hygiene, such as sanitizing your dog stainless steel bowls.

Below is a guide to food poisoning in dogs and some tips for sufficiently protecting your pooch.  

Know the Culprits: Foods to Avoid

First, you must be extra aware of the human foods that are harmful to your canine companion. Some of the most notable examples of foods that are toxic to dogs are the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins 
  • Onions and garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol artificial sweetener
  • Caffeine
  • Avocados
  • Macadamia nuts

Avoid giving your dog table scraps and refrain from sharing meals that contain these ingredients. You should also educate your family members and guests about these forbidden foods to avoid accidental ingestion.

Observe Proper Food Handling and Storage

If you think proper food handling and storage only applies to humans, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hygiene and sanitary food handling could also save your dog’s life. Make sure to do the following when preparing your dog’s meals:

  • Ensure that you store your dog’s dry and wet food in a cool, dry place, and regularly check the expiration dates.

  • Discard any damaged food packaging to maintain freshness and quality.

  • Practice good hygiene during food preparation and avoid cross-contamination, for example with raw meat products and eggs, to further reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Choose Safe and Nutritious Treats

Treats are a great way to show your dog love and appreciation. But be cautious when choosing treats and chews for your furry friend to avoid food poisoning and other issues, like choking hazards. Observe these guidelines:

  • Opt for reputable brands and avoid treats with unknown ingredients or questionable sourcing practices.
  • Make sure the treats align with your dog’s dietary needs and are safe to consume given any health conditions they may have.

  • Introduce new treats gradually to prevent any adverse reactions.

Supervise Your Dog’s Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities like walks are necessary for your dog’s overall well-being, but you should also supervise them during excursions to ensure that they’re not putting their mouths or snouts where they shouldn’t be. Keep your dog from scavenging for food, as food refuse in trash bins and other similar sources could contain harmful substances. In addition, guide your dog away from toxic plants or fungi, and don’t grow these in your garden if you have one. 

Train and Practice Commands for Safety

Training your dog to respond to specific commands can also decrease their risk of getting food poisoning and further endangering themselves through what they ingest. Teach commands like “leave it” and “drop it” to keep them from holding dangerous items in their mouths, and reinforce their training during walks and playtime to ensure their safety at all times.

Create a Pet-Safe Environment

A pet-safe environment is also essential when it comes to protecting your dog from food poisoning. As most poisoning cases occur at home, be extra vigilant about potential safety hazards for your dog and other pets. Pet-proof your home and yard by securing household chemicals and medications out of your dog’s reach, and make sure that trash bins are tightly closed to prevent your dog from accessing spoiled or contaminated food.

dog lying on his back

Keep Your Dog Away from Bones

Dogs are often portrayed chewing on bones in popular media, but raw bones are unsafe for them to put in their mouths as these may contain harmful pathogens like E. coli and strains of salmonella. They’re also notorious for causing broken teeth and choking. Instead of bones, let your dog chew on dog-safe dental sticks, chew toys, or rope toys.

Cook Meats According to Your Dog’s Needs

If you cook for your dog, keep their nutritional needs in mind and consult your vet whenever you plan to make changes to their diet. Always cook meat thoroughly to ensure that it’s safe for your dog to eat, as undercooked or raw meat can contain harmful bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. To be on the safe side, don’t season it or add excessive salt, and stick to plain cooking methods such as boiling, grilling, or baking without adding oils or fats. 

Keep a Watchful Eye Out for Food Allergies and Intolerances

Lastly, watch out for signs of food allergies or intolerances in your dog. As with humans, some dogs are prone to developing allergic reactions that can get them sent to the vet. Be sure to identify the trigger ingredients and avoid them in your dog’s diet, and consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s diet is balanced and suitable for their individual needs.

Having a fur baby is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but as you’ll know when you become a pet parent, it comes with its set of responsibilities. If you want your pooch to spend many happy and healthy years with you, you’ll need to be vigilant and proactive about health hazards like food poisoning. Hopefully, these recommendations can save you grief and any untimely visits to the vet’s emergency room. 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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