PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — We know we’re not supposed to feed our dogs table scraps, but so many of us do it anyway.
But there are five specific things you really need to be concerned about, some even veterinarians didn’t know about until recently.
Elaine Francolino is like the millions of Americans who are plain wild about their dogs.
One night after bible study at church, she gave her two Border Collie-Cocker Spaniel mixes a little dish of leftover blueberry cobbler with a spoonful of yogurt.
“Not thinking, because I usually used frozen blueberries. I put in on top of a little bit of yogurt and I put it on the floor and they took a lick and I thought ‘Oh my God. Oh my God,’” Francolino says.
She had sweetened the blueberries with Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s gaining popularity as a sugar alternative.
It’s something Veterinarian Dr. Mike Hutchinson says dogs should never eat.
“That can put a dog into liver failure, in a sugar crisis. In other words, their sugar will crash and they can go into a seizure in as little as 15 minutes of ingesting this,” he says.
Xylitol is also used in a lot of hygiene products in your home, another way dogs might accidentally get access.
“It’s in Trident gum, which is good for our teeth. Xylitol doesn’t hurt us at all, prevents cavities. It’s really really effective. They put it in children’s toothpaste as a sweetener because it tastes good and you can make your children take it,” Hutchinson says.
Don’t feel badly if you didn’t know.
There are four other things your dogs should never have, one of which even Dr. Hutchinson didn’t know about until a few years ago.
“Unfortunately veterinarians did not know about raisins and grapes until 2005. I didn’t know that they were poisonous. I used to feed, cut them in half. Give one to my child, one to my dog as a treat,” he says.
But grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in canines sometimes as quickly as three days later.
And the damage is permanent.
“The only treatment is a kidney transplant. There’s really nothing else we can do,” Hutchinson says.
Number three on the list: onions.
“We can eat an onion raw and it wouldn’t cause any problems in us, but if a dog eats it, it can cause aplastic anemia, big word that means they can’t produce red blood cells anymore,” he says.
Number four: macadamia nuts.
Macadamia nuts can cause painful paralysis in dogs that can last for as long as 72 hours.
The final item s likely one you’ve heard of and one Dr. Hutchinson sees the most.
“It can be extremely toxic to the dog. It has a product in in that is a caffeine-like substance called Methylxanthine and dogs cannot metabolize that quickly, so what it does is it over-stimulates them,” he says.
Enough that they could suffer a seizure or heart attack.
But acting quickly and getting help from your vet is the key and paying attention to what’s in your house.
Francolino managed to get her dogs to the animal hospital in time where the vets stabilized their blood sugar, but she learned a valuable lesson.
“They had to spend the night at the emergency room and I will tell people right now it’s very expensive. $1600 overnight,” she says.
Francolino considers herself to be one of the lucky ones.