Warm weather on its way (or already blazing in some parts of the country!) kickstarting another season of grilling and chilling. From summer festivals to backyard BARK-BQs, it’s important for pet parents to be aware of these 7 summertime treats that are dangerous to dogs.
Not only can the carbonation in beer lead to gastric distress or deadly bloat, the hops used to make beer are extremely toxic to dogs. Further, dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol (the type of alcohol found in beer and wine, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeast) than humans and ingesting even a small amount can lead to significant intoxication.
Dogs will fare much better when simply provided with lots of fresh, cool water. But, if sharing a beer with your best friend is an appealing summertime treat, pop open a bottle of Bowser Beer, a non-alcoholic brew especially for dogs. In chicken or beef varieties, not only are they tasty, they contain healthy vitamins and glucosamine for joint health!
2. Ice Cream
Sharing a little lick of your ice cream cone on a hot day is usually not a big deal, but most dogs are lactose intolerant and can develop digestive issues when consuming too much dairy. Additionally, with so many flavors and varieties of ice cream, some containing toxins found in chocolate, certain nuts, raisins, and sugar substitutes, it’s best to avoid ice cream altogether.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to deprive your dog of the joy of a frozen, creamy treat! There are many varieties of pre-packaged dog-safe ice cream and freezable dog smoothies available.
Or, you can make your own! Just mix together low or non-fat plain yogurt (avoid flavored yogurt with added sugar!) with your dog’s favorite fruit (bananas or blueberries work great!), carob chips, or peanut butter into a non-stick container and freeze overnight. Silicone muffin pans work great for creating single servings you can pop out and treat as desired.
3. Corn on the Cob
Corn itself isn’t necessarily toxic or harmful to your dog, but this high glycemic index food isn’t exactly healthy either. And, while most dogs would love the chance to gnaw and chew on that leftover cob, it can actually lead to a dangerous intestinal blockage.
Instead, keep the corn on your own plate and toss those cobs in the compost pile. Offer your dog a long-lasting, dog-safe chew instead. Bully sticks, Himalayan Chews, antlers, or a treat-stuffed Kong toy will be just as much fun and perfectly safe.
Grapes, and their shriveled counterpart, raisins, are highly toxic to dogs. Even just a few juicy grapes pulled from the bunch can lead to severe, life-threatening kidney failure within a matter of hours or days. Although it is unclear why grapes are problematic, or why some dogs can eat them with no ill-effects, they remain a risk not worth taking.
If it’s a juicy, bite-sized snack your dog is begging for, opt, instead, for watermelon balls!
Use a melon baller or cut a seedless watermelon into bite-sized pieces and offer your dog a healthy, safe alternative. Or, for even more cool summertime fun, spread watermelon balls flat on a cookie sheet or plate and freeze overnight for an easy-peasy-freezy (and healthy!) treat.
Or, blueberries – also in season during summer months – are an excellent, antioxidant rich, flavorful snack. Serve fresh or frozen for a sweet, bite-sized treat.
5. Fruit Seeds & Pits
Although apples are a favorite treat (and a great source of fiber) for many pups, the seeds actually release cyanide into the body during digestion. Likewise, while peaches, plums, and nectarines (in moderation) make great summertime snacks, the pits both contain cyanide, a dangerous toxin, and, if swallowed, can cause dangerous intestinal blockage or become a choking hazard.
So, if you plan to give your dog one of these sweet, fruity treats, be sure to remove all seeds and pits and keep them far out of reach.
For an extra special summertime treat, we love this super easy recipe for chicken/apple pupsicles – and your dog will too… In an ice tray, combine finely chopped fresh apples with a dog-safe chicken stock (one that contains little to no salt and no onions). Freeze overnight and serve as a tasty, cool treat!
Although avocados are available year round, their peak growing season is during the summer, making them more likely to grace your table this time of year. Avocados may contain Persin, a toxic substance known to cause diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion when ingested in moderate quantities. Unfortunately, the variety of avocados most commonly sold in grocery stores, the Guatemalan variety, are known to have the highest concentration of this toxin.
If it’s the creamy, softness of avocadoes that your dog is attracted to offer him a few slices of fresh banana instead. Lucky for Fido, bananas are always in season!
7. Fatty Foods
Backyard barbecues can be a blast for families – and, of course, that includes the dog! But, keep your four-legged family away from the high fat foods commonly found grilling in the summertime. High fat foods, like hot dogs, can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, while large quantities of fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis and a trip to your local animal ER.
But, you don’t have to exclude your pup from the family feast! While you’ve got the grill fired up, toss an unseasoned, boneless chicken breast on for your dog.
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