Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Say No to Table Scraps this Holiday Season

If you look on the back of most pet food containers you'll see a warning about introducing your dog to a new diet too quickly. Most instructions that you'll find inform you that you should slowly introduce the new food while weening your dog off the old.

Why am I mentioning this now?
Well... right around this time of year there's lots of great things being cooked up in the kitchen and plenty of company around who might not know what treats agree and don't agree with your dog. Giving your dog a higher percentage of new foods than they're used to is akin to changing their diet as drastically as if you replaced their current kibble with another brand abuptly.

Even though I know what will and won't upset Rusty's stomach I've thrown him a scrap now and again. The outcome isn't always pretty as what comes out the other end be that during potty breaks or in the form of a deadly gaseous attack.

It seems that every older dog that I get has some issues getting accustom to new food, so this holiday season instead of dropping a lot of well-intentioned treats your dog's way, consider the following as a few tricks to help avoid causing your pal and upset stomach or worse:

  1. Tell you guests to not feed your dog any scraps. 
  2. If you're OK with #1, let them know not to feed the dog from the table.  At least you'll be able to monitor the situation better.
  3. Make sure any dog-height consumables are out of reach. 
  4. Limit any human food that you're giving your dog to things you would give them during other times of the year. Avoid chicken and turkey skin, as well as gravy and sauces. Also stay away from bread. It's way too tempting to throw your dog the end of a loaf of Italian bread because its tough like a biscuit. Trust me here. Don't do it. Dogs have a much more sensitive digestive system than humans and trying to digest that much grain is going to give some dogs (pretty much all the old ones I've had) the runs.
  5. Finally, watch their bowel movements, and if something doesn't seem right consult your vet.
More often than not you can get your dog back on track with a couple of days of boiled chicken (with the fat skimmed off) and white rice, but for medical issues, you're best to check with a professional first.