What to feed Fido, and what will make your dog sick

There are so many different dog foods, how do you figure out what to feed your pet? Is it OK to feed table scraps? Generally speaking, if your dog has a shiny coat, good energy, and is maintaining a healthy weight, then what you are feeding them is probably appropriate. But it’s good to be aware of some feeding basics, as well as foods to avoid.

Here are a few tips for feeding your dog:

  • Choose a dog food that has the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) label. That indicates that the food provides a balanced diet.
  • Yes, puppy food really is different – it has more vitamins, antioxidants and calories than adult dog food. Most puppies should eat puppy food until they are 12 months old. Larger breeds such as golden retrievers, German shepherds and Newfoundlands should be fed large-breed puppy food until they are 12 to 18 months old.
  • Rapid changes in diet can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea. If you are changing your dog’s food, blend the old and new foods for four or five days, gradually feeding more of the new food.

“I just can’t resist Fluffy’s sad eyes. Can’t I give my dog some people food?” We know it’s hard to turn down a begging dog, but table scraps and other treats should make up less than 10 percent of your dog’s diet. In fact, some seemingly “good” foods can cause serious problems for your pet.

Here are a few foods that are safe for your dog to enjoy in small doses:

  • Cooked potatoes (never feed raw potatoes)
  • Carrots, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini
  • Some fruits, like apples, melon, berries and bananas. Never feed the pits or seeds of any fruit, especially peaches, plums, cherries and persimmons
  • Peanut butter in small amounts

Never feed your dog:

  • Chocolate – contains theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and seizures in dogs
  • Grapes or raisins – can cause kidney damage in dogs
  • Onions, garlic or chives – can cause anemia in dogs
  • Green tomatoes – keep Fluffy out of the garden!
  • Avocados – don’t give Fluffy that chip and dip! Avocados contain persin, which can be toxic to dogs
  • Alcohol – alcohol is hard on a dog’s liver, and affects them much more quickly than it does people. Just a little can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Macadamia nuts – as few as six can make a dog sick

Learn more about the Everett Animal Shelter. Plan a visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out all of our adoptable pets. And be sure to watch our featured Pet of the Week on the Everett Channel.

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