Your Dog's Health

Feeding your Dog
Over-feeding is dangerous for pets; obesity is a serious problem and shortens the life of your pet tenfold. The harsh truth is that it is often the owner's fault for over-indulging their pet with snacks such as crisps, biscuits, sausage rolls etc. We think its the guilt thing - "Oh, I'm having this and hed like some of it too" . Or it could be from scraping the leftovers of a meal into his dish.  We can literally kill our pets with kindness in this way.
Vegetables (apart from onions) can be OK for your dog, but not the pie or the chips or the treacle pudding and custard!  If you do occasionally feed your dog some leftovers, give them in place of some of his food, not as an addition to it. Our dogs love raw vegetables, especially broccoli, cauliflower (the centre stem), cabbage, carrots, and red peppers. But don't overdo it. 
So, please don't over-indulge your dog - what hes never had hell never miss. He won't miss Hob Nob biscuits or Mars Bars or sausage rolls if hes never had them.
It's also very important not to exercise your dog straight after a feed, and never encourage your dog to bound around after eating, as this could cause  Gastric Torsion  (twisting of the gut). This condition leads to excruciating pain and can prove fatal.
In addition to the general risks associated with over-feeding and exercising shortly after feeding, there are also more specific dangers associated with particular foods, and some of these can be fatal. Foods that your dog should avoid at all costs include:
  • Chocolate,
  • Grapes and raisins,
  • Artificial sweeteners (such as those used in cakes, biscuits, sweets and gum) - particularly Xylitol
>Chocolate contains Theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. For instance, a 100g bar contains 160mg of Theobromine, which is enough to kill a very small breed of dog (a Chihuahua, for example). Theobromine poisoning from chocolate is the most common form of poisoning in dogs - please keep your chocolates well out of your dog's reach. No amount of chocolate is safe for a dog, so it should be avoided completely. Even a small amount can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and larger doses can result in hyperactivity, high blood pressure, seizures, and heart failure. Far from being a treat, chocolate could be fatal to your dog.
Grapes and raisins:
It is now well-documented that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs (and to cats). Just a handful of raisins can cause kidney failure and death. With Christmas just around the corner, it's worth remembering that mince pies, which contain raisins, are poisonous to your dog. Some dogs find grapes and raisins very appealing, (even without the pastry!), so please make sure they are kept well out of harm's way.
Xylitol (artificial sweetener):
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in "low-sugar" processed foods, such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, and chewing gum. It is also found in toothpaste, so you should never used human toothpaste on your dog - always use one that is designed especially for pets. The symptoms of xylitol poisoning can appear very rapidly, often within 30 minutes of consumption. Xylitol causes a rapid decrease in blood-glucose levels, with symptoms including vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, seizures, and liver failure. If you suspect that your dog has eaten food containing xylitol, it is vital that you contact your vet immediately - your dog's life could depend on it.
Other things to avoid are onions, caffeine, alcohol, and fruit pips/stones - all of these things are toxic to dogs.
Your Dog is not Indestructible!
The most important message that we want to get across is that dogs are not indestructible.  This might seem a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but we've frequently been amazed by the things that some owners allow (or even expect) their dogs to do.  Most people would appreciate that when dogs are young, they are vulnerable and easily injured, and their natural curiosity and lack of experience can lead them into dangerous territory.
However, many people fail to realise that seemingly harmless activities, like climbing up and down stairs, and jumping into and out of cars, can cause irreparable damage to a puppy's growing joints.  Even fully-grown dogs can suffer permanent damage and pain as a result of repetitive strain or impact on their joints, particularly in the form of arthritis in their hips and shoulders.  Please remember that a dog as loyal and eager-to-please as the Border Collie or Cockapoo will always try to do what you ask of him, even if it is not in his own best interests.
There's no doubt that Border Collies and Cockapoos are generally fit, healthy, and intelligent dogs, but they are not indestructible.  It is heart-breaking to see such beautiful dogs suffering pain and disability as a result of being allowed to do things that are detrimental to their health, and equally heart-breaking seeing their owners distress when they realise that it was avoidable but is now too late.
Please forgive the slightly lecturing tone of this section, but there is a very serious message here, and it's an issue that we feel very strongly about!

Copyright 2003 - 2015          Last updated March, 2015
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