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- The domestic dog belongs to the family Canidae and has an evolutionary history as a carnivore.
- Many human foods can negatively affect a dog’s health.
- However, some foods can provide a healthy treat.
- Grapefruit pulp is not poisonous to dogs, but their skins are.
If you have a pet dog, you may have fallen prey to their wide-eyed, loving gaze as they beg for food at the dinner table. It’s hard to say no when your furry friend wants to taste what’s on your plate, but what if the food is poisonous to dogs? While many human foods are safe for dogs and can occasionally provide a healthy treat, some foods contain chemicals that are harmful to dogs, even though they are safe for humans. A well-known example is chocolate! This article will explore a food that is not commonly known to have health effects on dogs. If you’re wondering “Can dogs eat grapefruit?”, the short answer is yes to the meat, but not the skin. Read on to find out why.
Where do dogs fit in the animal kingdom?
Domestic dogs belong to the canine family. This family includes dog-like carnivores such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, and their extinct relatives. Wolves (lupus) is the direct ancestor of the domestic dog (domestic dog or canine lupus) and is arguably a subspecies of the same species as wolves. Wolves gave rise to the domestic dog breed 20,000 to 40,000 years ago! Since then, humans have bred dogs extensively, creating a great deal of diversity within the species. However, all dog breeds belong to the same species and share the same evolutionary relationship to wolves. Many breeds have become extinct, but the FCI (an international organization of kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club) lists approximately 360 official breeds.
Members of the canine family have a long history of carnivory and have specific traits that facilitate hunting and processing meat. Domestic dogs have species-specific traits that differ from their canine relatives, but they retain many primitive traits associated with their ancient diet. These traits include large canine teeth, a shorter gastrointestinal tract than omnivores and herbivores, jaw and cranial muscles adapted for tearing flesh, and forward-looking eyes in predators. Dogs have many physiological mechanisms that are optimal for processing and digesting meat.
What types of human food are toxic to dogs?
There are many human foods that are healthy for us but deadly for our pets. Two typical examples are chocolate and grapes. Dogs cannot eat chocolate due to the caffeine-like molecule theobromine. This compound increases blood flow to the brain, and dogs cannot digest it properly. While it’s usually not fatal, ingesting large amounts can be fatal. Small amounts can still have dire effects like seizures and other symptoms. Dogs can’t eat grapes either. Grapes contain several compounds that dogs cannot digest, such as tannins, flavonoids, and simple sugars. Early symptoms after ingesting grapes are persistent vomiting and subsequent dehydration. Your dog may later exhibit lethargy, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Consumption of large quantities can be fatal.
Another food that contains toxins that can be harmful to dogs is macadamia nuts. You’ve probably asked yourself before, can dogs eat nuts? And the answer is not that simple. While some nuts may not have a substantial effect, macadamia nuts can cause a serious illness known as “macadamia poisoning”. The disease causes vomiting, weakness, ataxia, hyperthermia, and central nervous system depression.
The third and fourth most harmful foods to dogs are onions and garlic. Onions and garlic, even in small amounts, can lead to many different adverse health outcomes. They can cause gastrointestinal upset, red blood cell damage, pancreatitis, and other illnesses. These foods are often components of meat seasonings and may go unnoticed when feeding dogs from the table. A common mistake is feeding a dog steak, which may be a safe food but can be harmful if it has seasoning.
What types of human food are safe for dogs?
Some human foods that are safe for dogs are properly cooked meats, including fish, peanut butter, eggs, cheese, carrots, apples, and more. It is always important to check the safety of each food before feeding it to your dog, especially if it is eaten in large quantities. For meat, make sure there are no seasonings or excess salt on the food before serving it to your dog. If you have any doubts, avoid human food and offer your dog treats made just for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?
Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), grapefruit pulp is not toxic to dogs. Like oranges, dogs can safely enjoy small amounts of citrus fruits, but you should avoid giving them large quantities. This is due to the high citric acid content in grapefruit. If your dog accidentally eats a small amount, monitor them for symptoms, but you probably have nothing to worry about. Watch for symptoms and consider contacting your veterinarian if they overeat.
Unfortunately, the skin or rind of the grapefruit is another matter. While grapefruit pulp can be eaten in small quantities, the peel is highly toxic. The rind of a grapefruit contains natural oils that can harm dogs, if your dog eats one, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately. Your dog may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and become dehydrated as a result.
There are many safer, healthier foods to give your pet than grapefruit! Always check new foods before introducing them to your dog, and call your veterinarian if your pet develops symptoms after eating them. For a complete list of common foods that are safe or dangerous for dogs to eat, click here!
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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