It’s about 3 years ago now that I had the fright of my life. Being an animal lover I thought my knowledge was vast and I knew what any dog mommy needed to know.
I arrived home one day after seeing clients and as usual, my pack of dogs greeted me at the gate and announced my arrival to the whole neighbourhood. It was wagging tails, moans and barks as we all walked up the stairs.
Reaching the top I noticed my Maltese poodle Madam Mim, sitting at the top of the stairs and wiggling around on her behind, this was weird. As I walked into the house she walked in with me, so I thought nothing of it.
Just a few minutes later I heard her moaning. I went to investigate and found her in the lounge sitting and wiggling her bum. I called her to me and she bum wiggled faster but this time she did not stand up. At this point, I had a million things running through your mind.
I sent a text message to my husband and said she is acting really weird. He replied that I must just take her to the vet if need be. I replied that I will do that for sure.
I decided to help her onto the couch next to me to keep a close eye on her. When I touched her she gave a terrifying scream! I was instantly in tears, thinking the worst. I called for our son to help me take her to the vet.
With much crying and yelping, I put her on the back seat and our son Andrew sat with her all the way to the vet. It felt like the longest 10 minutes ever. We arrived at the vet and thankfully were able to go straight in.
The vet examined her and asked if she had eaten anything out of the ordinary. With my mind racing, I went through the last week to try and recall anything. “The macadamia nuts we left out!” I shouted. I noticed earlier that the dish of macadamia nut was empty, but I thought our son had finished them.
This was the first time EVER that I heard of macadamia nuts being so dangerous for dogs. The vet said that this was what was causing paralysis in Mim’s her back and back legs. The most painful thought, she added that there is nothing they could do but wait.
I took her home, which was more crying from both of us. It is incredible how much pain my fur baby was in and I could do nothing to relieve her pain.
At home and back on the couch, I could only sit with her. Touching her was painful, moving at all was painful.
About an hour later my longhair sausage, Jesse, was sitting by my feet. I noticed she was looking very uncomfortable. When I tried to pick her up she too yelped. “Noooo!” I cried, not her as well!
Yes her back and back legs had also started going into paralysis. Knowing what was happening I sat her on the couch as well with me and kept a close eye on them both.
Not 30 minutes later and my black sausage, Ruby, was showing the same symptoms. Could this night get any worse? I have 2 more dogs.
Here I was late into the night sitting up with 3 dogs in pain, not able to do anything for them and not knowing what is going to happen. I sat up all night watching their every move.
The next morning they still did not get up, but at least the pain had subsided. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, it’s actually hope. By the end of that day, they were all 3 walking with great effort, but they were walking. None of them wanted to eat but they did drink water.
It was only one day 3 that they started eating and acting like themselves again. I am still so grateful that all 3 pulled through. It could so easily have gone the other way.
My Madam Mim however, was left with a weak knee. I took her back to the vet about a month after and she told me that the paralysis had worsened an existing problem with Mim’s knee. An operation was the only option. But this is another story on its own.
Foods that your dogs can not eat.
It can be tempting to give your dog leftovers or to share your food with them, but is it a good idea? Or just maybe extremely dangerous, even poisonous, for our dogs.
Or like I did, leaving it out without thinking it may be dangerous for our fur babies to get hold of.
Here is a list of foods dogs can’t eat.
Common foods that most of us know about are:
Do you remember the advert with the boy dunking cookies in milk saying that “chocolate isn’t good for dogs”? That voice even now pops into my head when dogs and chocolate comes into the same sentence.
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine — a bit like caffeine — that’s poisonous to dogs.
Theobromine mainly affects the guts, heart, central nervous system, and kidneys and signs of theobromine poisoning will occur between four and 24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate. You may see vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures.
Alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans.
When consumed, even small quantities may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death. So, remember to keep alcohol well out of your dog’s reach.
Oh yes, the boy in the advert was so wrong about the milk, unfortunately.
As dogs do not have significant amounts of the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk, feeding your dog milk and other milk-based products can cause diarrhoea or other digestive upset.
Blue cheeses, such as stilton and Roquefort, are particularly dangerous. Many contain a substance called roquefortine C, which dogs are especially sensitive to.
Roquefortine C may cause vomiting and diarrhoea and potentially also tremors, twitching, seizures and a high temperature if eaten in large doses.
Not so commonly known foods that dogs can not eat.
Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. A small amount of tea or coffee are unlikely to do any harm, but if your dog swallows a handful of coffee beans or tea bags they could be in danger.
Signs of caffeine poisoning are similar to chocolate toxicity.
5. Onions, garlic & chives
Eating these can cause stomach and gut irritation and potentially lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia.
Onions are particularly toxic and signs of poisoning often only occur a few days after your dog has eaten the vegetable. All forms of onion can be a problem.
6. Mouldy foods
Mouldy foods, including bread, nuts and dairy products, contain lots of toxins that could make your dog very ill. Make sure you dispose of leftovers carefully and be careful to keep your food waste bin well out of your dog’s reach.
7. Grapes & raisins
While the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is unknown, it can cause kidney failure in sensitive individuals. Dogs that already have underlying health problems are at greatest risk and just one raisin can be severely toxic. Experts agree that there is no “safe” dose of grapes and raisins.
8. Macadamia nuts
Within 12 hours of ingestion, macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting, paralysis and increased body temperature.
These symptoms tend to last for approximately 12 to 48 hours. Keep these far away from your fur babies.
9. Yeast dough
Yeast dough can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system as a result of the dough rising. Not only can this be painful but it may also cause the stomach or intestines to become blocked. Never give your dog yeast dough.
While feeding your dog bones may seem like a good idea, it’s important to remember that dogs may choke on them, develop intestinal obstructions after swallowing pieces of bone, damage their teeth chewing them, or sustain an internal injury as bone splinters can puncture your dog’s digestive tract.
Chicken bones should be avoided, they splinter and get stuck in the intestines which can cause internal injuries.
If you do choose to give your dog a bone be sure to keep an eye on her while she tucks in. Eating large quantities of bone can often cause constipation, so try to monitor the amount your dog manages to consume.
Corn on the cob may seem like a healthy table scrap to give your dog, but unlike most vegetables, it does not digest well in a dog’s stomach. If your dog swallows large chunks of the cob or even whole, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to its size and shape. Signs to look out for are vomiting, loss of appetite or reduced appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort.
A Banter’s favourite sweetener xylitol is a great alternative for us but it causes insulin release in many species (but not in humans) leading to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels).
Dogs are extremely sensitive and even small quantities can cause toxicity. Some sugar-free sweets and gums have very high amounts per piece. Early symptoms of xylitol poisoning include lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination. Seizures may also occur.
Xylitol has also been linked to fatal acute liver disease and blood-clotting disorders in dogs. This effect is not thought to be dose-related so even very small amounts can be extremely dangerous. If you think your dog has eaten any xylitol seek urgent veterinary advice.
Conclusion: Even thou it is so tempting to share even more of our world with our fur babies (dogs), it is much better and healthier for them that we don’t.