If you're a dog owner like me, you know there is one place in your home where you can never be alone – the kitchen.
As soon as I start heading that way, Ellie is right behind me, hoping she'll get a few small pieces of whatever I'm making.
Most days she's lucky.
(Karen would say that's because Ellie has me well-trained.)
I can't deny that I throw a few scraps her way.
Some days it's apple slices or pieces of sweet potato.
If she's really lucky, I'll be making something with one of her favorites – chicken, cheese or peanut butter.
A few "human" treats for your pup will surely make them happy.
But you need to be sure what you're giving them won't make them sick... or worse.
Most folks have heard that dogs should never eat chocolate.
That's because chocolate contains alkaloids called methylxanthines.
While these substances provide some health perks for humans, they are toxic to dogs.
Even just a little bit of chocolate can stop a dog's metabolic process and cause diarrhea and vomiting. And a large amount can result in seizures, irregular heart function, and even death.
If your dog is a counter surfer, be sure to keep chocolate out of reach.
Another food to keep away from your dog? Grapes.
Consuming grapes and their dried form, raisins, can lead to kidney failure in dogs, and may even result in death.
Since they're small, it's easy for a stray grape or raisin to fall on the ground. So, if you've gotten them out, give the floor a good check before one ends up in your pup's mouth.
If you chew gum or eat candy sweetened with xylitol, you should take care to keep it far away from your pup.
This natural sweetener can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and cause liver failure.
Xylitol is not only used in gum and candy, but also some baked goods, diet foods, and peanut butter.
So, check those labels before you give your dog a bite.
Onions and garlic in any form – raw, cooked, powdered – should be kept from dogs.
These foods can kill your dog's red blood cells, causing anemia. And possible side effects of eating onions and garlic include pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapse.
Fan of avocado toast? If so, please don't give your pup a bite.
You see, avocados contain a compound called persin. And consuming too much persin might cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs.
Note that persin is found not only in the avocado fruit, but also the seed and bark, so if your pup is known to "dumpster dive" in the trash can, take steps to ensure they can't get to the avocado's pit and skin that you've discarded.
Our pups rely on us to feed them with foods that will bolster their health.
As responsible dog owners, we have to remember that our pups are not small humans and what might be good for us, could cause real harm to them.
Be smart with what you share with your dog, and keep harmful foods well out of reach, to help keep them healthy and happy.