FDA warns against feeding dogs raw meat, peanut butter

If you’ve ever had to medicate your dog, chances are you’ve snuck it into some peanut butter to entice him to swallow it. Turns out, that trick could be harmful to man’s best friend, according to a new statement issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While you may toss your dog a piece of food occasionally, some eats aren’t fit for dogs and others could be deadly, the FDA warned, as animals’ bodies process food differently from humans’.

“Our bodies may break down foods or other chemicals that a dog’s [digestive system] can’t tolerate,” Carmela Stamper, D.V.M, a veterinarian at the FDA, said in the statement.

The FDA warned against feeding dogs the following foods:

Raw meat: Uncooked meat can contain E. coli, Salmonella and other harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat well out of reach on countertops and wash your hands before giving your dog a treat if you’ve handled raw meat. The warning goes the other way, too: “People can get sick after handling contaminated dog food, not washing their hands, and then using their hands to eat a sandwich or a slice of pizza,” Stamper said in the statement.

Grapes, raisins and currents: Not all dogs are affected by these foods, but in others, they can cause kidney failure. Apples and bananas are OK; just don’t feed your dog the core or seeds.

Fried and fatty foods: Not only could your dog have a stomachache— and you’d have to clean up the outcome— but these foods can also cause pancreatitis, a potentially life-threating disease.

Moldy foods: Be careful when you toss moldy cheese rinds or hamburger buns in the trash so your dog doesn’t get to them. You wouldn’t feed spoiled food to your family, so your dog shouldn’t eat it either.

Onion, garlic and chives: In large amounts, these seasonings— as well as onion and garlic powder— can be harmful.

Salty snacks: “Feeding the odd potato chip or pretzel probably won’t do any harm,” Stamper said in the statement. But if your dog gets into a whole bag of them, he could get really sick. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water at all times, especially if he gets into salty snacks.

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Peanut butter itself isn’t harmful, but it may contain xylitol, a sugar substitute used in many sugarless products that’s deadly to dogs.

“If you feed your dog pills coated in peanut butter, or put peanut butter in their hollow chew toys, make sure to check the list of ingredients first to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol,” Stamper said in the statement.

Macadamia nuts can be harmful for dogs too.

The FDA also warned about allergens— while people can have severe reactions, these allergies tend to manifest as skin or ear issues for dogs.

The effects of food may vary from dog to dog, depending on a number of factors, including the animal’s genetic makeup, size and food intake.

Cat owners have less to worry about, as felines are pickier than dogs and don’t often get into trouble by eating foods that will  harm them, Stamper said. But she added that cats are very sensitive to onions, garlic and onion and garlic powders, so to keep those ingredients away from them.