What not to feed your pet

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Handing over chocolate, fruits and other table treats to your dogs may be enticing, especially when your pooch is staring you in the face begging for food, but medical experts say it can be bad news for them.

Dr. Hank Hall, a 36 year Veterinarian, has treated many gastrointestinal illnesses over the years in animals due to improper food consumption.  Hall also admits he's guilty of giving his pets a table treat, but says it's best to feed dogs and cats the proper nutrition.

"We try to steer people to feed dogs and cats—dog and cat food. Table food for us, tends to be seasoned, might be a little rich for them, too spicy, certainly things like bones, pork bones, chicken bones, rib and steak bones. These items pose a threat about the physical inclusion, blockage caused by fatty meals and even the trimmings off of those meats can be as equally dangerous," according to Hall.

Melissa Galley, who has three dogs, learned the hard way about the dangers of feeding table scraps to her Golden Lab.  "He had bacon, something that you think would be okay, but it's not.  Galley explained the dog had consumed bacon many times before but this time was different.

Galley recalled, "He ended up having high blood counts.  They said it was due to table scraps.  He was in the hospital for three days."  The breakfast staple also cost a pretty penny for treatment at the vet.

"A very high vet bill, $500. Because of that, they just get Eukanuba. They do not beg as much as; they use to because they would expect the table scraps."

Galley isn't alone. 130,000 people reportedly called the Animal Poison Control Center during 2007 for common human foods their pets should not have eaten.  I pulled up a list of those common foods on Pet Education.com on my iPhone and showed it to Galley.  Alcoholic beverages topped the list.  Beer and wine cause intoxication, coma and death, according to the report, followed by fish, chicken and beef bones.  These table scraps affect the digestive system.

You should also avoid feeding cat food to dogs or sweet treats, like chocolate.  They can be toxic to the heart and nervous system.  Candy can also cause your pets to vomit or have diarrhea.  The same is true for raw meats, according to the experts.

Galley was shocked to see the laundry list of table foods that are not recommended for pets.

Apples, for example, pose a threat because of the core.  It's the avocado core, it's the peach pit, the plum pit, the cherry pit, some of those things that physically include causing severe illness and in some cases death, added Hall.  Grapes can damage the kidneys.

Vitamin supplements with iron for humans can also damage a pet's digestive system.   Dr. Brooks Glass, who treats animals at the Macon Road Veterinary Clinic said sticking to foods on the pet aisle is your best bet. "There are several big approved brands and some cheaper ones you should consider," said Glass.

Galley said Eukanuba works for her three canines.   "They get it twice a day and now they're a little bit calmer and are a little more energetic."

So take it from the experts and Galley whose dog got sick from eating bacon.  Doctors recommend avoiding table food and switch to a healthier diet for your fury friends.

Copyright 2012 WXTX. All rights reserved.