Dangerous Dog Treats

946270_531233960258727_1031688895_nDangerous Dog Treats: What To Know Before You Treat Your Pup

What pooch does not love getting a treat or two now and then. Dog owners also love giving their dog’s treats. If you have a dog, then you have a good idea of what your dog likes to nibble on. There are so many treats available these days and they all come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and consistencies. For every great dog treat, there are those on the market that are not so good. These treats can harm your pet by being lodged in your dog’s throat or intestines. This can cause choking or worse. If you love treating your canine friend, then you will want to be aware of those treats that can be potentially harmful. Even with treats that are not usually dangerous, you need to supervise your dog when they eat.

Rawhide Chews:

What dog does not love snacking on these chewy treats? Rawhides are good because it cleans your dog’s teeth and keeps your dog occupied. However, rawhides are dangerous, as well. Some rawhides that originate outside of the United States may actually be preserved with arsenic-based chemicals that will be ingested by your doggie when he or she chews. For this reason, make certain that any rawhide treat you purchase is processed in the United States where this preservative is forbidden. If you cannot tell where a treat originated do not buy it! In addition, you still need to watch your dog when he her she is munching on rawhides to help prevent choking. Make sure you buy rawhides that are the right size for your dog, too. A small dog needs the smaller sized rawhide treats.


Chocolate is a terrible thing to allow dogs to eat. Of course, sometimes dogs get into candy and cake without your knowledge. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, so you need to be aware of your dog sneaking chocolate nibbles, especially around the holidays. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine. This acts in the canine about the same way caffeine acts in the human. A little will make the doggie hyperactive, but a huge dose may be fatal. If your dog has gotten into chocolate, you need to look for vomiting, shallow breathing, and irregular heartbeat. A visit to the emergency vet unusually results.


Most dogs really enjoy these treats. They are advertised as a treats that help clean your dog’s teeth. However, you need to be aware that “greenies” can cause choking. This is because dogs eat these very quickly causes large chunks to lodge in the throat. Young puppies should not eat this treat and dogs that are prone to “scarfing” food. If your dog eats these treats, be aware of potential vomiting, bloody stools, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten this treat, seek medical attention.


It seems that it is the right of every dog to be able to crunch on a real bone from time to time. Dogs love bones of all types. However, some bones can be dangerous. Both chicken and turkey bones are especially dangerous because they are brittle. When your dog chews on the, they can easily splinter and cause choking. Some pork and beef bones can also cause the same problem. Veterinarians agree that the one of the safest bones you can give your dog is a shinbone. If you must give your dog a bone, make sure you supervise your pooch and if he or she shows signs of bleeding, then you should call your vet immediately for some advice.

This is not to say that you cannot give your dog an occasional treat. That is one of the fun parts of owning a dog. You do need to watch your dog and make sure that your dog is safe when snacking. Always pay attention to what kind of treat you give your dog in case of a recall.


Might Your Dog have Separation Anxiety

Dogs are highly social animals.

Their genetic programming is to be in a pack with other individuals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can learn to handle being alone for moderate periods of time but, in most cases, it doesn’t come naturally. It’s not surprising then that some dogs develop separation anxiety, a disorder which, in its severe form, can consist of panic attacks: urinating, defecating, frantically scratching and chewing at doorframes, barking and crying whenever the dog is left alone.
Separation anxiety is often triggered by either a high contrast situation – months of the owner home all day followed by sudden eight-hour absences – or some sort of life change – rehoming, a stay at a boarding kennel, a death of a key family member or major change in routine.

Separation anxiety is both preventable and responds well to treatment. The treatment approach depends on whether the case is mild or severe. The first step is recognizing that dogs with separation anxiety are not misbehaving out of boredom, spite or for fun. Some dogs with separation anxiety are fine when left alone in the car or fine when the owner leaves with slippers on to take out the garbage – they have learned the difference between “long absence” pictures and “short absence” pictures. Others are anxious in all contexts.

Preventing Separation Anxiety

Puppies and newly adopted dogs are at higher risk to develop separation anxiety if they are smothered with constant attention their first few days home. It is much better to leave for brief periods extremely often so the dog’s early learning about departures is that they are no big deal and predict easy, tolerable lengths of absence: “whenever she leaves, she comes back.”
Give your dog both physical exercise and mental work to do. Not only does problem solving increase confidence and independence, it is mentally fatiguing and so increases the likelihood that your dog will rest quietly when he is left alone. Teach him to play hide and seek with his toys, teach him tricks, learn to “free shape” with a clicker (enroll in a SFSPCA course and find out how!), get him involved in a sport like obedience, Flyball or Agility, let him free-play with other dogs, stuff all or part of his food ration into Kong toys, teach him how to play fetch and tug. The more activities and toys are incorporated into his life, the less he will depend on human social contact as sole stimulation.
Soften the blow of your departures by providing extremely enticing stuffed toys for him to unpack. See our “Kong Toy Stuffing” handout for tips on improving your technique!

Mild Separation Anxiety

Reduce the contrast between when you’re gone and when you’re home. Refrain from smothering him with affection (see the “mental work” options above to discover other ways of interacting with your dog). Regularly interrupt his shadowing you around the house continuously when you’re home by baby-gating him into another room for short periods. This is like practicing a “semi-absence.” Do many, many extremely brief (1 – 30 seconds) absences with no fanfare on departure or arrival. Increase physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Severe Separation Anxiety

In severe cases, the informal interventions above will usually not help. What’s needed is a formal program of systematic desensitization to change the dog’s deeply ingrained emotional reaction to departure. The track record of systematic desensitization is excellent for resolving separation anxiety, however it is a huge amount of work for the dog’s caregiver!

The key is to observe the dog for the first signs of anxiety during the owner’s usual ritual prior to leaving the house. Most dogs with severe separation anxiety start becoming anxious before the owner leaves. They have learned the “picture” associated with imminent departure and begin panting, pacing, salivating, whining or hiding. In fact, these symptoms of pre-departure anxiety are one of the ways separation anxiety can be distinguished from recreational chewing or behavior problems that result from dogs simply not understanding the rules or lacking outlets for their energy.

Once the kick-off point of the pre-departure anxiety is found, treatment begins by repeatedly commencing the ritual at this point but not adding the subsequent steps or leaving, to teach the dog to relax in the presence of the cues that formerly triggered anxiety. Once the dog is relaxed, subsequent steps in the ritual leading up to departure and, finally, real absences are gradually introduced, always contingent on the dog’s continued relaxation. The dog is then, over time, worked back up to normal length absences. The hard part for the owner is that, for the duration of this treatment, the dog cannot experience absences in day to day life that are longer than the point he has reached in treatment exercises. This means essentially that, early on in treatment, the dog cannot be left alone. Owners typically employ dog-sitters, vacation time, doggie day-care and bringing the dog to work to manage this during treatment.

Information based on article from The San Francisco SPCA Behavior and Training Department