My sweet Roscoe is the love of my life. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he were to get sick. I know you feel the same way about your dog as I do about mine. Seeing your dog suffer is beyond heartbreaking.
Just like us humans, there are a lot of reasons why dogs can get sick. Perhaps one of the most common – and preventable – causes of dog illness is food. Unfortunately, a lot of dog food isn’t safe. A sharp rise in pet food recalls and lawsuits in recent years clearly indicates this issue. High levels of toxins and other issues could cause serious health hazards for pups, or worse, death.
Toxic food isn’t the only reason why a dog can get sick. A lot of dogs have allergies, and if the food they eat contains ingredients that they are allergic to, the results could be devastating.
Signs of Food-Related Illness
As always, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If you notice any of these red flags, there’s a chance that your dog’s food could be making him sick.
- Change in bowels. If you notice a marked change in your dog’s bowels – he’s constipated or has loose stools – his dog food could be to blame. Just like people, when food is causing illness in dogs, the digestive tract is often impacted. If you’ve ever had food poisoning, for example, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
- Vomiting. If your dog is throwing up, and it seems to happen almost every time he eats, his food may be bothering his stomach.
- Increased itchiness. Even the healthiest dogs get itches that they need to scratch, but if you notice that your dog is constantly scratching or rubbing his back on the floor, the increased itchiness could be food-related. It’s actually a pretty common sign of an allergy.
- Weight loss. Food-related illness often leads to weight loss. This weight loss is usually the result of the dog’s inability to absorb vital nutrients.
- Lethargic. If your once spunky, active dog who was always ready to play suddenly seems to be sleeping more or has no energy to do much more than lie on the ground, his decreased energy levels could be caused by a reaction to his food.
- Disinterested in food. If your dog has always had a zest for eating but suddenly has no interest, the reason for his disinterest could be related to the food itself.
How Food Can Make Dogs Sick
There are a number of ways that food can make a dog sick. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues:
- Salomonella. This bacterium affects various types of animals, including dogs. It can affect dogs who are fed a raw meat diet, as well as those who are fed mass-produced dog foods, including those that are made with the healthiest ingredients. Unfortunately, food can become affected with salmonella, and if a dog consumes the contaminated food, he will likely end up getting ill. The signs of salnomellosis (the sickness caused by salmonella poisoning) include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and lethargy.
- Melamine. Though this synthetic chemical is primarily used to produce plastic, it has also been used to boost protein in pet food. It is highly toxic, and should your dog consume it, he could develop melamine poisoning. Side effects of this illness include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite. If it is not treated or if your dog continues to consume food that contains this element, there is the potential for kidney failure and death.
- Aflotoxicosis. This illness is caused by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, toxins that have been found in corn, soy, peanuts and other types of cereal grains. It can affect the livestock and grains that are used in dog food. Signs of alfotoxicosis include vomiting, decreased appetite and lethargy. It can also cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which could result in death.
If you believe that your dog’s food is making him sick, schedule an appointment with the vet right away. A thorough examination will determine the cause of illness and your pup will receive necessary medical treatment. Also, make sure you speak to your vet about food options that are safe for your four-legged family member to eat.