A baby feeding a dog its dinner may be cute, but could lead to awful consequences for your pooch. The RSPCA estimates that there were 8.5 million dogs in the UK in 2017 and, with close to 700,000 babies born in England and Wales each year, there’s a lot of potential for a dog to get hold of and consume a food item which it shouldn’t. Our dog cost us over £800 last year in vet bills due to multiple gastroenteritis and colitis cases. None of which were related to my daughter feeding him something he shouldn’t, although one was as a result of eating a plant in the garden that we didn’t know was toxic to canines!
Weaning is a messy period in a baby’s life – even more so if you’re doing baby-led weaning. Baby led weaning means your child is free to pick up and feed itself finger foods and, as most 6 month olds don’t have their pincher grip down to a tee, you can be sure of a lot of mess, spillages and food on the floor. Of course, any dog will sniff this food out in a heartbeat and help itself if you don’t take action to prevent him from doing so.
Foods your baby may eat which are dangerous for dogs
Garlic, chocolate, cheese, milk, yogurt, ham, onion, baby food containing onion powder, gravy, apple seeds, avocado, fish, grapes and raisins are all foods which are toxic to dogs. You may or may not feed these products to your child, but it’s likely you’ll have most of them stored in your kitchen. Be sure to keep them out of reach of dogs and inquisitive children who, when mobile, could quite easily feed your pet a packet of chocolate buttons whilst your back is turned.
Xylitol is a sweetener, used in place of sugar in items such as gum. It can also be found in some peanut butters. So you should always check the ingredients of your brand before giving any to your dog or your child, if you’ve got a pooch running around.
Top tips for keeping your dog safe:
- Keep your dog locked in another room from where your baby is eating.
- Never leave your baby and your dog unattended while your infant is eating.
- Ensure all unfinished packets of food are immediately stored away from your dog and your baby.
- Throw all empty packets into a bin with a secure lid straight away.
- Sweep and mop the floor surrounding the area where your baby has eaten.
- Discard uneaten food immediately to prevent your dog trying to get at it.
- Be sure to tell your baby ‘No’ if they attempt to give their food to your pet dog. Over time, they will understand that they shouldn’t do it and when they are older you can explain why the dog can’t eat their food.