Thanksgiving Food is for People, Not Pets

As you are probably aware, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that means tasty food is in our future. I can almost taste the turkey and mashed potatoes now.

Although our Thanksgiving banquet is good for humans, its not always the case that our food will be good for our pets. It’s conventional wisdom that giving chocolate to your dog is a no-no as it contains theobromine, a cardiac stimulant (methamphetamine and cocaine are cardiac stimulants). But what about other food items, especially those found around the holiday?

Turkey: From looking on the internet, I haven’t found anything that shows any intrinsic danger in your dog consuming turkey. The problem occurs when owners give their dogs turkey bones to chew on. Turkey bones, as well as chicken bones, can easily splinter, get swallowed, and end up causing some serious damage to your dogs digestive system. Like, “internal bleeding” serious.

I have seen someone suggest putting some dog food or even some turkey in a Kong and letting your dog play with that while you and your family sit down to eat.

Onions: I have seen conflicting reports about the lethality of onions in canines. Some sources seem to say that onions are extremely dangerous and your dog should stay away from anything cooked in onions. The more believable sources point out that if your dog is going to die from eating onions your dog would have to have an allergy to onions or your dog is going to have to eat a lot of onions, obviously depending on weight.

I found one source (although I can’t find another source to back it up) that claims the LD50 (or lethal dosage) for onions in dogs is 1oz of onions for 5lbs of your dog.

So the LD50 for a 65lb Black Lab would be about 12oz. Assuming one medium onion is 5oz, that dog would have to eat a little more than two onions to eat a fatal dose.

Obviously a 7lb Yorkshire Terrier wont be able to eat much than 1oz of onion to receive a lethal dose.

These seem like large amounts of onions for a dog to eat but, if your dog is eating even small quantities of onions on a regular basis, it can still be unhealthy and cause anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, and death. From the conflicting data, I would err on the side of caution and not give my dog onions.

If you are a cat owner, you should never give your cats onions. Onions are extremely lethal to cats

Alcohol: Giving your dogs alcoholic beverages is never a good idea. Dogs are smaller than humans and just can’t process alcohol like we can. Dogs will exhibit side effects of alcohol intoxication similar to that of humans. Intoxication in dogs can lead to vomiting, depression, coma, and even death.

Remember to take out your garbage and make sure your dog doesn’t have access to it. Although you may not intentionally give your dog dangerous food items like, beer, chocolate, bones, onions, and sugar free gum, your dog might find a way of getting into the garbage if the temptation isn’t removed.

Be thankful for you dogs this holiday and show your love by feeding your pets food designed for them, not human food.

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!

Dog Longevity

One thing about dogs that fascinates me the most is the differences in lifespans between dog breeds.

At 29 years of age, the Australian Cattle Dog name Bluey is the oldest living dog, passing away in 1939. However, a study regarding longevity in Australian Cattle Dogs showed that most Australian Cattle Dogs live, on average, 13.41 years. Although Australian Cattle Dogs live longer than average, it’s not the longest living breed of dog.

As for the longest living dog breeds, these breeds are amongst the average longest living: Toy Poodle 14.67 years, Miniature Dachshund 14.4 years, Canaan Dog 14.67 years, Swedish Vallhund 14.77, Border Terrier 14 years, and Cairn Terrier 14 years.

The Dogue de Bordeaux, or French Mastiff, has the shortest life span of 5.29 years. Other breeds like the Irish Wolfhound and Bloodhound have an average lifespan of around 7 years.

The British Veterinary Association compiled results of a survey by dog owners who gave information about their deceased dogs, resulting in information from 3,000 dogs.

From the abstract of the article: “The mean age at death (all breeds, all causes) was 11 years one month, but in dogs dying of natural causes it was 12 years eight months. Only 8 per cent of dogs lived beyond 15, and 64 per cent of dogs died of disease or were euthanased as a result of disease. Nearly 16 percent of deaths were attributed to cancer, twice as many as to heart disease.”

If you are interested in more information regarding breeds and their average life spans, you might want to check out Dog Longevity created by Dr. Kelly M. Cassidy. On the site you will find information on life spans of dog breeds, including information from the US, Canada, and the UK. You will probably notice some variance in breed life span between the different countries. I would attribute this to statistical noise and probably not habits of dog owners by nation. None of the differences in life spans between the countries seems to be statistically significant.

I realize there is so much more information that could be covered but, I just wanted to give you all a brief overview of dog breed longevity and some interesting facts. There is just an overwhelming amount of information and a multitude of variables when it comes to the life spans of all the different breeds of dogs. Selective breeding has given us a wide variety of dogs and a wide variety of health concerns for these dogs. Future posts about health issues, selective breeding, designer dogs, diet and other posts will hopefully provide more information about the life spans of our dogs.

Do you have any stories about the life span of your dog or a dog you know? Any anomalies you have witnessed in the age of a dog?


Greetings and welcome to my blog!

As you can tell due to the lack of posts, I am just starting out. If you continue to watch my blog, you will find all sorts of information about dogs from dog license requirements in the Omaha Area to myths and facts about our furry four-legged companions. Even if you aren’t living in the Omaha, NE Area, you will still find plenty of information that is pertinent to any dog owner.

You can also look forward to seeing regular posts where I focus on a particular breed of dog and tell you all there is to know about that breed.

Good things are coming. Stay tuned!