If you're like most dog owners, you want the very best for your canine companion, and you make sure that you feed it a healthy diet. However, dogs are what are known as opportunity eaters — they're hardwired to gulp food down quickly, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to becoming ill from eating something they shouldn't. Following are three things that you need to know about how to keep your dog from eating the wrong foods.
Protect Your Pet During Backyard Barbecues
Backyard barbecues can be fun for everyone, and it's only natural for you to want to include your furry friend in the festivities. However, many of the foods commonly served at barbecues are bad for dogs, especially those covered in sauces. Traditional barbecue and burger staples — garlic and onions — are also harmful to dogs if ingested.
The biggest problem with outdoor cookouts is that unless you keep your dog leashed at your side the entire time, it may still ingest food that is unsafe. People love to slip dogs treats even when they've been asked not to, and dogs are naturally stealthy when it comes to helping themselves to unattended leftovers.
Keep Contents of Trash Cans Inaccessible to Your Dog
Dogs also love to help themselves to the contents of unattended trash cans, so don't leave temptation in their path. Placing trash cans in areas that are inaccessible to your dog will help keep it from gulping down something that might make it sick.
Train Your Dog to Stop Eating on Command
This is a tough lesson for dogs to learn, but it's one that may save their lives. It takes most dogs at least several weeks of regular training to learn this thoroughly enough so that they'll stop eating immediately when given the command to do so. A sharp "stop" works best. Because it can be difficult to train a dog to ignore its natural urge to eat, this will likely take a lot of practice. If you are inexperienced at training dogs, you may want to enlist the help of a professional, especially if you routinely visit parks or wilderness areas where you don't have the same type of control over your environment that you do in your own home and yard. For instance, if you're walking your dog in a park and someone has dropped a piece of chocolate cake from a picnic on the trail, your dog needs to be trained well enough that it will drop the cake at once on command.
To learn more, contact a pet hospital.