What your kids need to know about feeding the family pet

It's well worth being aware of these if you have a cat or dog. Some things on the list are pretty surprising...


Last week we read a really sad story in Metro about a dog who died after eating corn on the cob.


Owner Joanne Palmer said dog Saffy must have found and eaten the corn while out out for a walk – and she had no idea it could be such a danger.

‘Both myself and husband, Johnny, 42, first thought she had been poisoned,” Joanne told Metro.

“The vets told us they could feel something hard in her stomach and prepared to operate. 

“But unbeknownst to us, the core of a cob had travelled through her intestines like a cheese grater. And despite their best efforts, she started to bleed and died later that day.

“We were left heartbroken and it wasn’t until last week that we found out it was due to a lodged cob.”

And when we spoke to the BVA (British Veterinary Association), they confirmed that things a dog could get hold of and ingest – like corn on the cob, golf balls or even children’s toys – can be so dangerous precisely because they’re hard to digest and can cause internal damage. President of the British Veterinary Association Gudrun Ravetz told MadeForMums:

“Dogs are well known scavengers and will eat anything they think is a tasty morsel. Corn itself is not poisonous to dogs, but a cob can act as an obstruction which can have devastating effects in the digestive system.

“We would recommend that owners are aware of what their dog is doing at all times, especially if they are out for a walk off the lead. If an owner has any concerns that their dog has eaten something it should not have done, we’d advise contacting their local vet immediately.”

Poisonous substances

While eating objects that are difficult to digest is a danger for dogs, there’s another worry, too.

Some everyday household items and food that can be poisonous to pets are not necessarily obvious.

The BVA gave us 2 lists of things to watch out for, which we’ve divided into food and other regular household items.

Take a look:

Potentially harmful food for cats and dogs

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins, currents, sultanas
  • Xylitol (found in sugar free treats)
  • Nuts
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Mouldy food

Potentially harmful household items 

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (eg aspirin, ibuprofen)
  • Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Antifreeze

In addition, cats should be kept away from lilies and dog flea treatment containing permethrin.

Of course, it can be pretty hard to keep an eye on your pets 24/7 – but a good rule of thumb is to make sure your children know that pets should only be given their specific treats and food to eat, and no other leftovers/snacks.

It’s also a good idea to have some chew toys for your dog which might stop them going for your kids’ toys, just to be on the safe side.

And, if you can, keeping your children’s toys away from your dog’s reach or putting them in a closed room.

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