While many children are fine after consuming dog food, there are several risks that parents must be aware of in order to assess the situation.
If you find out that your toddler has eaten dog food, your first instinct may be rushing to the emergency room. At best, you will confuse the nurses with your reason for being there. Why? Dog food isn’t exactly toxic, but there are some signs of danger to watch out for. Find out what to do when your baby eats dog food and how to stop this annoying habit.
What to do if your toddler eats dog food
The first is to treat any immediate side effects like suffocation, allergic reactions, or general illness. You should discuss serious reactions with a doctor. If there are no obvious changes, check the dog food ingredients. Ask: Is Your Toddler Allergic To An Ingredient?
The next thing to do is to check to see if the dog food is being recalled. You can do a google search for the food. Eg “Remember (name of dog food).” Check the websites of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA), DogFoodAdvisor, or Petful. Check the websites for dog food recalls. For more information, visit the FDA on Twitter.
If the dog food is recalled, you can (1) call poison control at toll-free number 1-800-222-1222 or (2) take your toddler to the hospital and take the dog food away.
Many children were after eating dog food
Toddlers all over the world eat dog food because it is fascinating and smells nice. It won’t kill your toddler, but it won’t encourage the habit. Take it from these mothers in the What To Expect Community:
- “There is nothing in dog food that could harm him. My nephew did it all the time he was little, he’s 11 now”
- “My 23 months old loves to sit next to our 3 dogs and eat from the bowl with them. I think it’s very funny …”
- “My brothers really seemed to enjoy it. We kept catching them eating with the dog, they also tried dog biscuits. It never bothered them.”
The dangers of consuming dog food
Even though many children have felt well after consuming dog food, they must be aware of the following risks:
Dog food contains by-products from human nutrition
According to the PFMA, dog food contains animal by-products, meat, fish, grains, vitamins, vegetables and water. However, according to Seattle Children, fresh pet food will not harm your toddler, even if the dog has eaten some of it. What won’t harm your dog probably won’t harm your baby. Unless your toddler is allergic to any ingredient in dog food. The most common side effects of consuming dog food are:
- Stomach pain.
- Sandy poop.
- Bad mouth.
If your toddler has eaten dog food before and nothing has happened, everything is fine. But there are some more serious dangers with dog food.
Dog Food Risks as Choking Hazards
Dry dog food can choke your child. The NHS recommends back thrusting, abdominal thrusting, or chest thrusting to remove the food. If it doesn’t work, call 911.
It can also be a salmonella hazard
According to ABC News, commercial pet food is at high risk of salmonella, which thrives in humid environments during processing. Touching or eating infected pet food will poison your toddler. Your dog also appears to be okay with eating infected food as salmonella live in the intestines.
According to Medicinenet, symptoms of salmonella poisoning occur between 12 and 72 hours after consumption. These symptoms include:
- Stomach pain.
The dog can develop food aggression
Your dog could become aggressive if your toddler snagged some of their food. It is usual.
How to protect your toddler
- Keep dog food and utensils out of the reach of your toddler.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Feed your dog away from your children.
- If you catch your toddler eating dog food, replace them with human food.
NEXT: Dog & toddler go viral for a delightful ride in a toy convertible
Sources: What To Expect Community, Medicinenet, ABC News, NHS, PFMA, Seattle Children,
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About the author
(561 articles published)
Karen Maina is an avid reader, writer, and editor based in Nairobi, Kenya. She was an administrative assistant, marketing director, senior sales consultant, tutor and content creator. She now works as an organic list writer for Valnet, Inc, covering BabyGaga, TheTalko, Moms.com, TheRichest, and other websites. A graduate of Kenyatta University’s Hospitality and Tourism program, she reads, travels, listens to music and catches up with her favorite television shows.
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