Tag Archives: Alcohol

Labrador and pit bull mix puppies

Digestive Dangers Dog Dogs

There’s a reason human food is called that.

You’re supposed to feed human food to, well, humans. Same thing with dog food. Although, I did grow up with a girl who enjoyed nothing more than snacking on a dog biscuit, but I think that was more along the lines of a cry for attention than an actual appreciation for the crispy taste.

A recent article in the Huffington Post went on about twelve human foods that can harm dogs. And I’m not talking about dropping a huge wheel of Cheddar cheese on your dog’s head. Don’t do that, either. No, these are foods that are dangerous if digested.

In yesterday’s post, I went over the first part of the article, which included foods like chocolate, milk, cheese (see?), avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, garlic and onions.

This go round, I start with something I’ve been doing to Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, with a distressing regularity.

The humans in our family love apples. Their favorite is the Honey Crisp varietal, which is pretty expensive. Because of the cost, I’ve encouraged the young dudes not to share their cut-up apples with the dog, no matter how much he begs. However, they and I have a tendency to give in to those puppy-dog eyes and drop the dog the apple’s core.

Turns out, that’s not such a smart thing to do. Apparently, apple cores (as well as the cores of plums, peaches, pears and apricots) contain cyanogenic glycocides, which you might know better as cyanide. Yeah, the poison. It’s not enough to drop you in your tracks if you eat just one, but it can build up and dogs weigh less than a human, so it builds up quicker.

Another no-no is feeding the dog active bread yeast or dough. If a dog ate active yeast dough, it can ferment in his stomach producing toxic alcohol or could expand in the digestive system, producing dangerous levels of gas and rupture the stomach or intestine.

One of the reasons we’re told not to give a dog chocolate is that chocolate contains caffeine, which is bad for them. (Us, too, but no way am I giving up my Diet Coke.) So it should go without saying that you shouldn’t actually let your dog drink the leftover half-caff, skinny latte. Or any coffee. Or Coke. Or Monster or other energy drink.

Caffeine overstresses the dog’s nervous system, leading to vomiting, hyperactivity, heart palpitations and even death.Bacon, yes, bacon, is bad for dogs. The poor dears.

Finally, most surprisingly, and most horribly, the food we’re not supposed to share with our doggie friends is. . . wait for it. . . not yet. . . bacon.

Yes, bacon.

I’ll pause here while we contemplate the appalling wasteland of the future without bacon. All right, enough. It’s not like we’re being told no more bacon, just don’t give it to Spyke.

Bacon, like most foods high in fat, can cause a dog’s pancreas to become inflamed (called pancreatitis) and stop working. Once that happens, the dog’s digestion gets all wacky and derails nutrient absorption.

All in all, that’s a pretty heavy and extensive list of human foods that are explicitly not for dogs.

Just to be safe, and prevent a lot of table-side begging, maybe we should just not feed Spot any human food at all.

Well, other than broccoli. Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, loves his broccoli and those greens are good for everybody.

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Schools need to start later each morning so teenagers can get the necessary amount of sleep, seeing as how recent research shows that teenagers are biologically wired to go to sleep later.

High School Students Sleeping In For Health

Teenagers aren’t lazy.

They don’t sleep late because they’re slug-a-beds, who’s only enthusiasm is for sleeping as long as possible. Biologically, they can’t help themselves. And having to go to a high school where classes start far too early in the a.m. doesn’t help either.

The four worst years of my life coincided with the four years Sarcasmo spent in high school.

His school started at 7:20 in the a.m. That meant he got up at 6:15 and I got up 15 minutes later, just in case. I barely made it through those four years and I know for a fact that the early start made Sarcasmo even crankier than he normally would have been.

Researchers have found that during adolescence, as hormones surge and the brain develops, teenagers who regularly sleep eight to nine hours a night learn better and are less likely to be tardy, get in fights or sustain athletic injuries. Sleeping well can also help moderate their tendency toward impulsive or risky decision-making.

That’s all well and good, but what teenager have you met who will be getting a regular eight to nine hours of sleep? Not many. After all, it seems like they can’t even force themselves to bed before 11 or 12 at night. It turns out that the reason for that late bed time isn’t just because teenagers are, by nature, prickly and annoying.

During puberty, teenagers have a later release of the “sleep” hormone melatonin, which means they tend not to feel drowsy until around 11 p.m. That inclination can be further delayed by the stimulating blue light from electronic devices, which tricks the brain into sensing wakeful daylight, slowing the release of melatonin and the onset of sleep. A Minnesota study noted that 88 percent of the students kept a cellphone in their bedroom.

That’s only one of the reasons I’ve been advocating for years that high schools need to start their days later. Teenagers’ biology basically prevents them from going to bed early enough to get the requisite hours of sleep each night. By starting school early, the school districts force teenagers into being perpetually sleep deprived.

Sure, stating high school later in the day might make sports practices end later and cut into time for some extracurricular activities or after-school jobs, but I think it’s a sacrifice that’s worth making. After all, the job of high schoolers is to excel in high school, so they can get to college and learn what’s necessary to get a good job. That’s much easier to do if they’ve been getting enough sleep every night.

New evidence suggests that later high school starts have widespread benefits. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studied eight high schools in three states before and after they moved to later start times in recent years. In results released Wednesday they found that the later a school’s start time, the better off the students were on many measures, including mental health, car crash rates, attendance and, in some schools, grades and standardized test scores.

I think part of the problem with moving high school start times to later is that, for some reason, there’s this sense of being a macho manly type if you’re able to do without a lot of sleep. It’s as if folks believe that sleep is for weenies. Do we really need to start toughening up teenagers by depriving them of sleep and then demanding they perform as if they were well rested?

The University of Minnesota study tracked 9,000 high school students in five districts in Colorado, Wyoming and Minnesota before and after schools shifted start times. In those that originally started at 7:30 a.m., only a third of students said they were able to get eight or more hours of sleep. Students who got less than that reported significantly more symptoms of depression, and greater use of caffeine, alcohol and illegal drugs than better-rested peers.

“It’s biological — the mental health outcomes were identical from inner-city kids and affluent kids,” said Kyla Wahlstrom, a professor of educational research at the University of Minnesota and the lead author of the study.

If you’re a dude who, like me, thinks it’s time for schools to start actually making decisions that are good for their students, then you should head on over to Start School Later, an advocacy group for health and safety in education.

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Boxing Day And Me With No Gloves

Well, no big, puffy gloves designed to hit people.

And, yes, dudes, I realize it’s not that kind of boxing.

Boxing Day is a rather Anglophilic holiday, being celebrated in UK, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa and a few other places. Traditionally, the day after Christmas was when the wealthy snobs would give gifts to the servants and tradesmen in what was known as a Christmas box. Hence, boxing day.

Nothing about the Sweet Science in the Squared Circle at all. (And thus ends my knowledge of boxing. Rather shallow, that.)

We don’t necessarily have the day off here in the states, but I definitely think we should. I mean, this is the Day of Recovery for most of us who celebrate Christmas, religious or no.

We’ve done the major clean up, but now it’s time to get our heads back on straight. Time to remember that people aren’t going to pop out of the chimney and hand us gifts just for being good little dudes and dudettes any more this year.

Time to realize that eggnog is appalling, like white snot in a glass and we really wouldn’t be drinking it if it weren’t some sort of tradition and, of course, filled with enough alcohol to anesthetize a very lost elephant who had suddenly found itself in a cocaine processing plant.

What?

It could happen. Maybe. Somewhere in the multiverse.

Moving on.

Today is the day my teenagers go back to being teenagers. Yesterday, on Christmas Day, they reverted to their younger selves and actually rose on their own, leapt from bed and came charging down the stairs, ready to take on the day. And anyone who stood between them and their presents.

On Boxing Day? Not so much.

There’ll be quiet in the house again this morning. The only one likely to make a noise is Buzz, the garbage disposal that walks like a dog, who’s still going to demand a walk at a reasonable hour. And, like the chump that I am, I’ll give it to him.

Boxing Day also is the Day of Regret. Mostly I’ll regret that I didn’t do a better job of listening to people during the year and, consequently, purchased presents for them that they didn’t really want and forget the stuff they did.

I love giving presents. I just wish I were better at it.

Regardless, today is the day we begin to ease back into the real world, to rejoin our real lives. Already in progress.

So what do you say, dudes?

Let’s get out there and live ‘em.

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