Some foods that may sound healthy and delicious to you, could actually be dangerous for your pets. The nutrition experts at The Humane Society of the United States have put together a list of the top foods that are poisonous for dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Cherry pits
- Chocolate (and other candy)
- Coffee (grounds, beans)
- Hops (used in beer)
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
- Mushroom plants
- Mustard seeds
- Onions and onion powder
- Peach pits
- Potato leaves and stems
- Rhubarb leaves
- Tea (because it contains caffeine)
- Tomato leaves and stems
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
- Yeast dough
Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
Sadly, I have personal experience with this one. When I was a teenager, my boyfriend bought me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Our poodle, Pepi, found it while we were out and ate a LOT of it. He vomited a large amount back up, but after that he was never right. It wasn’t long after that he first went blind, then developed severe kidney disease. We ended up having to put him down. I don’t know for sure that eating the chocolate was the sole cause, but I’m guessing it certainly could’ve been. It was until years after that I learned about chocolate being toxic for dogs. Had I known that when I was a teenager, I could likely have prevented this tragedy. 🙁
Ingesting these products can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.
I think anyone who gives alcohol to a dog or cat is a complete idiot. Honestly, it’s infuriating. Why anyone would think this is funny is beyond me. Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Not funny!
I just found this one out recently. I know I’ve given my dachshund avocado in the past. Thank God I now know better! Turns out, the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Eating avocado may even be fatal for some dogs and cats.
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies, and can cause problems for dogs. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. This is a tricky one because it could be in something and you don’t know it. Seems the easiest way to avoid the ingestion of macadamia nuts is to avoid any baked goods.
Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Onions, Garlic, Chives
These can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset. Yes, this is true of cats too. Do they like it? Yes. Do they lap it up? Yes. Does it likely make them sick? Yes! The make milk alternatives for kitties…try those instead.
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Don’t share the potato chips with the dog!
For more information on keeping your pet safe from consuming harmful foods, see How To Keep The Dog Out Of The Garbage. And please, if you have any additional information you’d like to share that could be helpful to prevent our beloved pets from getting sick, please comment below! Debra
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