Many people give their pets table scraps. But before you feed your dog something other than dog food, look over this list. You might not realize that some of these very common foods can be dangerous and even poisonous to your pet. The list includes some things that at first glance don’t seem like they would be harmful, but they are. Be sure you aren’t giving your pets any of the foods listed below and if you do contact your vet or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control line.
These six foods are really bad for your pet and if they are consumed can possibly do permanent damage.
- Chocolate. Chocolate seems to be the main food that people mention with respect to poisoning an animal. The darker the chocolate, the worse it is for your pet, so dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the worst. Also they more they consume the worse it is. As a child we unknowingly used an M&M bag to lure our dog home if she ran off. Fortunately M&Ms have milk chocolate and plenty of sugar. This is NOT recommended, but in small doses it may not cause any permanent damage. In large doses it can cause heart problems, muscle tremors or seizures. The compound in chocolate that is of major concern is theobromine.
- Grapes and Raisins. It’s unlikely your cat will eat these anyway but if your dog eats grapes or raisons it can cause kidney failure.
- Xylitol – This sweetener is commonly used in gum, sugar-free candy, toothpaste, mints and even baked goods. It’s more dangerous for dogs than cats. It can be lethal even in small doses for dogs because it causes liver failure. It can happen fast, within 48 hours. If your pet finds a pack of gum and eats it, get them to the vet immediately.
- Alcohol – This sounds like an obvious one but you never know. Pets can become intoxicated and alcohol is bad for their liver. Also because pets body weight can be so much lower than a human even a small amount can kill them. Learn more.
- Yeast dough – While your probably wouldn’t feed this to your pet on purpose, some pets like to raid your kitchen countertop. Yeast dough once it is cooked the yeast is no longer growing, but the dough before it’s cooked can rise inside your pets digestive system and cause serious gas. It can also twist around inside your pets stomach and cause life threatening problems. Learn more.
- Raw wild pork and game – These foods can contain parasites unless they have been frozen for three weeks or more. Your pet can get Aujeszky’s Disease, which is incurable and fatal to dogs and cats. Learn more.
If think your pet has consumed any of these you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
Dangerous, but not life threatening
These foods are not good for your pet but it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.
- Coconut Oil – This tops the list, because I’ve heard people recommend this for their pet if they have itchy skin. Coconut oil can cause stomach upset. It’s not poisonous, but it can give your pet diarrhea.
- Caffeine. It’s not surprising that caffeine is on the list of things that pets should stay away from. Caffeine can can cause your pet to have rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, panting and excessive thirst.
- Dairy Products. We often hear that giving cats a bowl of milk is a treat, but cats and dogs lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose. By nature, they are lactose-intolerant. Feeding them dairy can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Onions and Garlic. This includes scallions, leeks, chives and all varieties of onions. This category is not dangerous, unless your pet consumes a large amount. If pets consume onions and garlic on a regular basis, it may cause stomach upset and even anemia. This category can be overlooked easily, because onions and garlic are included in so many foods that we forget they are there if your pet eats a lot of table scraps. Cats can be more susceptible to problems than dogs.
- Tuna. Tuna, when made into cat food, is perfectly fine for cats. On the other hand, tuna sold for human consumption may cause digestive upset when given as an occasional treat in small amounts. It can even cause a painful condition called steatitis, or inflammation of the body’s fat, when fed to cats on a regular basis. Learn more.
- Macadamia nuts, walnuts and pecans and hickory nuts – These foods are not poison to your pet but they are particularly high in fat. If you pet consumes a lot of them it can cause pancreatitis in animals that are already susceptible.
- Fat Trimmings, Raw Meat, Raw Eggs and Raw Fish. Some (not all) raw meat and raw eggs contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. There is a risk of vomiting and diarrhea just like there is for people. Unfortunately fat trimmings are even more dangerous for cats, they can cause pancreatitis.
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