Eight Top Foods Unsafe for Pets

November 26, 2013 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

You may be surprised to learn that many foods healthy to you can be toxic to your pets. In a few days, we’ll be in good spirits, and there will be food all over the house. While your dogs may be practicing their best pitiful faces for begging, cats may be employing their best stealth techniques for food heists. The best plan is to have dog or cat treats handy, if you want your pets to enjoy the holiday as well. But we all break down and give human food treats from time to time. Here are some good things to know.

Macadamia Nuts: As few as six macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of macadamia nut toxicosis usually appear within 12 hours. Symptoms include wobbling, depression, vomiting, muscle tremors, elevated body temperature, weakness, and elevated heart rate. Chocolate makes the effects worse and can lead to kidney failure.

Peaches and Plums: The pits contain cyanide. Humans don’t eat them, but dogs will gobble the pits up. This can also lead to intestinal obstruction.

Dough: Raw dough contains yeast and rises when exposed to heat. If your pet wolfs down some uncooked rolls, the yeast will rise in his stomach. This can cause severe pain. The process also creates alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Chocolate: Of course. Both sweetened and unsweetened. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and cats. Cats are more sensitive to theobromine, but less prone to each chocolate since cats can’t taste sweetness.

Avocados – “Hold the Guacamole Please”: Avocados contain a fatty acid derivative called persin. Persin is toxic to dogs and cats. In dogs and cats, avocados can cause stomach and bowel irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. The worst effects are seen in pets that have scavenged significant quantities of avocado from the trash. Birds and rodents are more sensitive to persin. In birds and rodents, avocados can cause respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and death. Avocados are also toxic to horses, cattle, and dairy goats.

Onions & Garlic – Well that Stinks: Onions pose some danger to dogs and cats because they contain thiosulphate. Consumed in small quantities, onions should not harm dogs and cats. In larger quantities or in concentrated forms (such as onion soup or onion powder), the thiosulphate in onions can cause a structural deficit in red blood cells. The ability to use oxygen will be affected. An affected pet will experience breathlessness, and a red pigment from rejected blood cells will become visible in the urine. Garlic can have the same effect on dogs & cats, but even larger quantities are required.

Grapes & Raisins: Grapes and raisins have been officially recognized by the ASPCA as toxins to dogs and cats. Grapes and raisins have been linked to kidney failure in dogs and cats, but the exact toxin causing the problems is unknown. Documented cases of negative effects show quantities ranging widely from only 9 ounces to 2 pounds. Symptoms occur about six hours after ingestion. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, sluggishness, and loss of appetite. Acute renal failure occurs in as little as three days after eating enough grapes or raisins.

Bones and Corn Cobs: Okay, these aren’t toxic, but they do deserve honorable mention. Bones and corn cobs given to dogs as treats can end up lodged in the dog’s intestines and cause a very serious blockage.

I hope we haven’t thoroughly terrified you, but it’s good to know that different species can have very different reactions to food. If you want to throw your dog or cat a treat, cooked, lean meat with fat and bones all removed is usually safe. The best strategy is to keep some cat and dog treats handy and to replace your pet’s normal meal with a can of something different if you want your pet to enjoy the holiday with you. [end]

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