We all may be a little guilty of indulging our fur babies sometimes with table scraps, or by sharing a tasty human treat with them. And there are foods we eat that are definitely safe for our pets to eat too.
In fact last week, I talked about healthy fruits and veggies great for sharing. This week I’ll tell you about the foods that are a definite NO for your pets.
These foods can be downright deadly! Many of them you may already know are dangerous. Some may be a surprise.
You may not believe in giving your pet human food, and that’s okay. But you can still find yourself with a sick dog or cat that ate something they shouldn’t have. A pet parent’s vigilance can’t always prevent a dog or cat from helping themselves to something left on the counter or in the pantry.
If your pet is showing signs they ate something they shouldn’t have (vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, difficulty breathing, seizures), call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 888-426-4435, your vet, or the emergency clinic without delay.
Here are 15 foods to keep out of reach of your pets.
Alcohol – Besides the symptoms above that would be typical if your pet ate any of these foods, alcohol can also cause decreased coordination and even death. Keep any alcoholic beverages or foods made with alcohol, away from your pet.
Avocado – It contains persin—a fungicidal toxin similar to a fatty acid—which is toxic to pets in large amounts. Persin is not only in the fruit, it’s also in the leaves, seed and bark of the avocado plant. So also be careful if you grow avocados.
Caffeine – Anything with caffeine is dangerous to your pet. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, sports drinks, and soda all have caffeine. In addition to the typical symptoms associated with eating something harmful, signs of caffeine poisoning are hyperactivity, restlessness, heart palpitations and excessive thirst. And it can cause death.
Chocolate – Theobromine is the component in chocolate that’s toxic to our pets. Like caffeine—also present in chocolate—it’s in the methylxanthine class of drugs. Methylxanthines are beneficial to human health but can be deadly for your dog or cat.
Dark chocolate has higher levels of theobromine than milk or white chocolate. Baking chocolate has the most.
Coconut, Coconut Oil, Coconut Water – A small amount of coconut probably won’t hurt your pet. But it may cause diarrhea. In large amounts, it can make your pet really sick. And never give your pet coconut water because it has high levels of potassium (good for humans but not your fur baby).
Grapes and Raisins – No one knows for sure what makes grapes and raisins toxic. But we do know that it can cause kidney failure. So although your dog may love chasing a grape around the kitchen floor… refrain.
Macadamia Nuts – Nuts contain a lot of oils and fats which can cause stomach distress and even pancreatitis. But macadamias, for some reason no one’s certain of, will make your pet very sick.
Milk and Dairy – Dairy products may make your pet sick but they won’t likely kill them. Dogs and cats don’t have a lot of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. As a result, too much dairy can mean diarrhea and stomach upset, not unlike lactose intolerance in humans.
Even cats, reputed milk guzzlers, should stay away from the white stuff.
Onions, Garlic and Chives – These three are alliums and ingesting them can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs and cats. It’s serious and can cause weakness, breathlessness, loss of interest in food and potentially death.
They’re dangerous in all forms; raw, powdered, cooked and dehydrated. And it’s not just a large amount that will make your pet ill. Even small amounts consumed regularly can cause poisoning.
Cats seem to be more susceptible but dogs are also at risk if they consume too much.
Persimmons – The seeds of the persimmon are the problem. They can cause inflammation and/or block the small intestine.
Raw Meat, Raw Eggs, Raw Fish – The biggest concern with raw meat and eggs is bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli that can make pets and people sick.
Raw fish can contain a parasite that causes “fish disease” or “salmon poisoning” disease. It can be fatal if not treated. But cooking does kill the parasite.
Raw eggs also contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases absorption of biotin (an important B vitamin). This can lead to skin and coat problems. But avidin is destroyed when eggs are cooked.
Raw Bones – Many people give their dogs raw bones because they feel it’s a natural treat… something dogs would have consumed in the wild. But domesticated dogs should never chew on a raw bone. They’re not their wild ancestors.
Raw bones are dangerous because they splinter and can damage the digestive tract. They’re also a choking hazard.
Salty Foods – Our pets aren’t intended to consume salt. Sharing salty human snacks like chips and pretzels is a bad idea. Too much salt can cause sodium poisoning which has the usual symptoms… vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, seizures, and can lead to death.
Xylitol – This natural sweetener is safe for humans and found in gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. But it’s particularly dangerous for our pets.
It causes insulin release which can ultimately lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If your pet consumes xylitol they may become lethargic, lose coordination and vomit. The symptoms can progress to seizures, elevated liver enzymes, and liver failure in only a few days.
So keep your pet out of your purse, the kids’ backpacks, suitcases… anywhere there may be items sweetened with xylitol.
Yeast Dough – Yeast causes dough to rise. If swallowed, the yeast dough may rise in your pet’s stomach. This can be painful and cause bloat – a life-threatening emergency. You can read my post about the signs and dangers of bloat here.
Yeast is also dangerous because it produces ethanol. Ethanol is alcohol. If raw bread dough is ingested, your pet can become drunk. The same dangers of consuming alcohol I mentioned above apply to yeast consumption.
Many of the items on this list are probably foods you would never consider giving your pet. Some of the items may be foods you’ve given to your pet in the past. But knowing what may be harmful can head off a lot of heartache. And knowing the signs of poisoning can be life saving.
Has your pet ever consumed one of these toxic foods? Tell us about your experience at the top. Maybe you can save another pets life.