While we may think of them as our children, dogs and cats are not little people and they have their own unique metabolisms. Some of the things we can eat, they cannot and certain foods can be very dangerous, even lethal to our pets.
If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and when and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
1. Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. It takes nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If the chocolate was only just eaten, it is possible to induce vomiting; otherwise, hospitalization and support are needed until the chocolate has worked its way out of the system.
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.
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which 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. Some ingestions may even be fatal.
4. Macadamia Nuts
These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
5. Grapes and Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure in some pets. To treat this poisoning, dogs need to be hospitalized and treated with intravenous fluids for a minimum of 48 hours. Some dogs will need dialysis to recover.
6. Yeast dough
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 and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats.
7. 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. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin(vitamin B) , which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones or have a bone splinter become lodged in or puncture the digestive tract.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many sugar-free products, including gum, candy, baked goods, toothpaste and even peanut butter. In dogs, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream within 30 minutes of ingestion and causes a amount of insulin to be released. This causes a profound hypoglycemia(lowered blood sugar level) which can be severe enough to cause death.
In dogs, xylitol can also cause severe liver damage, leading to bleeding, liver failure and death. lnitial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbency and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
9. Onions, Garlic and Chives
These vegetables and herbs 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.
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.