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8 Things to Never Feed Your Cat or Dog


It is common knowledge that animals can become very sick from chocolate, but did you know that there are many more common foods that are toxic to animals like gum, avocados, grapes, some nuts, etc. Many people think that dogs and cats can eat what humans eat. We often do not think twice about giving them a bite of our cookie or worry too much when they scavenge for food. The problem is that dogs and cats do not metabolize foods the same way we do, and many of the foods we eat are dangerous for them. These are the eight most harmful foods to keep away from your pets.

1. Xylitol. One of the more universal sweeteners in sugar-free products, xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in the fibers of many fruits, vegetables and mushrooms. It is typically found in sugarless gum, toothpaste and many low-calorie baked goods. While xylitol has no known toxicity in humans, just a single stick of sugar-free gum can cause insulin levels to spike and send your pet into a coma from low blood sugar. Ingesting higher amounts of xylitol can create serious liver problems, leading to death. Cats are also susceptible to xylitol poisoning. Vomiting can occur soon after ingestion, followed by hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) within the next hour. At this point, the animal may act lethargic and lose coordination as a result of lowered sugar levels. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few short hours or days. If caught within the first few hours and taken to a veterinary clinic, many pets can be nursed back to health by inducing vomiting and receiving emergency care.

2. Chocolate. One chocolate bar can be deadly to a dog or a cat. When pets ingest chocolate at first, they may display signs of hyperactivity, discomfort or excessive thirst. Often, these symptoms give way to abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death. Baking chocolate and dark chocolates, which contain more of these compounds, are far more dangerous than milk chocolate or white chocolate.

3. Avocados. The avocado fruit, when consumed by dogs and cats, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Birds and rodents such as hamsters and guinea pigs are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning and can develop lung congestion, difficulty breathing, and fluid accumulation around the heart. Larger amounts of ingested avocado can create similar symptoms in cats and dogs and even cause death.

4. Macadamia nuts. Dog owners should be especially mindful not to feed cookies with nuts, especially store-bought ones where you may not know all of the ingredients used. Beyond typical macadamia nut cookies, other flavors of commercial cookies and even some brownies and cakes contain macadamia powder or oil as an ingredient. Macadamia nuts are known to cause vomiting, incoordination, tremors and hypothermia (low body temperature) in dogs. On the other hand, they do not seem to have the same effect on cats and other domestic animals. Dogs typically develop these signs between 12 and 48 hours after ingestion. It is always recommended that if pets become ill, they should immediately be taken to a veterinary clinic where emergency treatment may include IV fluids and pain and fever medications.

5. Grapes and raisins. Some pets show more sensitivity to grapes and raisins than others. Ingesting too many can lead to organ failure, which requires the pet to be hospitalized for life saving fluid therapy and treatment. It is believed that pets that already have a compromised immune system may have a more dramatic reaction to grape ingestion.

6. Yeast dough. The yeast in uncooked bread dough can rise in a pet’s digestive system and cause high amounts of gas to accumulate. This can cause an animal’s stomach or intestines to rupture and possibly lead to a painful death. While the risk is much lower for pets when the dough has been cooked, it is best to keep all foods with yeast out of their mouths.

7. Onions and garlic. For cats this is a major issue, but a dog’s health can also be put at risk by onion ingestion in particular. In both animals, the compounds found in onions, garlic, shallots and scallions work on the red blood cells making them less capable of carrying oxygen throughout the body. Garlic tends to be much more toxic than the common onion. Also, garlic and onion powders which are typical ingredients in many soups, baby food and meat sauces, can be quiet killers. Symptoms typically do not show up immediately. The animal can become lethargic; have pale gums or dark-colored urine. In the most severe cases of these poisonings, a blood transfusion may be needed to save the animal’s life. Some people believe garlic is a natural way to protect their pets from fleas and use it daily. Not only has it been proven to not be effective in flea prevention, it can be deadly.

8. Marijuana edibles. Since marijuana has become legal for medical use in several states, it is often sold in more potent forms. Many edibles are now made with it that your dog would be happy to eat. Animals do not react to the chemicals in cannabis the same way humans do. Pet owners who use marijuana edibles in their homes must exercise caution and keep these items securely packaged and out of reach of dogs and cats.

Pet poisoning from foods is a serious problem. We know that people think that their pet wants variety in their diet. This is not true. Your pet will be very content with the food that is made especially for them. It is best to limit the food that your pet gets from the table or your plate to avoid unknown dangers to your pets. If you have any questions or believe that your pet has ingested something they should not have, please call Ash Veterinary Clinic in Carleton at 734-782-2827.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: