Pets are members of the family, but they are also another species, and foods that are delicious treats for us, can be dangerous for your pet to eat. Some foods can be minor irritants, causing vomiting or stomach aches, but others can be very damaging, even fatal. Here are 13 foods that you need to hide from your pets. If they do ingest them, visit a vet or emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.
We all love chocolate, and it actually has a number of health benefits for humans, but it's quite toxic for cats and dogs. The higher the cocoa concentration, the worse your pet will suffer if they accidently gobble some chocolate. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause your pet to throw up, have diarrhea, abnormal heartbeats, seizures, kidney failure and death. The toxicity is relative to weight and the percentage of cocoa in the product, so the smaller your pet, the more at risk they are.
This popular sweet substitute is used by diabetics and those looking to cut sugar from their diet. This substance is commonly added to candies, chewing gum, and some baked goods. It’s also often found in oral care products as it can prevent tooth decay and dry mouth. While humans can harmlessly ingest xylitol, for pets a small amount can be fatal. They will initially vomit, become lethargic and lose their coordination. More serious symptoms include seizures, low blood sugar levels, liver failure and even death. Keep goods containing this ingredient far from your pets’ reach.
Caffeine isn’t even that healthy for humans, but many people love the boost of energy it offers. It’s commonly found in beverages such as coffee, tea, sodas and energy drinks as well as cocoa and chocolates. It’s more heavily concentrated in coffees and energy drinks. If a dog or cat consumes a large amount of the substance, they can experience seizures, tremors, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness and irregular breathing.
4. Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins are life threatening foods for dogs. It’s not known why they are so toxic but it’s best to keep them out of reach of your pooches. Dogs who ingest these can develop sudden kidney failure and anuria (a condition where no urine is produced). The initial symptoms will include vomiting and diarrhea within hours of ingesting the grapes or raisins.
5. Macadamia nuts
Nuts are among one of the healthiest foods for humans, but not so much for your dog. Macadamia nuts, in particular, are extremely gut-wrenching for a dog. When ingested, a dog can begin vomiting, have tremors, feel weak and develop a fever. While other nuts don't have quite such a dramatic effect, dogs will find them hard to digest and they can give them an upset stomachs if consumed.
6. Onions and garlic
While there are a huge range of medicinal uses for garlic, and it's a fantastic food flavorant, it's no good for your cat or dog. Similarly, onions can also cause your pet gastric distress. Both foods can cause gastrointestinal problems, resulting in life-threatening anemia, and can also damage their red blood cells. Cats are particularly at risk so keep these two foods away from them.
7. Fruit: Avocados, persimmons, peaches and plums
These delicious fruits offer many health benefits to humans, and can be delicious on their own or in a fruit salad. If you decide to keep them in your home, make sure your dog doesn’t get to try avocados, because it can cause them to throw up and develop diarrhea. Similarly, persimmon seeds can affect a dog’s stomach adversely. After you finish eating a delicious peach or plum, it’s best to dispose of the pits well. The pits are fatal for dogs (and humans too) as they contain cyanide.
8. Yeast dough
Baking bread is an enjoyable pastime for many, but the yeast that causes the bread to rise so invitingly is also harmful to your pets. Ingesting dough with yeast can affect their digestive system and cause them both excess gas and abdominal pain. After bread is baked you needn’t worry: Your dogs can have small amounts of bread as a treat, without adverse effects on their health.
9. Milk and dairy products
The image of cats sipping on milk is widespread but rather misleading. Dairy products can cause pets upset stomachs and diarrhea. This is because they don’t have a large amount of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, a key component of dairy products.
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10. Salt and sugar
These common additives are quite problematic for your pets. If they eat a large amount of salt,it can be poisonous to their systems. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, a high temperature, tremors, and seizures can occur, and they can cause death if left untreated. Similarly, sugar is not a toxic substance for pets, but if it's consumed in large amounts it can lead to the same problems humans develop, such as dental conditions, obesity,and diabetes.
Even a little bit of alcohol can impair your dog dramatically. If they sip on your wine or beer they might develop diarrhea, vomit, have seizures, experience decreased coordination levels and possibly even die. The severity depends on the amount of alcohol ingested. Like humans, their livers and brains are taxed similarly under the influence of alcohol. Remember - the smaller the dog, the worse the alcohol will affect it.
12. Raw or undercooked eggs, meat, and fish
While most people won’t be giving their pets’ uncooked eggs, they are often irresistible to pets, and sometimes they manage to get their paws on uncooked meat or fish lying around the kitchen. These can carry bacteria such as salmonella or E.coli, which can cause your pet food poisoning. Raw eggs have an enzyme that decreases biotin absorption, which can irritate their skin and cause coat problems. Raw fish can contain parasites leading your pet to vomit, develop a fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and in some cases can become fatal.
13. Meat fat and bones
Like undercooked or raw meat, fat trimmed from meat is another food your pet might like to get their paws on. And while it might seem harmless to treat your pets to these, either cooked or uncooked, the fat can cause your dog’s pancreas to become inflamed. The idea of dogs and bones also seem to go together naturally,but smaller ingestible pieces can cause your dog to choke and sharp parts can puncture the digestive tract.