What Not to Feed Your Pets

As an animal lover and pet owner, I try to keep abreast of important information regarding pet health and disease prevention. It is very important to be careful what you feed your pets. Foods that are completely harmless to humans can be potentially fatally to our furry friends. The following is a list of foods that are not safe for pet consumption. If you or someone you know has pets, please try to avoid feeding them the items on this list:
Grapes and Raisins: These contain a chemical that is known to cause kidney failure in cats and dogs. The symptoms can be more severe in pets that have existing health issues.

Alcohol: This one goes without saying, but is still worth mentioning. I’m sure that all of you pet owners do not make a habit of intoxicating your cats, but just to be safeā€¦ ethyl alcohol found in alcoholic beverages can cause several problems if ingested by domestic animals. These include: depression of the central nervous system; abnormal levels of acid in the blood; coma, tremors; vomiting; compromised coordination and possible death.

Yeast Dough: If not fully cooked, dough can cause your pet’s intestines and/or stomach to rupture. When properly cooked, dough is safe for animals, but should not make up more than ten percent of your pet’s daily food intake.

Milk and Dairy Products: Pets are deficient in lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. Feeding your pet dairy products can cause upset stomach and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Avocado: Keep your furries away from the guacamole!!! Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that is harmless to humans, but may be fatal to pets. Minimal symptoms include vomiting and gastrointestinal difficulties. Birds and rodents are most vulnerable to avocado poisoning and can develop respiratory and/or cardiac congestion. Large quantities of persin are often lethal to pets.

Onions, Garlic and Chives: Consumption of these by domestic animals can result in gastrointestinal disturbances and possible blood cell damage. Cats are more vulnerable to these negative consequences, but canines are also at risk. Small amounts will not be problematic, but large quantities can be very damaging.

Macadamia Nuts: Fun for us, but quite dangerous to canine companions, macadamias have been linked to tremors, hyperthermia (heatstroke), depression, lethargy and vomiting in dogs.

Bones: Domestic animals are not as well equipped to eat bones as their wild relatives. Bones can be a choking hazard and may puncture the digestive tract if splintering occurs (which is very common with thin bones like those from a chicken).

Raw or Undercooked Meats and Eggs: If not properly cooked, meat and eggs contain bacteria (including Salmonella and E. coli) that can be damaging to pets. Avidin, an enzyme present in uncooked eggs, inhibits the body’s ability to absorb biotin (a type of Vitamin B), which may result in coat and skin complications.

Chocolate, Caffeine and Coffee: These all contain methylxanthines that can cause a number of problems in domestic pets if ingested. Possible symptoms include: hyperactivity, vomiting, abnormal cardiac activity, seizures, tremors, excessive urination and/or thirst, and possibly death. Dark chocolate contains the highest concentration of this chemical, followed by milk and white chocolate.

Xylitol: This sweetener can be found in toothpaste, gum and baked goods. It causes insulin release in animals, which can cause liver failure and hypoglycemia (low blood-sugar level). Vomiting, compromised coordination and lethargy are common precedents to liver failure.

If your pet does ingest any of the aforementioned foods, please contact your veterinarian promptly. You can also contact the Animal Poison Control Center of the ASPCA at (888) 426-4435.