For pet owners, often when we sit down to have a snack or eat a meal, and there are some lingering eyes on us (or at least our plates). It’s your pet. They smell something tasty, they see you enjoying it, and they want whatever you have. So, they look up at you with those sweet big eyes, just begging for you to toss them a bite (though some may be more aggressive in their tactics, simply jumping up and taking a bite for themselves). That look is just heart-melting! And of course, many of us cave to those desperate looks because we love them, and we eventually break down to share a special treat with them. Of course, this isn’t a healthy habit and can in fact be dangerous for your pet.
Not all human foods are safe to share with your pet. Some pose very serious risks that can result in everything from stomach upset, to seizures and even death. We know it’s hard to resist giving your pet a table treat when they flash those innocent eyes and start whimpering. But, you must resist, as there are several food items that are absolute no-no’s, no matter how much your pet begs. Here are just a few of the most common human foods that you should never feed your pet:
- Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine – All of these products contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. Methylxanthines can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, frequent urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate and baking chocolate is even more dangerous than milk chocolate.
- Milk – Milk and other milk-based products cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.
- Raw or Undercooked Meat, Eggs & Bones – Risks of ingestion include getting Salmonella and E. coli, as well as the development of skin and coat problems.
- Grapes & Raisins – Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.
- Avocado – 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.
- Onions, Garlic, Chives – All of these can cause gastrointestinal irritation and have the potential to lead to red blood cell damage. Cats are more susceptible to these effects, but dogs are also at risk if an amount is consumed.
- Alcohol – Alcohol consumption can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
- Salt – Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination or sodium ion poisoning in pets. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, elevated body temperature, tremors, seizures and even death.
- Yeast Dough – Ingested yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and cause the stomach or intestines to rupture.
- Macadamia Nuts – Consumption of macadamia nuts can cause depression, weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last anywhere from 12 to 48 hours.
- Xylitol – Xylitol is used as a sweetener commonly used in many products, including baked goods, candy, gum and toothpaste. Ingestion can lead to liver failure, and early signs include lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination.
This is just a short list of items you should make sure your pet never ingests, but the list doesn’t stop here. While some human foods can be consumed by your pets and are even good for them, there are many that can be dangerous. So, take the time to educate yourself on the foods you should avoid at all costs, and talk to your veterinarian to make sure your pet stays healthy and happy.