Hey, fellow pet lovers!
Today’s post is all about toxic foods that need to be kept well away from our four-legged friends.
I thought it’d be a good idea to write a post summarising some of the many hazardous foods that could cause serious harm or even kill our beloved pets, to ensure you know what you can and cannot share with your wonderful companions.
Let’s jump straight into today’s post!
Toxic Foods to Avoid for our Canine & Feline Friends 🐾
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Have you ever wondered what foods you can and cannot share with your pet?
A lot of people love to share food with their pets, primarily their canine companions as they cannot resist those adorable puppy dog eyes. However, you must do your research before you treat your pet to a tasty snack as there are many foods out there that will seriously harm your companion animal if ingested.
In today’s post, I want to list a few of the most toxic foods for our pets with the hopes that this will help inform pet parents on what not to give their pets.
I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate I could eat so much if I allowed myself but why cannot our pets indulge in this tasty treat too? Well, chocolate has a chemical called theobromine in it which acts a bit like caffeine and the darker the chocolate the higher the levels of theobromine.
Depending on how much chocolate your pet ingests and also the darkness of the chocolate will depend on whether your pet is in serious danger.
So how much chocolate is going to seriously harm your pet?
At all costs, you should stay away from giving your pet chocolate as even small portions are enough to cause an upset stomach for your pet. Veterinary treatment should be sought if your dog ingests more than 20 mg/kg of theobromine, that’s equivalent to 3.5 g/kg of plain or dark chocolate and 14 g/kg milk chocolate. However, for your feline friend, 80 to 100 grams of chocolate per kilo of a cat’s body weight, is enough to kill your kitty potentially. If your pet does ingest chocolate, then symptoms are:
- An accelerated heart rate.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about your kitty plotting to steal your chocolate as much as your canine friend since they are straight-up carnivores, though my girl Pooss has tried to take some dark chocolate before despite this fact. So it’s always a good idea to keep chocolate locked away from your pets as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Lastly, you don’t have to worry as much about white chocolate as it does not contain enough theobromine to cause toxicity like milk or dark. However, still, don’t give your pet any chocolate because your pet isn’t meant to consume it, plus it is full of sugar and can pose a potential risk of diabetes.
Alcohol is a much-loved drug in our society, alongside coffee and nicotine, but these are all things that should be kept well away from our companion animals.
Depending on how much alcohol your pet ingests will depend on how dangerous the outcome is, however, just like for ourselves, our pets can die from alcohol poisoning very quickly.
If your pet drinks alcohol, it causes depression of their central nervous system, just like when we consume it, and this will slow them down. Your pet will become drowsy exhausted depending on how much has alcohol been consumed, and their body temperature will decrease.
Also, their blood chemistry is altered, all of which could lead to a dangerous condition called metabolic acidosis where the blood becomes too acidic. If you do not get your pet to a veterinarian to get the adequate treatment they require, then death is the likely outcome and will generally occur from cardiac arrest.
Next on the list is grapes and I have a love-hate relationship with grapes, the only ones I really like are sable grapes as they are delicious and sweet. However, grapes are a no go for our canine friends and feline friends. Researchers don’t know the exact substance that causes toxicity in our pets when they eat grapes or raisins.
There again is no evidence to suggest our cats will suffer the same as our dogs when they ingest grapes, but, it is undoubtedly better to be safe than sorry and not let them eat any. However, cats are not likely to want to consume grapes in the first place but, if your pet has ingested grapes or raisins which are dried out grapes, then symptoms may include a variety of unwanted scenarios.
- Vomiting & diarrhoea – often within a few hours of ingestion
- Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)
- Lethargy, weakness and unusual quietness
- Anuria (complete cessation of urine)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Foul breath
- Oral ulcers
I love macadamia nuts, and if you haven’t ever tried them, then I suggest you give them a go as you will be blown away by how delicious they are. Macadamia nuts are a big no go for our canine friends and if ingested will result in non-fatal symptoms.
There is no evidence to suggest that macadamia nuts will affect cats in the same way they affect dogs, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and cats really don’t have any need to eat them so refrain from feeding your kitty these delicious nuts.
A dog must ingest more than 2 grams of macadamia nuts per kilogram of body weight before signs show, check out the list below of non-fatal symptoms.
- Ataxia or weakness.
- Muscle tremors.
If your pet has ingested macadamia nuts and has any of the above symptoms, please contact your vet immediately to get them the help they need. There is no specific treatment for macadamia nut posing, but thankfully most pooches will be fine once given intravenous fluids, pain relief and anti-fever medications.
Cooked Bones 🍖
Next, are cooked bones and a lot of people think it’s ok to give their pets the leftover scraps say from a tasty Sunday roast. However, as most pet parents already know they cannot give their pets any cooked bones for a variety of reasons and being a raw feeder, this is embedded in my brain.
Some bones are a no go such as weight-bearing bones, but cooked bones can cause severe problems for our pets if eaten. If you feed cooked bones to your pet, the likely hood is that they will splinter and could damage their gums, mouth or even worse cause an intestinal blockage and result in severe damage.
To learn more about what bones are safe for our pets then check out another article from epoch.pet called: Are raw bones safe for dogs?
No matter what, do not give your pet any cooked bones!!! 🦴
Sweet Treats Containing Sugar & Sweeteners
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Sweet treats are something we don’t eat a lot of in my home, as much as I’d love to indulge and eat that whole stack of lovely looking cookies in the picture above I’d feel awful after so doing. It’s safe to say that the entire world loves sugary treats, whether that be biscuits, cakes or the countless other delicious delights on offer, I think we can all agree that sugar when overly consumed is not suitable for us!
Baked goods or sugary treats that contain large amounts of sugar or sometimes sweeteners such as Xytiol which we’ll talk about in a lot more detail below. When your pet ingests sugary treats or products containing Xylitol, it can cause their blood sugar to drop, which in turn can cause liver failure.
If your pet has ingested a sweet treat containing a lot of sugar or various sweeteners, then keep an eye out for these early symptoms which include vomiting, seizures lethargy and coordination problems.
Caffeine Beverages: Coffee, Tea & Energy Drinks
I love caffeine, and if someone made me choose between tea or coffee, I’m not too sure what direction I’d incline. Hopefully, that’ll never happen, but despite my serious love for caffeine, beverages containing caffeine are on the list of no-goes for our canine and feline companions. Where can you find caffeine?
You’d be surprised by how many items have caffeine in them; you have your usual tea and coffee, energy drinks, sodas and even diet pills. Our companion animals are a lot more sensitive to caffeine than we are and a lick or two of tea, coffee or soda isn’t enough to kill your pet, a little is still too much!
If your pet ingests a moderate amount of caffeine say they ate some coffee ground, tea bags or a few diet pills, this would be enough to cause a fatal outcome for a small dog or cat.
Signs of Caffeine Poisoning
If your pet does consume some caffeine, then these are the vital signs to watch out for which should occur after one to two hours of ingestion.
- Hypertension (elevated blood pressure)
- Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
- Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
- Mild to severe hyperactivity
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Treatment for your canine or feline companion will consist of a mixture of things, but it all depends on how much caffeine they’ve ingested.
Induced vomiting, as well as multiple doses of activated charcoal, are needed, and IV fluids will be given to help to excrete the caffeine from their system.
Your vet will most likely give your pet sedatives to calm them down, and specific medication to reduce their heart rate and blood pressure. Along with anticonvulsants to prevent seizures and antacids for stomach upset and diarrhoea.
Onions, Leeks, Shallots & Chives
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Next to talk about is onions, leeks and anything from the Allium Species of plants. I love spring onions, as well as roasted onions with thyme, roasted veg and garlic but these are certainly on the list of no-goes for our pets. As unfortunately, when ingested, whether cooked or raw, they are toxic.
If your pet has eaten any of the above, this may result in vomiting and diarrhoea. However, the main effect is damage to your pets red blood cells resulting in anaemia.
Cows Dairy Products 🐄
Most dairy products shouldn’t be given to our canine and feline friends and especially not cows products. It’s not a good idea to give your pet any cows dairy products as it is not easily digestible and most cows milk from Europe contains A1 beta-casein, which is pro-inflammatory.
We sometimes provide the girls with a little goats milk or butter, but that’s about it for dairy products.
Artificial sweeteners, especially Xylitol!
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Xylitol is a much-loved sweetener in the retail food industry, but unfortunately, it is deadly to our canine and feline friends, so avoid at all times. Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance, and chemically, it is a sugar alcohol that can be found naturally in various fruit such as berries, plums, as well as other foods such as corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce and multiple trees.
Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute for a variety of reasons such as due to its low glycemic index and apparent dental plaque fighting properties. The Xylitol that is manufactured for various food products gets turned into a white powder that looks and tastes similar to sugar. There are so many different foods, household products and oral care products with Xylitol in them so make sure you keep the items listed below away for your pets.
- Sugar-free gum
- Breath Mints
- Baked goods
- Pudding snacks
- Cough syrup
- Chewable or gummy vitamins & supplements
- Mouthwash and toothpaste
As you can see, these are just a few of the many products that have Xylitol in, so keep them away from your pet. I plan on doing a whole separate post that talks about Xylitol and its harmfulness to our four-legged friends, so I don’t want to go into too much detail right now but below I will briefly mention the symptoms of Xylitol poisoning.
- Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing
- Depression or lethargy
As you can see Xylitol is a serious threat to our pets so make sure if you purchase anything with it in, which you most likely do anyway, to keep these products out of reach from your pet at all times.
If you want to learn more about Xylitol and why it is toxic to our pets, and cannot wait till I write another blog post all about it then check out this great article. Brutlag, A. (2018). Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. [online] vca_corporate. Available at: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/xylitol-toxicity-in-dogs [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].
If your pet has ingested anything on this list above or any foods your not sure whether they can have, then contact an emergency vet or the pet poison helpline to ensure you get your canine or feline companion they help they need before its too late. Please remember to keep any potentially harmful foods out the reach of your four-legged friend and also keep a close eye on them when out and about.
Jon the pack!
Thanks, everyone for reading today’s post and I hope you found it informative!
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