Toxic foods for pets. Nobody can resist a dog’s loving eyes and adorable grin. And your cat's loving purr and that sweet little rub against your leg. A little treat won’t hurt, right? Wrong. There’s plenty of human-safe grub that will have adverse effects if it finds its way inside your pet's mouth, and this food is more common than you think. Your furry friends are opportunists at heart, especially when tasty treats are involved. But the fact is, not everything that humans can eat is automatically good for them. Learn about the most common, toxic food for dogs and cats and prevent the worst from happening.
You might be wondering, “What food is bad for dogs and cats?” Educate yourself by looking at our list of nine toxic foods for dogs and cats found in most households.
You might be aware of the fact that chocolate is toxic food for dogs, but why? Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that’s so slowly metabolized by a canine's digestive system that it simply accumulates until it reaches toxic levels. Ingestion will have adverse effects that range from tremors, heart issues, seizures, and even death. And what you may not know? Chocolate also is toxic to cats for the same reasons. While every chocolate contains theobromine, dark chocolate specifically has a lot of it, so be extra careful where you store your dark delights.
This might seem obvious to some since alcohol isn’t exactly considered health food even by human standards. So, it’s logical that alcohol proves to be bad for dog and cat health as well. It has the same negative effects on a canine’s brain and liver as it has on humans. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, breathing problems or death. Keep these toxic foods for pets in a secure place in your home.
Normally consumed for its health benefits, avocados are terrible for our furry companions. Avocados contain persin, the substance that makes this green superfood into a toxic food for dogs. Even the bark and leaves of the avocado plant have persin, so it’s best to place these in an enclosure if you’re growing them in your home. Food poisoning symptoms can include diarrhea or vomiting.
4. Caffeine drinks
Energy-boosting caffeine drinks can prove fatal to pups. Tea and coffee are a toxic food for dogs and cats due to the levels of caffeine. If you feel that your pet seems more restless than usual or has a high heart rate, bring them to a vet as fast as possible.
Pets being fed dairy products (hello pupaccinos!) are becoming a common sight. Our furry friends simply love them. So, what's the harm, right? While not exactly toxic foods for pets, canines are extremely lactose intolerant and feeding them dairy will give digestive problems like diarrhea. There are plenty of healthy, dairy-free recipes on which both you and your pet can enjoy snacking. Perhaps surprisingly, cats are also lactose intolerant. Dairy can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats as well.
6. Garlic and onions
Another human dish that is toxic to dogs—garlic and onions—is harmful because it contains substances that destroy red blood cells, which can cause anemia. Small doses are generally fine, but too much will cause poisoning. These foods should not be given to dogs just to be on the safe side. Common symptoms are vomiting, irregular breathing, and general weakness.
7. Raisins and grapes
Raisins and grapes are toxic foods for pets, both dogs and cats. Both can impart kidney problems, and smaller breeds are more susceptible. Continuous vomiting is a tell-tale sign, so be sure to bring your pet to the vet if you notice the symptom.
A lot of baked goods, gum, candy, toothpaste, and "diet-friendly" products contain xylitol sweeteners, making all of them a potentially toxic food for dogs. Xylitol will lower the blood sugar level of your pet and damage the liver. Symptoms of ingestion include lethargy and vomiting, and eventually, seizures. At worst, the liver fails, leading to eventual death, so be careful and look at all potential products in your home that might contain xylitol. Cats do not appear to be affected by xylitol.
9. Raw fat, egg, fish, or meat
Cats should not be given excessive raw meat, fat, fish or eggs. It could lead to vomiting, diarrhea or even a condition called pancreatitis (from excessive fat). There is also a risk of salmonella or E. coli associated with your cats eating these foods.
We hope that our list has informed you of the dangers of everyday human grub that is considered to be toxic food for dogs. What about you? Do you know about any harmful products that are potentially dangerous to our animal companions? Let us know in the comments below.
And check out our other pet posts here.
This post was authored by guest contributor Rachel Hudson, a veterinarian with six years of experience, who now writes about proper animal care. She says immediate intervention with hydration is the best treatment for food toxicity for pets. Consult your veterinarian, but also consider keeping an alkaline water pitcher on hand for toxicity emergencies.