Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Pets
By Rachele Baker, DVM – While small amounts of some “people foods” are safe to feed your pet, others can be quite dangerous. Here is a list of foods to avoid feeding your pets.
Alcoholic beverages can cause vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, depression of the central nervous system, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and death in pets.
Animal bones can splinter and the sharp edges can lacerate or perforate your pet’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines. In addition, animal bones can cause choking or become lodged in your pet’s mouth, esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Intestinal obstruction requires surgery to remove the obstruction. Since animal bones are quite hard, they can also fracture your pet’s teeth.
The leaves, fruit, seeds, and bark of avocados contain persin which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.
Baby food may contain onion or garlic (see the section on “Onions and Garlic” below). If you need to feed your pet baby food for a short period of time (i.e. to encourage eating in a sick pet), make sure to check the ingredients list before you buy and avoid baby foods containing onion or garlic.
Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Caffeinated Beverages
Foods to avoid feeding your pets include chocolate, coffee, tea, and caffeinated beverages. These products all contain methylxanthines. Methylxanthines can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and death in pets.
Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. For example, toxic dosages of the various types of chocolate for a fifteen pound dog are: milk chocolate: 15 ounces, dark chocolate: 4.5 ounces, and baking chocolate: only 1.7 ounces.
Animal Fat and High Fat Content Foods
Feeding animal fat or high fat content foods can cause pancreatitis in pets. Pancreatitis is a serious disease causing persistent vomiting. Severely ill pets may require hospitalization. Examples of high fat content foods to avoid feeding your pets include turkey or chicken skin, gravy, and french fries.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) in pets.
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of the enzyme that breaks down lactose, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset in pets.
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and damage red blood cells in pets. This can cause your pet to become anemic.
Raw eggs may contain bacteria called Salmonella which can cause disease in pets and people. The most common clinical signs of Salmonellosis in pets include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, dehydration, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Raw meat may contain bacteria such as Salmonella which can cause disease in pets and people.
Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in many products. Foods to avoid feeding your pets include any products that may contain xylitol including sugar-free candies, baked goods, and pudding snacks. Xylitol can stimulate the release of insulin which can result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), vomiting, lethargy, incoordination, and seizures in pets. High doses of xylitol can cause liver failure in pets.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in the stomach and intestines which causes a great deal of pain and may cause your pet’s stomach or intestines to rupture.
If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 24 hours a day, 365 days year (a consultation fee may be charged).