As a loving owner, there will almost certainly be times when you want to share some of your tasty human foods with your pet. This is particularly true of owners of dogs, who tend to be fairly unfussy about their diet and will gaze up at you with puppy dog eyes to try a little of whatever it is you are eating, whether it is good for now or then. Nevertheless, many human foods simply aren’t suitable for consumption by animals and sharing them could inadvertently put your pet at risk of poisoning.
To help you understand more about which foods could put your animal at risk, here are the top people foods that you should avoid feeding your pets.
Granted, you probably aren’t thinking about sharing your beer with your fur-buddy but leaving an alcoholic drink unattended can be disastrous for your pet. Alcohol consumption can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, breathing problems and can prove fatal.
Candy and gum
Candy and gum both tend to contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is highly poisonous if consumed by pets. It can also be found in some baked goods and toothpaste. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and even death. This is because it can mess with your pet’s natural blood sugar levels, triggering insulin release and causing hypoglycemia and liver damage/failure.
Chocolate, caffeine, and coffee
Most people are aware that their pets shouldn’t eat human chocolate. This is because it contains methylxanthines – substances which are found in cacao seeds and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythms and tremors. It can even prove fatal. However, methylxanthines can also be found in caffeine and coffee, meaning that these should be avoided too.
Citrus fruits may be delicious, but they shouldn’t be shared with your pet. The stems, leaves, fruit seeds and even peel contain citric acid which can cause problems ranging from mild stomach upsets to serious issues with your pet’s central nervous system.
Grapes and raisins
These are more foods that look harmless enough but that have the potential to be very dangerous for your pet. Exactly what it is about grapes and raisins that is toxic is unknown, but they have been proven to cause kidney problems that are so severe that premature death can occur. As such, they should be avoided.
Some nuts are perfectly safe for pets to consume, and dogs, in particular, are partial to peanut butter. However, macadamia nuts are very poisonous and can cause vomiting, tremors and even hyperthermia that can last several days or more. Other nuts that should be avoided include almonds, pecans, and walnuts as they contain high levels of oil and fat. Signs of toxicity to look out for include vomiting and diarrhea.
Onions, garlic, and chive
Cats are more prone to poisoning from consuming onions, garlic, and chive, but some canines can be affected too. Each of these substances can cause your pet’s gastrointestinal system to become irritated and inflamed, and this can lead to unpleasant symptoms. We strongly recommend that you avoid feeding foods containing any of these to your pet.
Raw/undercooked meat, eggs, and bones
Meat and eggs are popular human food additions to many pet food bowls and dogs in particular love their taste. However, owners need to take special care to ensure that anything that they give their pet is properly cooked. This is because both raw meat and eggs can contain bacteria that cause salmonella and E.coli – both of which can be very harmful to our animals. Bones are commonly misconstrued as being a great treat for dogs, but the truth is that they can be extremely dangerous as they can easily splinter and damage your furball’s throat or digestive system. They also pose a choking risk.
Salty snacks and convenience food
Just like us, our pet’s bodies rely on a careful balance of salt and water. Consuming too many foods that are high in salt can make your pet unwell with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, seizures and even death. For this reason, it is strongly advised that owners do not share salty convenience food or snacks with their animals.
For more advice on which human foods you should avoid feeding your pet, please get in touch with our experienced and knowledgeable veterinary team.