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Posted on 02-03-2012

We think of our dogs and cats as just another member of the family, so it's easy to forget that they can't eat everything we can. The truth is, some foods that we enjoy, can be seriously dangerous and sometimes even fatal to our furry frienbigstock_Cocker_Puppy_Will_Beg_For_Food_5567507.jpgds. You may already know not to let your pets eat chocolate, but there are many more "people foods" that can be toxic to our cats and dogs. Here is a list of common foods that are harmful to our pets. Some might surprise you.

Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Voltaren (found in arthritis medicines) can be fatal due to kidney and liver failure.

Alcohol of all types affect animals the same way it can people, but it takes a fraction of that to have a damaging effect on them, causing intoxication, coma, and death.

Baking powder & soda are both leavening agents used in Yeast dough which can expand in your pet's stomach causing intense pain and stretching/rupturing of parts of the digestive system. The dough can ferment leading to alcohol poisoning. Also large amounts of baking powder or soda can lead to electrolyte imbalances, muscle spasms, and heart failure.

Bones from meat or fish especially cooked, can get caught or splinter causing lacerations to their digestive systems.

Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked good,and diet foods containing the sugar substitute Xylitol are very dangerous. Xylitol triggers an increase in insulin which causes hypoglycemia (the blood sugar drops dramatically). This can result in many issues including liver failure.

Chocolate, coffee, tea, and soda contain theobromine, caffeine or theophyline all which seriously affect the heart and central nervous system. The darker the chocolate is, the higher the amount of theobromine. Results are vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Cat and dog foods are not toxic, but not interchangeable. Cat food is too high in protein and fat for dogs, and dog foods should not be given to cats because it can result in malnutrition and disease that affect the heart.

Citrus and essential oils of many different kinds can be highly toxic with results varying from gastrointestinal upsets to serious kidney, liver, and brain damage.

Fruit seeds and pits including apple seeds, persimmons, apricot, peach, pear, plum, nectarine, and cherry pits can contain cyanide which is highly toxic and affects the respiratory system (breathing, coughing, and sneezing). Pits can also get stuck, causing inflammation and obstruction.

Garbage, spoiled or moldy foods, and compost have bacteria which can cause different results including vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures, hyperthermia, and hypothermia.

Grapes and raisins contain an unknown poison that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and serious damage to the kidneys.

Hops either fresh, dried, or cooked (used in brewing beer) contain an unknown toxin. Only a small amount ingested can result in hyperthermia, seizures, and death.

Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that in very small amounts, cause vomiting, weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia. Other nuts including walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hickory nuts, while not as dangerous, can lead to gastrointestinal upset.

Milk and dairy products can cause digestive upset. Believe it or not, many dogs and cats are lactose intolerant.

Mushrooms of certain species can cause varying issues including neurological disorders, liver disease, shock, and death.

Onions, chives, and related root vegetables raw, cooked, powdered, or dehydrated can cause gastrointestinal issues consumed in large amounts. They contain sulfoxides and disulfides which destroy red blood cells. High amounts of onions can lead to hemolytic anemia.

Raw eggs and meat can have salmonella and e. coli causing food poisoning. Also raw eggs contain avidin which inhibits the absorption of a vitamin leading to skin and coat issues.

Raw fish can result in a Vitamin B deficiency, and some could contain a parasite which can be fatal if not treated.

Rhubarb, potato, and tomato leaves and stems contain oxalates that can affect the digestive, urinary, and nervous systems.

Salt in high doses can lead to electrolyte imbalances and sodium ion poisoning.000_0010__3__2.jpg

Scraps from the table are not nutritionally balanced and should be less than 10% of your pet's diet. Fatty foods in excess can lead to pancreatitis.

Vitamins for humans have very different dosages than your pet is able to take. Supplements containing iron can damage the digestive system, liver, and kidneys.

It can be so hard when your pet gives you those "puppy dog" eyes to resist giving them bits of your food, but to be safe, you should always discuss it with you veterinarian.

If you're worried that your pet consumed any of these foods or is showing symptoms of poisoning, don't hesitate. Contact us immediately at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789, Pet Poison Helpline 1(800) 213-6680, or the Animal Poison Control Center 1 (800) 426-4435.

Written by Kaelin Mast, veterinary receptionist at Eagle Animal Hospital. We serve Chester Springs, Exton, Glenmoore, Downingtown, and Phoenixville.


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