Christmas and New Year’s are just around the corner!
Although this is a fun time full of celebration and relaxing this is also the time of the year when veterinary clinics see a surge in all kinds of pet toxicities.
There are certain human foods that you should not feed your pet under any circumstances. Many of which are perfectly suitable for human consumption but may be toxic for your pet.
Here is a list, in alphabetical order, of common human foods that are unsafe or toxic for pet consumption.
Alcohol – Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, and abnormal discomfort - but potentially even coma and death due to organ dysfunction (primarily the kidneys).
Avocado – Avocados contain ‘Persin’, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion.
Cooked Bones – When it comes to bones, the danger is that cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed by your dog. This can cause severe irritation to the stomach lining and bowels. Raw bones, however, are appropriate and good for maintaining your dog’s dental health – assuming your dog is crunching them properly!
Chocolate – Chocolate is very toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. Not only does it contain caffeine (which is enough to harm your dog by itself) but chocolate contains theobromine and theophylline, which can cause panting, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors and can damage your dog’s heart and nervous system.
Coffee – Coffee is an important part of many peoples day, but it poses the same toxic risk that chocolate does towards dogs – avoid at all costs!
Corn on the Cob – This is a sure way to get your pet’s intestines obstructed as they are often swallowed whole. They usually always require surgical removal – failure to do so results in vomiting, intestinal damage and eventually death.
Fat Trimmings/High-fat meat – Fat is delicious, your dog will love nothing more than to eat any offered fatty foods – such as sausages or meat trimmings. Unfortunately for them, however, their pancreas simply can’t handle such an enriched quantity of fat and they often get a condition called pancreatitis; resulting in lethargy, vomiting and inappetance – often days after they have ingested the fatty meal. Hospitalisation is often required.
Garlic – Garlic is related to onions which are toxic for dogs – it can cause severe anemia. Avoid it.
Grapes and Raisins – This is one that lots of dog owners are unaware of. Grapes contain a toxin that can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure in pets. While the exact quantity of grapes that is required to cause toxic damage is unknown it is best to simply avoid it.
Macadamia Nuts – These contain a toxin that can inhibit locomotory activities, resulting in weakness, panting, swollen limbs, and tremors as well as possible damage to your dog’s digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.
Marijuana – Marijuana can adversely affect your pup’s nervous system and heart rate, and induce vomiting.
Milk and Dairy Products – Dogs are lactose intolerant and can’t properly digest dairy foods. Dairy will often cause flatulence and diarrhea in dogs.
Onions and Chives – No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods) - onions are some of the absolute worst foods you could possibly give your dog. They contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate); both of which can cause severe anemia (and possibly death!) as they very quickly damage red blood cells.
Tobacco – A major toxic hazard for dogs (and humans). The effects nicotine has on dogs are far worse than on humans. Nicotine can damage your pup’s digestive and nervous systems, increase their heart rate, make them pass out and ultimately result in death.
Xylitol – A sugar alcohol found in gum, lollies, baked goods, and other sugar-substituted items. Xylitol, while causing no apparent harm to humans, is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, even death for your pup.
Yeast (on its own or in dough) – Just like yeast rises in bread, it will also expand and rise within your pup’s tummy. Make sure they don’t get any or they could get very uncomfortable and require their stomach to be pumped under anaesthetic!
Overall: When in Doubt, Ask a Vet!
If your dog is acting strangely, or experiencing even minor symptoms including weakness, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea – particularly if you think they may have consumed something they shouldn’t have - seek a veterinarian’s attention immediately.
It’s far better to be safe than sorry.