Okay, we know we’re not supposed to feed our pets human food, but let’s face it, sometimes, it happens. You’re eating lunch and don’t quite feel like picking up the crumbs, so you let your pet play the vacuum cleaner role. Or the sneaky little guy takes some food off your plate when you aren’t looking.
Sometimes it’s not that big of a deal–there are some healthy “people foods” for pets (only small amounts though!). But there are also many foods that can be dangerous to our furry friends. If they do happen to get a hold of them, refer to the tips on page seven to keep them safe. Also, refer to page seven for the ASPCA’s list of 17 most common toxic poisonous plants.
In honor of National Animal Poison Prevention Week (March 14th-20th), here are the top 10 common foods that are most toxic to your pet:
Grapes and raisins
Can be toxic to dogs and cause kidney failure when they are ingested in large amounts. Researchers say there are still many unknowns about the toxicity of grapes and raisins, including whether only certain dogs are affected, but it is advised not to feed grapes or raisins to dogs in any amount.
While many pet owners say they feed their pets avocados with no problems, studies have shown that their leaves, fruit, seeds and bark can contain a toxin called Persin. According to the ASPCA, the Guatemalan variety, which is commonly found in stores, contains the most toxicity.
Dough that is not cooked and contains yeast can rise in your pet’s stomach and cause pain in the stomach and potentially cause the intestines to rupture. This risk diminishes once the dough is cooked.
Onions, onion powder, and garlic
Can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, but it is recommended that you not give cats or dogs large quantities of these.
Foods with a high salt or fat content
While pets do need certain kinds of fat in their diet, excessive fats can cause upset stomach and potentially inflame the pancreas causing pancreatitis. Salty foods can pose a risk for the development of sodium ion toxicosis, according to the ASPCA. Be aware that if your pet gets into food with a high fat or salt content, she could experience stomach problems including diarrhea and vomiting.
Left-over bones pose a choking hazard to pets, and they can also splinter and puncture your pet’s digestive tract. Additionally if you feed your pet meat or eggs, make sure they are fully cooked. Undercooked or raw meat and eggs can contain harmful bacteria.
Sugarless Candies (or products sweetened with xylitol)
This compound can cause liver damage and even death in some more vulnerable dogs. Xylitol is in many products including gum, candy, sugar-free cookies and toothpaste.
Can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms generally last up to two days, and usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion.
Alcohol, Chocolate, Coffee
According to the ASPCA, the substances in these products, methlxanthines, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and potentially death in pets. The higher the cocoa percentage, the more dangerous the chocolate is, making dark chocolate more toxic than milk or white chocolate.
17 Most common poisonous plants found in the home:
3. Sago Palm
4. Tulip/Narcissus bulbs
7. Castor Bean
12. Autumn Crocus
14. English Ivy
15. Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
What do you do if your pet ate something poisonous?
If your animal is having seizures or losing consciousness, bring him or her to your veterinarian or emergency vet center.
If your pet is not showing symptoms, but ingested something potentially toxic, call the ASPCA hotline at (888) 426-4435. Have the following information available: the species, breed, age, sex, weight, and information about the product exposure. It is best to have the package of the product available for reference.