The month of March is Pet Poison Awareness Month and we thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone that what is safe for humans does not necessarily mean it is safe for our pets. In our last blog, we wrote about plants that are toxic to pets. In this edition, we focus on foods. There are certain human foods that can be highly toxic and even life-threatening to our furry companions. A healthy diet is key to a long, healthy life for our animal friends. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested something poisonous or toxic, take immediate action. Bring your pet to the veterinarian and/or call the Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number right away: 1-888-426-4435.
While chocolate is probably the most well-known of unsafe foods for pets, few people realize it’s toxic for both cats and dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and a compound called theobromine, two chemicals that our pets simply can’t digest safely. These compounds may cause severe heart, liver, and digestion issues. As a general rule the darker the chocolate, the greater the risk to your pet. White chocolate is the least dangerous, followed by milk chocolate, and dark or baker’s chocolates are by far the most deadly.
Grapes and Raisins
While grapes and raisins are not harmful to all dogs, they have been associated with kidney failure in others. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk to find out. Vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea can occur within 12 hours of ingesting these. If the symptoms are not treated, they can lead to dehydration, decreased appetite and increased urination followed by decreased urination. If your dog has consumed grapes or raisins and these signs occur, take her to a vet immediately. Dogs can develop long-term kidney disease or even die from kidney failure within three to four days.
While many fruits are safe for pets, the vast majority of the pits and leaves are not. This is because many fruit stems and seeds contain highly toxic compounds (such as cyanide) that our pets metabolize more quickly. Make sure to only give the flesh of the fruit and remove all seeds, stems, leaves, pits, and cores. This includes parts from apples, apricots, cherries, peach pits, tomato leaves/stems, and even potato leaves or stems.
Nuts are a popular go-to snack for us humans. They are protein-rich, have low carbohydrates, and nuts are a common weight-loss food that boosts our energy while providing a good source of fiber. Unfortunately, nuts are not a healthy snack for our canine and feline friends. These high-fat treats can cause an upset stomach and severe toxicity, depending on the type of nut. Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous, as they can cause temporary paralysis in pets.
Garlic and Onions
According to the ASPCA, nearly all varieties of garlic and onions are toxic for cats and dogs. This also includes onion or garlic powder and chives. Garlic and onions contain a toxin called N-propyl disulfide. This is the same compound that causes your eyes to water when chopping them up. Ingestion by our pets can lead to serious complications. This includes vomiting, bloody urine, acute weakness, irregular heart rate, and severe breakdown of red blood cells. Pay close attention to these foods and when prepping meals.
Alcohol and Bread Dough
It may seem obvious that our pets can not drink liquor or alcohol, But also the small amounts of alcohol found in some drinks, syrups and even bread dough can be poisonous to dogs and cats. These products contain ethanol, and beer also contains hops, both of which can cause alcohol intoxication. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors, and seizures. The yeast contained in bread dough can cause the stomach to expand, and this can result in tissue damage and respiratory problems.
Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener found in many candies, gum and even toothpaste that causes a release of insulin in many animal species. Cats and dogs suffering from insulin imbalance are vulnerable to liver failure. Avoid giving your pet and candy and be cautious about discarded gum.
Veterinarian Dr. David Randall talks about safe foods for pets and table scraps.
If you’re unsure about the safety of a type of human food for your pet, it is important to research it before feeding it to that begging buddy. If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous food, take them to the vet immediately. At Flexpet, we care about animals and keeping them as healthy as possible. We have a fantastic and knowledgeable customer care team available to answer any of your questions about our products and how they may help your four-legged friend. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or by phone at 1-800-505-0575.