• Lauren McCall

Common People Food that’s Toxic for Pets

It can be tempting to share table scraps, snacks or an occasional people food treat with your pet. However both cats and dogs have different digestive capabilities and stomachs than we do and this can make the most common human foods deadly to our four legged companions. It's always a good idea to stick with giving your pet only their veterinary recommended pet food and treats.

Below is a list of highly toxic common food you should never feed your pet:


Xilotol

Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. It can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure. Early symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems. Eventually, your dog may have seizures. Liver failure can happen within just a few days.


Salty Snacks

It's not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog. Eating too much salt can make your dog seriously thirsty. That means a lot of trips to the fire hydrant and it could lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.


Yeast Dough

Before it’s baked, bread dough needs to rise. And, that’s exactly what it would do in your dog’s stomach if he ate it. As it swells inside, the dough can stretch your dog’s abdomen and cause a lot of pain. Also, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.


Avocado

Eating avocado might cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs. If you grow avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plant. Also, the avocado seed can become stuck in the intestines or stomach, and obstruction could be fatal.


Alcohol

Alcohol has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that it has on people. But it takes a lot less to hurt your dog. Just a little beer, liquor, wine, or food with alcohol can be bad. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coordination problems, breathing problems, coma, even death. And the smaller your dog, the worse it can be.


Onions, Garlic, Chives

These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.


Coffee, Tea and Caffeine

Give your dog toys if you want him to be perky. Caffeine can be fatal.  Watch out for coffee and tea, even the beans and the grounds. Keep your dog away from cocoa, chocolate, colas, and energy drinks. Caffeine is also in some cold medicines and pain killers. Think your dog had caffeine? Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.


Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog sick. Vomiting over and over is an early sign. Within a day, your dog will get sluggish and depressed.


Macadamia Nuts

Keep your dog away from macadamia nuts and foods that have macadamia nuts in them. Just six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog sick. Look for symptoms like  muscle shakes, vomiting, high temperature, and weakness in his back legs. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, maybe even leading to death.


Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. The problem in chocolate is theobromine. It's in all kinds of chocolate, even white chocolate. The most dangerous types are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Chocolate can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhea. It can also cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death.


Peaches and Plums

The problem with these fruits is the seeds or pits. Seeds from persimmons can cause problems in a dog's small intestine. They can also block his intestines. That can also happen if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Peach and plum pits also have cyanide, which is poisonous to people and dogs. People know not to eat them. Dogs don't.


What to do if your pet has eaten a toxic food?

Call your Veterinarian. Get them in to see their vet immediately if you think your pet has ingested a dangerous food.


What If You Cannot Reach Your Veterinarian?

In an emergency, when you cannot reach your veterinarian, immediately contact your local animal emergency clinic or call one of these hotlines to speak to a toxicology specialist and vets who are able to assist 24/7. 

  1. Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661

  2. North Shore America / ASPCA Hotline 1-888-232-8870

  3. ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435

Note: They charge a small fee of $59-75 per incident and will ask for age, weight, medical history of pet, what they were exposed to, amount, when it happened and current symptoms.


No matter how careful you are, your dog might find and swallow something she shouldn't. Keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center -- (888) 426-4435 -- where you know you can find it. And, if you think your dog has eaten something  toxic, call for emergency help right away.



Information for this blog post gathered from ASPCA.org and HumaneSociety.org.


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HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.

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