For most pet owners, their feline and canine companions are valued members of their family. Many people find that their pets can provide them with humor, interaction and unconditional love, among other things. As a result of all their pets give them, most pet owners love to pamper their dog or cat as much as possible, which can include treating them to certain people foods on occasion. However, the truth is that foods that have been made safe for human consumption are generally not safe for dog or cat consumption. In fact, some people foods can actually be quite toxic to dogs and cats.
Dangerous People Foods
Ideally, all pet owners would restrict their pets’ diets to those foods and treats that have been specifically formulated for them. However, it is understandable that pets may sometimes come across scraps of food that have fallen to the floor, and it is understandable that a pet owner may occasionally desire to give their furry companion an extra special treat. That said, while not all people foods are equally dangerous, there are definitely some people foods that are especially important to avoid feeding your dog or cat as they can be particularly toxic when ingested. The ten most dangerous people foods for dogs and cats include:
Chocolate. Few pet owners may actually consider purposely feeding their dog chocolate, but it is especially important to ensure that your canine companion does not come into possession of chocolate on their own. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a chemical known to damage the lungs, heart, kidneys and nervous system of dogs. While there is no “safe” chocolate for dogs to eat, baking chocolate is particularly toxic and should be kept entirely out of reach. If a dog has consumed any sort or amount of chocolate, it is important to get them in to see a veterinarian right away.
Milk. It seems perfectly natural and normal to give cats a little bit of cow’s milk now and again – especially since it seems to be widely promoted in TV shows and movies. However, the fact is that adult felines are actually lactose intolerant – they lack the nutritional ability to break down milk sugar and metabolize it. This means that dairy products can cause dehydration and diarrhea in felines, especially if regularly given to them.
Grapes and raisins. Even small amounts of these innocent-seeming fruits, which many dogs absolutely love to eat, can cause irreversible kidney damage. Just four or five grapes or raisins can make your dog incredibly ill, and many dogs who are exposed to these fruits will quickly gobble up much larger and deadlier amounts. It is critical to immediately bring your dog to the veterinarian if they have consumed any grapes or raisins.
Bones and fat. Cats that eat bones and fat are not only at risk of choking on these bones or even receiving lacerations in their digestive system as a result of the sharp edges of bones, but they can also experience upset stomachs, diarrhea and vomiting.
Macadamia nuts. Dogs who eat macadamia nuts can become quite ill, and can experience vomiting, muscle and joint pain, swelling and general lethargy as a result of ingesting these dangerous nuts.
Onions. These root vegetables can cause poisoning in a cat no matter if they are raw, cooked, powdered or in any other form. Onion poisoning causes a breakdown in a cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia, weight loss, lethargy and much more.
Garlic. A cat that ingests garlic will experience many of the same symptoms as with onion poisoning. Their stomachs are easily upset by garlic, and this relative of the onion can also cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells.
Sugar-free gum. Many sugar-free gums are sweetened with xylitol, which unfortunately is quite dangerous to dogs. Xylitol can stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar and severe liver damage.
Coffee. Even small amounts of caffeine can lead to restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and tremors, while large amounts of caffeine can be fatal to cats. In addition to coffee, all caffeinated drinks should be kept well out of your feline’s reach.
Eggs. The salmonella or E. coli strains that are sometimes present in raw eggs can lead to food poisoning in cats. Furthermore, a cat’s ability to absorb vitamin B can be affected by the avidin in egg whites, which can lead to skin problems and fur loss.
Pet owners often feel that they can control what they give their pets to eat, but they cannot always control what foods their pets sometimes come into contact with. In all honestly, pet owners would do well to avoid allowing their pet to consume or even have access to any sort of people foods, and to carefully supervise their pets as much as possible to make sure they don’t come into contact with people foods on their own. The above-mentioned people foods are particularly dangerous for dogs and cats, and pet owners should therefore give special attention to make sure they do not enter their pet’s diet. If your furry companion does ingest any amount of these people foods, it is wise to immediately contact your pet’s veterinarian and get them in for an emergency examination as rapidly as possible.