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10 'Human Foods' You Should Never Feed Your Pet
Monday June 22nd 2015
It can be tempting to feed pets scraps of food that you might have leftover, but while you might have good intentions, these human foods can often be dangerous to animals. These are 10 foods you should never feed your pet:
Onions, garlic and chives
Apart from giving your pet bad breath, these foods can cause serious damage to red blood cells. Although it's unlikely you'd give your cat a garlic clove to munch on, many pet owners give their pets scraps of meat and these are often cooked with these ingredients. While dogs will react badly to onions, garlic and chives, cats are at particular risk from these foods.
While avocado has been considered a superfood long before we even used the term superfood, it will give cats and dogs an upset stomach because it contains persin. The fungicidal toxin (which is harmless to humans) can do even more damage to birds and rabbits, causing respiratory problems, fluid around the heart and in extreme circumstances even death.
There's a growing awareness of the dangers that chocolate poses to dogs. The main cause of the problem is theobromine, which is more prevalent the darker chocolate gets. Symptoms of chocolate consumption in dogs can include a high temperature, vomiting, an irregular heartbeat and seizure. In the worst cases, chocolate can even prove fatal. Dogs that exhibit anything more than moderate discomfort after ingesting chocolate should see a vet immediately.
Although rarely fatal, macadamia nuts can cause significant discomfort for your dog for up to 48 hours. While your dog should make a full recovery, you may want to see your vet to provide some pain relief if symptoms like vomiting, hyperthermia and tremors cause your dog too much distress.
While cats will happily lap up a dish of milk, the enjoyment won't last long, as it can cause diarrhoea and other stomach problems. This is because cats don’t have the necessary enzymes needed to digest the lactose contained in dairy products. If you're desperate to treat your cat to milk, make sure you buy milk that has had the lactose removed - if in doubt look for milk specially made for cats.
If you bake your own bread take extra special care to ensure that your pet can't reach any raw dough. The live yeast in the dough will quickly multiply and expand in a warm, moist stomach. The consequences of this can be severe: breathing difficulty and damage to the stomach lining are direct results of an expanding stomach. Furthermore, the stomach will then absorb alcohol created by the yeast. In a worst case scenario this can cause seizures or coma, and ultimately death.
As with humans, alcohol can cause numerous problems in our pets - but being much smaller, your pet will only need to consume a much smaller amount before encountering these problems. As well as vomiting and diarrhoea, alcohol can cause pets central nervous system damage, difficulty breathing and in extreme cases it can be fatal - so don't leave pets unattended if you have a glass of wine or beer left out.
Found in many food and drinks, caffeine can kill cats and dogs in large enough quantities. In smaller doses caffeine can cause a number of symptoms from hyperactivity and restlessness to hyperthermia and seizures.
Grapes and raisins
Although it's been established that raisins and grapes present a danger to dogs, the exact reason why they are toxic is not known. If you suspect your dog might have eaten grapes you should contact your vet immediately, as left untreated it could suffer from sudden kidney failure, which can prove fatal. If treated quickly enough, they can induce vomiting in the dog.
You might not think anything of giving some scraps of raw meat to your cat or dog, but these can cause food poisoning if certain bacteria are present. Last year the Telegraph reported that raw meat could be behind the death of 40 dogs
Some final thoughts…
Though you might not intentionally feed your pets many of these food items might be left out in the open or accidentally dropped on the floor - for the sake of your pet's health it’s vital that you take extra care.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if you are in doubt about whether something is safe for your pet you should consult your vet. For peace of mind, only feed your pet specially formulated pet food appropriate for its size and age.
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.