10 Potentially Deadly Foods
Secret killers: foods that are tasty for you may be deadly for pets.
This list does not include all of the foods that can harm pets, but does include some of the most common (and surprising!) dangers that could be lurking in your home.
Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common causes of pet poisoning during the holidays. Chocolate contains a lethal component called theobromine —the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.
Raisins and Grapes
It isn’t clear to scientists just what makes raisins and grapes toxic to both cats and dogs, but even a relatively small amount can damage the kidneys.
Onions and Garlic
Many pet owners are surprised to discover that onions and garlic contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia in cats and dogs. Onion and garlic powders are found in many prepared foods – even baby food – so make sure to read labels before serving any item to your pet.
Dog poisoning cases involving this artificial sweetener, often found in sugar-free baked goods and candy as well as sugarless gum, are on the rise. Eating it can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. The amount of xylitol in five pieces of gum has the potential to kill a 65-pound dog.
When it comes to fatty cuts of meat and other fatty items including chicken or turkey skin, it’s better to throw them out than to feed them to pets as a treat. They can cause acute pancreatitis, a life-threatening illness with severe complications.
Potentially poisonous to dogs, cats and other animals, avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. Avocados, if eaten, may trigger fluid accumulation in the lungs and chest, leading to difficulty breathing and death from oxygen deprivation.
Moldy or Spoiled Foods
These can contain multiple toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea and may affect other organs.
Because cats and dogs are smaller than humans, alcohol can have a much more deadly affect on them. Dogs are often attracted by the sweet taste of alcoholic drinks, especially eggnog. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to heart arrhythmias, seizures, coma, and even death.
Though the exact reason is something of a mystery, these famous Hawaiian exports are considered toxic to dogs because they tend to cause gastrointestinal upsets, lethargy, vomiting and muscle tremors or stiffness. As few as six nuts can cause severe poisoning.
Accidentally ingesting coffee grounds, or consuming any drink that is high in caffeine, can cause your dog’s heart to race. This can result in seizures, tremors, arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty in breathing.
Because toxicity symptoms are similar no matter what your pet may have eaten, you should watch out if your pet seems to be distressed, listless or in pain. Bloody stools or vomiting are also possible indications. Gastrointestinal problems can lead a build-up of gas until the stomach becomes bloated and hard to the touch. This painful condition can cause the stomach to burst if not treated.
If you think your pet might have been poisoned, call your veterinarian or a poison-control hotline.
The good news is, in most cases, toxic poisoning can be successfully treated if you seek help for your pet right away.