There’s a good reason why dogs and cats have their own special food. Common human meals are very dangerous for pets, and although it’s sometimes difficult to resist those pleading eyes, you can’t afford to fold. A little “reward” for good behaviour could be deadly, so remember these 13 foods that are poisonous for your pet – the answers may surprise you.
Keep all booze out of reach of your pets. It has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain as it has on yours, but with far greater consequences. Just a small amount can lead to a number of issues, including vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty with breathing and coordination, coma, and even death.
2. Sugar and Chocolate
Too much sugar is bad for your dog’s teeth and her waistline, plus it causes diabetes. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine that affects the gut, heart, central nervous system, and kidneys of dogs and cats. The amount of theobromine will depend on the chocolate, but if it’s enough, it will lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures.
Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant and dogs are far more sensitive to it than we are. If your dog swallows a handful of coffee beans or a whole tea bag, take it to the vet as soon as possible.
This artificial sweetener can be found in several foods, including baked goods, sugar-free gums, and diet meals. Even a small amount is toxic and can cause liver failure or a fatal drop in blood sugar. If your dog is lethargic, starts vomiting or has seizures, go to a vet immediately.
Avocados contain a toxin called persin which is harmless – unless you’re allergic to it or have four legs. It’s highly toxic if your dog eats enough of it, plus the avo seed can cause a fatal obstruction if swallowed.
6. Onions and Garlic
Left-over pizza, Chinese takeaways, baby food, sauces, and gravies containing onion or garlic are poisonous for your pets. Regardless of whether it’s powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated, it’s bad news if your dog ingests it. Why? Onions kill red blood cells, causing anaemia, stomach and gut irritation.
7. Raw or Mouldy Food
Like raw eggs, raw meat and fish have bacteria that can cause food poisoning in humans and animals. The good news is that it’s treatable, but get help right away if your pet shows signs of fever, vomiting, or large lymph nodes. Mouldy food contains toxins from fungus that can make your dog really ill, so make sure you get rid of waste and leftovers carefully.
8. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin that can cause kidney failure in some animals. There is no safe amount that they can consume as all pets differ, so err on the side of caution and keep any foods containing grapes and raisins out of reach. This includes those delicious hot cross buns and fruit mince pies.
9. Fruit Seeds
Stone fruit such as persimmons, peaches, and plums contain seeds or pits that can block a dog’s small intestine. Peach and plum pits and apple seeds also contain cyanide, which is poisonous to people and animals.
10. Macadamia Nuts
Within 12 hours of eating them, macadamia nuts (and foods that contain them) can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature.
11. Milk and Other Dairy
Dogs don’t have enough of the enzyme that would help them break down lactose in milk, so resist the urge to share an ice cream with your best friend. Milk-based products cause diarrhoea and digestive problems in pets.
12. Yeast Dough
Bread dough needs to rise before it’s baked, and this is exactly what it does in your pet’s stomach. Yeast dough causes gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system, stretching the abdomen and causing a lot of pain. Also, as yeast ferments in dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can even lead to alcohol poisoning in animals.
Aside from the possibility of choking, dogs can develop intestinal obstructions from swallowing small pieces or splinters of bone. Cooking bones makes them more likely to break and eating large quantities can cause constipation so monitor your pet as he eats.
You can be really careful and your pet might still swallow something poisonous. Keep the number of your local vet and a 24 hour vet where you can find it easily. If you have the slightest suspicion that your dog has eaten something dangerous, get help immediately.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst
As the food and decor editor of Woman&Home, Claire enjoys nothing more than eating great food in beautiful locations. In a perfect world, she would travel for a living and have a Lord of the Rings marathon every weekend.