Many people know that chocolate is toxic for dogs and maybe one or two other things but there are actually several different foods and household plants that can be harmful for your cats and dogs. Knowing what these things are can help you to save your pets life. Never leave these foods out on counters or even in your indoor garbage cans. If you have finished consuming any of the following foods and you plan to discard any of them, either put them in the garbage disposal or take them directly to your outside garbage. Do not have your outside garbage anywhere, where you pet can get to it.
Most of these toxic foods can cause: Abdominal pain, lack of appetite, liver damage, kidney damage, diarrhea, puking, seizures, coma, and death. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following get them medical attention immediately. Call your vet for immediate instructions there are things that are likely in your home that can make them throw up right away. Your vet will give you instructions on what to do based on what your pet has eaten; still prepare to bring them to the vet after getting them to vomit at home. In cases where speed is of the utmost importance it is sometimes better to call the Pet Poison Hotline as they can access specific care instructions faster than a regular vet can. Unfortunately the number is not easy to remember but it might be wise to keep the number on your fridge or somewhere that you can get to it quickly. The number is: 800-213-6680.
Obviously we all know that some varieties of mushrooms are toxic even to humans and others can cause symptoms similar to being high, but for dogs mushrooms can be deadly. According to wisegeek.com, there are certain kinds that are worse than others, but unless you are a mushroom expert it is best to just not have any mushrooms in a location where your dog can get them. It is also best to inspect your yard to be sure you don’t have any growing on your property in areas where your dog is free to roam.
This is something most people know about. According to PetMD.com, Cocoa beans contain theobromine and theophylline these are stimulants and that is why they are harmful to dogs. Obviously cocoa powder is harmful as well.
Grapes and Raisins
Here is one a lot of people probably don’t know about. I recently learned this from my dog’s vet (Dundee Animal Hospital in Crystal Lake, IL). Grapes and raisins can be toxic for dogs. Just a handful of either can cause problems. While death is not an immediate reaction it can cause kidney and liver damage which can lead to death. They can also cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting, which can lead to lack of appetite and severe dehydration.
Coffee and Other Beverages with Caffeine
Obviously one would think that if chocolate is toxic because of stimulants that coffee would be too. You have to also include tea bags too because they are also stimulants and pretty much any drink including energy drinks or sodas that might contain caffeine.(Source: Petmd.com)
This one really surprised me as I have often given fat to my dog, but they say fat weather it is cooked or not can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis can lead to kidney disease. (Source: peteducation.com)
According to wisegeek.com nuts, particularly macadamia nuts can cause skeletal problems in dogs which can cause paralysis.Macadamia nuts are not the only kind of nuts you should keep away from your dog though other nuts can cause similar problems that may not show up as quickly as macadamia nuts.
Eggs and Raw Meat
While not deadly consumption of eggs and raw meat can cause dogs to have skin and hair problems because it causes them to not be able to absorb vitamin B. These things can also cause salmonella which can be harmful to cats, dogs, and humans.(Source: http://www.entirelypets.com/toxicfoods.html
Onions & Garlic
This one I learned about first hand unfortunately. This is actually the reason I am writing this article my 5 year old German Shepherd got in to the garbage and consumed some onion that I had used to make gravy and then discarded. She went from being a healthy 5 year old dog to complete kidney failure within days of consuming the onions from the garbage. This all took place in a weeks time and unfortunately she became so ill she had to be put down. This was heart breaking to my family and myself, and I don’t want any other families or pets to suffer because of this. Prior to this happening I was not really that aware that onions were toxic to dogs, when the vet tried to make me remember what had been in the garbage onions was one of the things I listed and she said that the onions were likely the cause of the kidney failure. Onions are a little more commonly known about, but garlic can also be toxic although garlic is not quite as bad, but still large amounts can be dangerous. Onions and garlic contain thiosulphates. This can cause red blood cells to burst in their body which can damage the liver. Other problems include vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, and discoloration in urine. It does not matter what type of onion or garlic they consume they are all bad for them, that includes, green onions, and leeks. This also includes onion powder, onion salt, dehydrated onion and any food items that were cooked with onion or garlic.If you need more information about this you can go here: http://www.wisegeek.org/which-foods-are-toxic-to-cats-and-dogs.htm
Milk and Dairy Products
I hear people saying they give their dogs cheese all of the time and every time I hear this I cringe. While it is not toxic and likely will not kill your cat or dog it can make them sick. Like many humans some cats and dogs can be lactose intolerant and giving them dairy products with lactose can cause them to have stomach upset and severe diarrhea. While it works out for some pets many will suffer, why risk hurting your pet? If you insist on giving them cheese then give them a variety that is for those who are lactose intolerant, they have special ones just for pets. I was told not to give my dog cheese from her vet back when my last dog was a puppy. I remember the vet telling me to never give her chocolate or cheese. That has always stuck with me and why I always have to speak up when I see other people giving it to their dogs. Also remember if you had a pet that handled cheese fine in the past it doesn’t mean new and future pets will handle it the same. (Source: DundeeAnimalHospital.com & http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=1030)
Sugar Free Gums and Candies
While no candy or gum is good for pets sugar free gums and candies containing artificial sweeteners namely Xylitol can be particularly harmful, not just because a dog could choke on them or not be able to digest them well but because they can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. This can occur really quickly as little as 15 to 20 minutes and the hypoglycemia will cause the animal to be lethargic and become unstable, they will also vomit, and then they will begin to tremor, seize, and go in to a coma. Likely you will not have time to get your pet to the vet unless the vet is very close in time. If you suspect that they have ingested anything containing sugar free sweeteners particularly Xylitol you should call the pet poison hotline immediately speed is very important at this point. You can find the number at the top of this article.You can find warning labels about Zylitol on many packages of gum and sugar free candies. This is something people may not notice but this information is widely shared from the manufacturers of these products.
According to ( http://www.humanesociety.org /animals/resources/tips/foods_poisonous_to_pets.html) fruits with hard pits such as peaches, plum, cherries, can make your pets mildly ill, but it is their pits that can be the real causes for alarm. They contain cyanide which is harmful to not only your pets but you as well apple seeds also contain cyanide as well. Of course most humans would not try to consume a peach pit, but an unknowing animal might. They can cause coma and death and of course they can be choked on as well. Obviously these pits are very dangerous so be sure to dispose of them only in garbage cans that your pet could not possibly get in to. Persimons seeds can also be harmful according to: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=1030.
More harmful to cats than dogs but still bad for dogs avocados contain something called persin which is a toxin. They can cause problems in the intestine and lead to problems such vomiting, and may also inhibit a pet’s ability to have bowel movements. It can be deadly for cats and other animals, obviously do not ever feed your pet hamster, mouse, or any other small rodent type animal avocados. Obviously the seeds are of great danger as well as they can be choked on. This information can also be found on (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/foods_poisonous_to_pets.html ).
Tomatoes and Tomato Plants
According to Wisegeek.com (http://www.wisegeek.org/which-foods-are-toxic-to-cats-and-dogs.htm#slideshow) tomatoes and tomato plants can be toxic to cats. They can cause serious gastrointestinal distress. Since cats can easily jump out counters it is best to leave them in the refrigerator where your cats can not get to them. If you have a garden and your cat goes outside, be sure to have some kind of structure around them that will make it difficult for your cat to get in. A 2 foot high fence of chicken wire works well because even though cats can easily climb, climbing on chicken wire will hurt their paws so they won’t have a great desire to do so.
Baby Foods and Other Manufactured Mixed Foods
Because any mixed food from a manufacturer could contain onion or garlic it is not wise to give them to pets. Avoid giving your pet baby food, canned soups, boxed meals, boxed noodles with seasoning or anything else you can think of that is packaged for convenience and spiced. Also while baby foods that do not contain onions or garlic may not be toxic they are not made for dogs and cats and do not contain the adequate nutrition that dogs and cats need. (Source: http://www.entirelypets.com/toxicfoods.html).
Don’t bring that leftover sushi home for Fido. Although you may not notice any significant problems right away raw fish can lead to a vitamin B deficiency which can cause a loss of appetite and more seriously seizures, and in the worst cases death. Even cooked fist can be dangerous because a lot of time tiny bones may remain in them, and while we humans can simply pull them out a dog or cat does not have that ability and they will likely choke on them. (Source: http://www.entirelypets.com/toxicfoods.html)
Alcohol and Yeast Breads
Many alcohols contain yeast as do of course yeast breads. Yeast contains ethanol this can effect a pets respiratory system and their nervous system. This can occur very quickly so if you catch your dog licking up a spilled bear at a picnic or drinking from the punch bowl get them to the vet quickly as it absorbs in to their systems very quickly. Do not induce vomiting, this is one of the rare toxic poisoning incidents where you would not do that, they dog needs to be treated with fluids from the vet. Also if you see someone at a party giving their dog beer at a party, because they think it will be funny, tell them if they care about their dog they should not do that. Even if it does not harm them severely right away it could cause long term negative effects.(Source: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=1030)
Don’t Feed Your Dogs Cat Food and Cats Dog Food
We took in an old stray cat a few years back and he seemed to prefer the dog food to his own. I told the vet about this and the vet told me not let the cat eat the dog’s food any longer and to not let the dog eat the cats food. Feeding a cat dog food, or a dog cat food won’t likely kill them but it could have long and short term effects on their overall health. Dog food and cat food are both specially formulated for the animals they are made for. Their nutritional values are not significant for the opposite animals. This is something I of course learned from being both a cat and a dog owner, but I am backing this information up with information from: Peteducation.com.
Don’t Feed Your Cat or Dog People Medicine
It may seem like the logical thing to do if your dog or cat is limping to give them an aspirin but don’t. Dog’s and cat’s bodies are very different from ours. Our medication even the most mild over the counter kind can kill our pets. Don’t do it. Your vet can give you the appropriate medication for your pet. Never try to medicate them yourself out of your own medicine cabinet. In case you are wondering they do have pet aspirins just check your local pet store. Save goes for human vitamins they are formulated for humans not animals and can harm your pets.This is something I learned first hand when my old dog, started to age and was getting arthritis. The vet told me about the dog aspirins that I could get at the vet’s office or at the pet store. On the same note people vitamins are not good for dogs either and those containing iron as too much iron can cause damage to the intestinal lining, the kidneys and the liver. Obviously if your pet needs something nutritionally due to an illness or a lack of it in their diet let your vet decide on what your dog needs to take. Never try and cure what ails them yourself. (Source: Petmd.com and my dog’s vet.)
Cleaning and Automotive Products
Obviously cleaning products are harmful to any living thing that eats them. So keep them sealed and away from pets. Many cats die each year from eating antifreeze so be sure to keep your cat out of the garage if you are working on your car and dispose of all automotive fluids after removing from your car in a safe manner. Even if you don’t have a cat a neighbor’s cat could wonder in to your garage and drink the harmful automotive fluids.This is of course common knowledge, but I learned first hand about the dangers of cats consuming anti freeze as we actually had one of the neighborhood cats die after consuming antifreeze from a neighbor’s garage.
Plants Pet Owners Should Never Have in or Around Their Homes
I am sure in time more houseplants will be considered toxic for pets but as of now we know of these three that should be avoided by pet owners: Jimson Weed, Pointsettia Plants, and Lantana which is a perennial plant. This plant may show up in neighbor’s yards, they look a bit like petunias. Marijuana can also be harmful to pets if eaten it can increase their heart rate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting and can even lead to coma or seizures. Other harmful plants include sage palm, Lilies, Tulips, azaleas, and oleander. While you can control what is in your own yard you cannot control what is in your neighbors yards. It is best to make sure your pets do not wonder off of your property. Indoor cats are much safer obviously than outdoor cats which have the run of the neighborhood. Dog owners should have fenced yards with fences high enough to keep their dog in. Inspect your fence regularly to make sure it is not damaged. One piece of wood broke off our fence once and it was just large enough for my dog to get out. Luckily I went to let her in fairly quickly and when she didn’t come I walked out and saw that the fence was broken, I called her and she came back right away but had she not any number of things could have happened to her.(Sources: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=1030 and http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/plants_poisonous_to_pets.html.
There are very few bones that are actually safe for dogs and they are usually not the kind you have left over from the meats you get at home, such as cow leg bones. Most bones can splinter and choke your dog. Chicken and other poultry bones can easily choke dogs as well as small fish bones. If in doubt about a bone don’t give it to your pet. If you want to give your dog a bone get it from the pet store they will have the appropriate bones there. It is best to only let them chew on any bone when you are home in case they do choke. Put bones away when you are not home to watch your dog.(Source: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=1030)
There is never any guarantee that our pets will be 100% safe but knowing what can be harmful and keeping it away from them is half the battle. I hope no other family has to go through what my family did. Watching a pet suffer and having to put them down is one of the most devastating things that can happen in life. Knowing that if you had just been more careful or had, had more knowledge then your cat or dog would not have put in such a horrible condition is truly awful. We loved our dog so much and always tried to do right by her, but the one time she was able to get in to the garbage proved fatal to her. I hope that my story will encourage others to be more careful and more informed when it comes to their pets.