Pets usually have a lot of endearing qualities. One of these things that can seem very adorable is their incessant desire to eat human foods. After all they smell your delicious pizza and see you eating fries and obviously feel left out. How can we deny them the food we eat ourselves? There’s a good reason why you shouldn’t do that to your pet’s health.
Human foods to avoid
So what kind of human foods can be dangerous for our furry friends? Below is a guide to all the things you need to keep out of the reach of your pets.
Perhaps the most well-known poison in human homes for dogs is chocolate. However some dog owners may misunderstand just how toxic it is, especially to smaller dogs. In high amounts this kind of poisoning can even cause death in dogs.
In cats the same problem exists. However cats are usually unlikely to take chocolate on their own but you should try and avoid giving them foods containing chocolate anyway. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous but even lower concentration of chocolate like white chocolate should not be thought to be ‘safe’.
Raw or cooked bones
We often associate dogs with bones, an image that has been reinforced with popular portrayals of dogs on TV. However bones can be very dangerous, especially cooked ones, because when they break they form very sharp splinters. These can damage your cat or dog’s digestive tract or even cause external injuries.
Milk and dairy products
Another common portrayal of animals is the cat with the bowl of milk. However, if you have a cat, giving it milk can be a very bad idea. This is because they are lactose intolerant which means they don’t have the enzyme to digest milk and its products in their bodies. Because of this the cat may experience diarrhea or problems in its digestive system. The same holds true for dogs as they also lack the enzyme.
Garlic and onions
Garlic along with onions can be very dangerous especially for cats. This contains chemicals that cause the stomach and intestines to become irritated and inflamed. This can cause problems with digestion along with diarrhea and other issues.
In some cases you may even see problems with red blood cell damage. This can eventually lead to anemia which is the lack of iron in the blood. Although these effects are less toxic to dogs, it is still dangerous for them as well.
Because of their unusually high-fat content, most vets will warn you about nuts in general. However one kind of nuts, macadamia nuts, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Within the first 12 hours, since the nuts are eating, you may notice the dog vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, and displaying joint pain and general weakness. However don’t worry. If given the right care, your cat or dog will be back to their healthy selves again in a couple of days.
You may not have heard of Xylitol, but it is so common in every single home that it must be included in this list. Xylitol is a sweetening chemical added to most candies and sweets. This compound is highly toxic to both cats and dogs. This compound causes the release of a lot of insulin, the hormone that helps break down sugar in your body.
Because of this, the animal’s sugar level drops suddenly known as hypoglycemia. This can be very dangerous and could manifest itself in the form of vomiting, lethargy, fatigue, and general lack of coordination. This condition requires immediate treatment by a trained vet which if not given can be fatal for the cat or dog.
Like humans cats and dogs are stimulated by caffeine. The coffee beans that we add to our drinks contain the same compounds present in chocolate. These can cause similar reactions in the form of coffee such as vomiting, hyperactivity, and abnormally fast heartbeat.
Some fruits such as grapes contain seeds. Not only are these a choking hazard for your puppy or kitten, they can even cause problems as they contain a chemical that causes problems with your pet’s digestive tract.
Especially with the popular use of avocados, pet owners need to be careful. The seed is very big, and so a potential choking hazard. Aside from that, the fruit itself contains chemicals that can cause upset stomachs and other symptoms in dogs.
Because medicines made for humans are, well, made keeping human needs in mind, the doses given can be a huge hazard for our tiny friends. Aside from that, some human medicines, such as ibuprofen which is used for pain relief, can be seriously damaging and toxic to both dogs and cats and should be avoided at all times.
How can you prevent poisoning?
All the kinds of poisonings explained here are common, but usually not malicious. Obviously, as the caregiver of your dog or cat, you want to make sure they are safe and not hurt in any way but accidents do happen sometimes.
However these accidents are not totally unpreventable. If you know what to look out for, you can prevent it better. Here are some tips on how to prevent animal exposure to dangerous human foods.
- Stay up to date on all the foods that are harmful to your pet. Research is key and the most important tool to stay vigilant. Having this knowledge can save you from unnecessary trips to the emergency and save your pet a lot of pain.
- Keep your foods closed in a dog or cat proofed cabinet to limit access to them.
- Keep an eye on your pets in times of chaos like the holidays, when you can’t lock everything away.
- Train your pets to not take part in meals/eat scraps from the table. Although they might still want a taste, it’ll help control them better.
- Teach all of the people, especially the young children at home, that they are not supposed to give the cat or dog any of their foods under any circumstances.
What to do if your pet eats these foods
No matter what you do, there may be certain scenarios that you just can’t avoid. In any situation where you either see your pet eating anything dangerous or if you notice any of the symptoms above, do not hesitate to go visit a vet. Staying vigilant and giving your pets the care they need could make the difference between life and death for them in a time of crisis.