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Top 10 People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

no-no-doggie-foodsChocolate, Macadamia nuts, avocados…these foods may sound delicious to you, but are actually quite dangerous to our animal companions. Our ASPCA nutrition experts have come up with a list of top 10 people foods that you should not feed your pet. If ingestion of any of these items should occur, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.      

 

1. Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

2. Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

3. Avocado
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

4. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

5. Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

6. Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

7. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella [ital] and E. coli [ital] that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract. 

8. Xylitol
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

9. Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.  (The garlic argument is on-going.  Adding garlic powder to their food is a natural flea deterent among other things.  But no garlic cloves, chunks or even bits.)

10. Milk
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

 

“Must” Resources For Every Pet Parent: 

Every Dog’s Legal Guide 

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saved! ASPCA Vets Rescue Puppy Who Ate Loaf of Raisin Bread

Early last week, New York City resident Jeremy Sigall discovered his mischievous six-month-old puppy, Winnie, had snatched a loaf of raisin bread from the kitchen counter and completely devoured it, crumbs and all. The Welsh springer spaniel was at grave risk for kidney failure—a common reaction in dogs who’ve eaten grapes or raisins. Horrified and worried, Jeremy immediately called the Urbana, IL-based ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s (APCC) 24-hour hotline.

The veterinary toxicologists who handled the call—Dr. Michael Knight and Dr. Susanna Hawkins—determined the loaf of bread may have contained three tablespoons of raisins, a sufficient amount to be toxic to most dogs. As luck would have it, Jeremy and his wife live within blocks of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan. After consulting with the APCC, they rushed Winnie to the hospital for emergency care.

“Winnie’s parents had already called the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center—which was so smart—so we already had a case number when we called to talk again,” says Dr. Emmy Pointer, the ASPCA veterinarian who treated the pup. “We immediately induced vomiting and got a good portion of the raisin bread up, then started IV fluids right away to prevent kidney failure.” After three days of monitoring, Winnie’s test results showed no subsequent signs of renal problems.

Nearly 20 years ago, APCC toxicologists started noticing a disturbing trend in their data involving dogs who’d eaten grapes and raisins—nearly all developed acute kidney failure. The chemical that causes this reaction hasn’t been identified, but it can be treated successfully if pet parents are proactive like the Sigalls. Thanks to quick-thinking parents and the seamless communication between the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and hospital staff, Winnie is now home and healthy, enjoying a diet of strictly “pooch-appropriate” treats.

Since the toxic potential of grapes and raisins is still an enigma, it’s best to avoid feeding them to your pet in any amount or any form. Furthermore, never underestimate your dog’s ability to raid the kitchen—keep all people food tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, call your vet or the APCC’s hotline at (888) 426-4435. Worried about remembering all those digits? Order our free APCC magnet—a cool way to keep the hotline close!

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October 14, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment