As more cases are reported, the list of foods that can be toxic to our pets continues to grow, but there are some that are more common than others and which can have devastating health repercussions if consumed by our furry best friends:
- Chocolate and caffeine
Food items that have a cocoa base are the ones that involve the most incidents of poisoning among pets and can cause anything from a mild tummy upset to seizures and even death. Caffeine is also found in many common food items consumed by humans and can be deadly to dogs if consumed in a significant quantity.
- Artificial sweeteners
Closely following chocolate as one of the most toxic foods for pets, is an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. Often found in products such as sugar-free candy, bread and other baked goods, this can make Fido very sick if consumed.
- Onions, chives and garlic
Commonly a cause of sickness in dogs if consumed, plant species such as onion, chives and garlic that form part of the Allium genius, should not be given to your pet. Containing compounds called ‘organosulfoxides’, these foods can cause a pets red blood cells to break down and even if they ingest just 15 – 30 grams of onion per kilo of body weight, it can cause dangerous changes to their blood.
- Ethanol or alcohol
Poisoning by alcohol usually occurs when a pet has accidentally ingested a drink containing alcohol, but a few cases have been recorded of dogs being poisoned after consuming rotten apples, sloe berries or uncooked bread and pizza dough, all of which contain the compound. When digested, ethanol absorbs into the gastrointestinal tract very quickly and reaches the brain in much the same way as with humans. Within as little as an hour, the animal may display a loss of movement or control, lethargy and a high body temperature.
Note that ethanol is also found in paint, varnish, medication and perfume to name but a few, so go careful with your pets’ exposure to these items.
- Grapes, raisins and sultanas
In both their raw and cooked forms, these grape products have been reported to cause kidney failure in dogs, with symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhoea to lethargy and abdominal pain within 24 hours of ingesting them.
- Macadamia nuts
It’s not exactly known how many Macadamia nuts your dog would need to consume for them to become toxic, but it is known that they can cause serious health problems to dogs when ingested. Symptoms can include hind limb weakness, shaking, vomiting, stiffness and abdominal pain and usually occur within 12 hours.
You may love Fido and enjoy sharing your food with him, but take care that what you’re offering him won’t make him sick.