With the holiday season in full swing, households are full of all kinds of holiday foods and treats.
And pets love to get an extra bite of our food whenever they can, so you need to be careful about what they get their paws on — as some things can be very dangerous to their health.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), here’s a list of common foods and ingredients to look out for, in order to protect your furry friend’s health!
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9 foods your pets should never eat
1. Anything containing the sweetener Xylitol
Xylitol is a type of artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products, like gum and candy, as well as some nut butters like peanut butter. Xylitol can cause insulin release, which can lead to liver failure, seizures and brain damage.
2. Chocolate, coffee and caffeine
While many dog owners are already familiar with the chocolate warning, the ASPCA points out that chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a pet’s health.
According to the ASPCA, ‘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.’
3. Onions, garlic and chives
In all forms (powdered, raw, cooked etc.), these foods can cause gastrointestinal irritation in pets and could lead to red blood cell damage. While cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if they consume enough of any of these foods.
4. Raw/undercooked meat, eggs and bones
Raw meat and eggs can often contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can be harmful to both pets and humans. According to the ASPCA, raw eggs also ‘contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems.’
Raw bones can also be very dangerous for domesticated animals, as they can choke on them, and if the bone splintered, it could get stuck in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
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5. Grapes and raisins
Although experts aren’t quite sure which substance is toxic in grapes and raisins, they do know that these foods can cause kidney failure.
Watch that glob of fruit salad you dropped on the ground, and keep the oatmeal and raisin cookies from Rover. Although experts haven’t nailed down exactly what the toxic substance is residing in grapes and raisins, they say it’s best to avoid giving them to dogs, as they can cause kidney failure.
6. Salt and salty snack foods
Salt, as well as salt-heavy foods like chips and pretzels, can lead to excessive thirst and urination, and even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Some signs that your pet may have consumed too much salt include, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.
Nuts, including almonds, pecans and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis in pets.
According to the ASPCA, macadamias are especially dangerous for pets. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia.
“Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol,” according to the ASPCA. Alcohol has the same effect on your dog’s liver and brain as it does on a human’s — but it only takes a small amount to do a lot of damage.
If a dog consumes just a small amount of alcohol, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma and even death.
While these aren’t foods, common medications can cause serious health problems for your pets, so it’s important to keep them locked in a safe place. If common medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are ingested by your dog, they can cause serious damage.
What to do if your pet is at risk
A note from the ASPCA: If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.