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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dangerous Foods for Dogs and Cats

If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. For more detailed information visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals site.

     It seems like we have always had cats. I like dogs, but they are too much more trouble, especially when it comes to their bowel habits. Cats are easier to take care of. No matter which you have, you have to watch what they eat because some human food can be toxic to cats and dogs. It's hard to deny them when they are begging for something, but some foods are simply off limits. Dogs especially want what they see us eating. It’s important to be aware that some foods can be very dangerous to dogs and cats. Also remember that even if you don't feed your pets some forbidden food, if you let them out to roam the country side they have been known to raid garbage cans. The ASPCA has an article on Counter Surfing and Garbage Raiding that offers advice on how to teach your dog not to steal food. Good luck on trying to teach a cat anything! The following foods should be avoided by both dogs and cats.

Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic substance. Birds, rabbits, and some large animals, including horses, are especially sensitive to avocados, as they can have respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death from consuming avocado.
Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous if ingested by dogs because it results in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach may be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall, resulting in the death of tissue. Additionally, the expanding stomach may press on the diaphragm, resulting in breathing difficulty. Also, as the yeast multiplies, it produces alcohols that can be absorbed, resulting in alcohol intoxication. In extreme cases, coma or seizures may occur and could lead to death from alcohol intoxication.
Chocolate intoxication is most commonly seen around certain holidays but it can happen any time dogs have access to products that contain chocolate. The rule of thumb with chocolate is the darker it is, the more dangerous it is. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death.
Alcohol. Dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol (i.e. alcohol you drink) than humans are. Even ingesting a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Dogs may be exposed to alcohol through drinking alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine or mixed drinks, alcohol-containing elixirs and syrups. Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur.
Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs can eat these fruits without harm, while others develop life-threatening problems after eating even a few grapes or raisins. Some dogs eat these fruits and experience no ill effects—but then eat them later on and become very ill. Dogs experiencing grape or raisin poisoning usually develop vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. As signs get worse, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may show a transient increase in urination followed by decreased or absent urination in later stages. Death due to kidney failure may occur within three to four days, or long-term kidney disease may persist in dogs who survive the acute intoxication.
Hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs who have ingested them. Both fresh and cooked hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs. Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature, which results in damage to and failure of multiple organ systems. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent death in these dogs. I am not sure how a dog would ingest hops unless its owner was into making homemade beer as hops are not common.
Macadamia nut poisoning is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, but it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours.
Moldy foods present a serious problem. Some produce toxins which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if ingested by dogs. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine whether a particular mold is producing something toxic so it is safest to avoid feeding dogs moldy food.
Shallots, onions, garlic and scallions contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions and while it’s uncommon for dogs to eat enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of being poisoned. The damage to the red blood cells caused by onions and garlic generally doesn’t become apparent until three to five days after a dog eats these vegetables.
Xylitol is a non-caloric sweetener that is widely used in sugar-free gum, as well as in sugar-free baked products. In dogs ingestion of xylitol can lead to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels causing them to develop disorientation and seizures within 30 minutes of ingesting xylitol-containing products.
Milk – it causes them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Salt - Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even poisoning all pets. Cats (as well as dogs) like potato chips!

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