While this isn’t a complete list of all foods that are harmful and potentially fatal to your pets, I’ve done some research to list the most commonly found within our everyday lives. So if you have a niggling doubt that perhaps your pet shouldn’t be eating something – look it up, educate yourself and take precautions. Just be aware that no matter how cautious you are, it’s possible your pet can find and swallow what it shouldn’t.
It’s a smart idea to always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center ((888) 426-4435 open 24 hours) where you know you can find it in an emergency. And, if you think your pet has consumed something they shouldn’t, call for emergency help at once. Most places will at least talk to you or have a triage tech on hand to see if you really need to go in or not.
Raisin and grapes – These can potentially make your dog ill, in more severe cases these can cause renal failure in dogs. It doesn’t take much – but in most cases that are reported, the dog has eaten more then 9oz to 2lbs of raisins or grapes. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
Macadamia nuts and Walnuts along with most other nuts have a high phosphorus content. This is said to lead to possible cases of bladder stones. Symptoms are usually weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia. They can also show signs of distress by panting, being unable to rise or showing pain when their limbs are moved due to swelling. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Mushroom toxicity can occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain mushrooms are eaten. Be aware when your pooch is outside, especially if they like to eat things off of the ground.
The amanita phalloides (also known as death cap) is the most common severely toxic species of mushroom in the US but other amanita species are toxic as well. Symptoms can include; abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death.
Onions and Garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Garlic is less toxic then onions, but still bears a warning as it can still cause issues. Pets (not just dogs) with onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, this is where the red blood cells burst while circulating in the body. Symptoms can include labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine.
The poisoning from onions will actually occur a few days after the onion has been eaten. Onion includes all types including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic.
Fat Trimmings can actually be harmful, but not toxic, to your pet. An overabundance can cause pancreatitis. A condition in which is an inflammation of the pancreas – this usually has no obvious symptoms but can be damaging. Dogs eating cat food (which is too high in protein and fat for them) can develop this as well.
Chocolate We all know and hear about this one – but what is it that actually does it? Theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. It’s usually not until the pet has eaten a lot of this that they show signs of distress, or for several hours. But for those that have eaten it, time is of the essence – within 24 hours chocolate can be fatal. Cocoa powder, and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms – they contain 10 times the amount of theobromine then milk chocolate. So even the smallest amount can be dangerous. Dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate are next in line, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. Chocolate also contains methylxanthines which is explained below.
Coffee and 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. Symptoms can include; vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.
Milk and Dairy can, believe it or not be bad for both dogs and cats. Not all of them have the enzymes necessary to break down the lactose from most forms of dairy. This can, like in humans, cause stomach upset and diarrhea. There are lactaid free products out there for both dogs and cats that can be used in their stead.
Alcohol – 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.
Avocado All parts of the avocado contain persin, a fungicidal toxin. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. For birds and rodents symptoms can include congestion, labored breathing and accumulation of fluid around the heart. Large amounts can be fatal.
Yeast Dough (un-risen) can be harmful to your pet as well as it can cause painful and often uncomfortable gas within the pets intestines. This can also lead, depending on the amount eaten due to the dough rising with the gas that accumulates, to rupture the stomach or intestines. In addition, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most, which can lead to liver failure. Initial signs of this can include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination which can lead to seizures or unusual leaning to the side.
Fruit seeds and pits mainly apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, persimmons, and the flowering hydrangea plant have trace amounts of cyanide. Cyanide prevents the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body. If your pet swallows a few seeds, the body will take care of itself – it’s the larger amounts that can do some serious damage. Cyanide isn’t released from the sead unless the cover of the seed is broken – so most of the time, it may just pass through your pets body and leave no ill effects. For the case of pits, in most cases the larger ones, these can become lodged in the intestines and causing a few things included blockage, necrosis and fast sepsis.
Potatoes and Tomatoes the leaves and stems of these plant/food can be toxic if not fatal. They both contain solanine (a member of the nightshade family) which can effects the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and heart heart.
Rhubarb the leaves of this plant/food can be toxic as well as fatal due to Oxalic Acid. Symptoms may include; weakness, burning in the mouth, labored breathing, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma and even death.
Baking Powder, Baking Soda Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder combines baking soda with an acid of some kind, usually cream of tartar, sodium aluminum sulphate or calcium acid phosphate, or a combination of the three. Eating a large amount of this can cause your pet to have electrolyte changes, muscle spasms and congestive heart failure.
Nutmeg though high levels of nutmeg can result in death, this spice shouldn’t be within reach of your pet. Symptoms include seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems, and death.