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Deadly and Toxic Foods for Dogs and Cats!

We all love our furbabies and we are often tempted to share a portion of our favourite snacks with them. However, some human food can be toxic to our furbabies and can result in severe medical conditions, if not, death in our beloved furry friends. Here is a list of common food that are toxic to our furbabies:
Chocolate, Coffee & Caffeine Products

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 diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.

Note that darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is.

White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while dark chocolate contains the highest.

Macadamia Nuts Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, seizures, hyperthermia and death in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last about 12 to 48 hours and there is no antidote for this toxicity!
Grapes, Raisins & Sultanas 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.
Avocado The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin. Most persin accumulates in the skin, pit and leaves of the fruit but can also be found in small amounts in the flesh. Persin is toxic to pets and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in your furbaby. In extreme cases of avocado poisoning, they can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may be fatal.
Alcohol Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
Xylitol Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods, and toothpaste. It can cause a surge of 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 recumbency and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Paracetamol/ Panadol Paracetamol contains the active ingredient acetaminophen and can cause liver failure if ingested beyond the toxic dose. Cats are particularly sensitive.
Onions & Garlic Onions and garlic in all forms e.g. powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated are all harmful to your furbabies! These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and often 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 onion and garlic.
Fruit Pits & Bones

As we all know, our little furbabies tend to be quite lazy when it comes to chewing! Hence, fruits with pits can be very dangerous! When whole pits are being swallowed, they can pose serious risk and cause obstructions in their gastrointestinal tract.

Bones from chicken carcasses also cause problems, they can get stuck in the mouth or gastrointestinal tract and they can cause constipation too. Chicken bones also splinter easily and can increase the risk of gut perforation. Chewing on raw bones can also increase risk of a fractured tooth, which can be very painful!

Fatty Foods Fatty foods such as fat trimmings, sausages and ham can cause a disease called pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a very serious and painful illness which can be lethal too!
Milk (large quantities) Pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk). This means that they are lactose-intolerant. Like any intolerance in humans, some animals can tolerate milk products better than others. However, most milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in your furbaby.
Sodium (large quantities) Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death!
Raw meat/ eggs Raw food products often contain bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella as well as tapeworm. Although freezing kills tapeworm, bacteria can often survive through the freezing process. The only way to kill these bacteria is through cooking the food thoroughly. Bacteria and tapeworm infection can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting in your furbaby. It is also important to note that these pathogens are zoonotic, meaning that you can catch them too! Therefore, we highly advise against feeding raw food, especially if you have an immunocompromised individual at home, which includes children and the elderly.
If you are suspicious that your pet has ingested any of these foods please call your local vet clinic immediately.