It is difficult for many a pet owner to resist feeding their dog or cat an occasional snack or treat that they generally do not get – especially with the pleading, brown eyes or gentle purring. Most owners do it and probably don’t consider a small bite of human food here and there to be much of a problem. In fact, it usually isn’t, but the catch is how much and how often. Pets require different nutrients, vitamins and minerals than humans, and in different amounts.
The following is a list of some common foods that can be dangerous in excess to pet health and quite often it is an active ingredient in the food that’s the real culprit.
- Guacamole – Guacamole is made from avocados and they contain a substance called persin which is a fungicidal toxin that is harmless to humans, but when ingested by domesticated animals in large quantities is dangerous. In dogs and cats, it causes vomiting and diarrhea. Keep dogs away from avocado plants, as persin is present in the leaves, bark, seed and skin of the fruit.
- Alcohol – Alcohol and food containing alcohol should not be given to dogs or cats as it effects both the brain and liver. It takes far less volume of alcohol in pets to cause vomiting, CNS depression, diarrhea, inebriation, respiratory distress, coma, and even death.
- Garlic and Onions – Garlic and onions, whether raw, cooked, dehydrated, or powdered can destroy a cat or dog’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Consuming a large quantity or eating small amounts regularly can result in poisoning.
- Caffeine – Large amounts of caffeine can be fatal. Caffeinated products such as coffee, tea, and soda drinks should be avoided. Symptoms of caffeine overdose include irritability, restlessness, rapid respiration, tremors, and bleeding and there is no antidote.
- Liver – As with most foods, a small amount of liver now and then is OK. However, cats that ingest large amounts or regularly consume liver, develop Vitamin A toxicity. Vitamin A toxicity results in deformed bones, growths on the spine and elbows, and osteoporosis.
Dogs and cats explore their environment with their mouths. Despite an owners best efforts accidents still happen and pets can eat something dangerous. It is best to contact your veterinarian or the closest emergency clinic. Help is available via phone by calling the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center as well.