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Harmful Foods for Pets

Foods that are poisonous to dogs With the upcoming holiday season, many of us will be doing a fair amount of cooking or baking. Friends and families might also send along some tasty gifts too. Most of us probably treat our pets with the occasional tidbit from the table, but with so many goodies in the house, here is a useful list of some of the more common foods that are harmful to pets.

Note: keep fatty tidbits like turkey fat or drippings away from your pet, as it may trigger an attack of painful and potentially fatal pancreatitis. Never feed cooked bones of any kind!

Type of Food Symptoms
Alcohol - includes foods that are cooked with (or contain) wine, beer, or any other type of alcohol Most pets are a lot smaller than a human, so it doesn't take much alcohol to cause illness. Ingesting alcohol can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, difficulties breathing / depressed breathing, uncoordinated movements (pet may seem 'drunk'), seizures, and even coma or death.
Avocado - all parts of the plant, skin, seed, and fruit Dogs and cats may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. There is also the risk of choking or an intestinal blockage when the pet ingests the large avocado seed. Birds should never be bed avocado, as they are are acutely sensitive to persin, the toxin in avocado, and could die.

There is some controversy surrounding whether or not avocado is truly toxic to dogs, as some commercial dog foods contain avocado. If you are considering feeding your dog avocado (or if he has already ingested some), discuss your concerns with a veterinarian and monitor your dog closely for an adverse reactions.

Bread or pizza dough (raw yeast dough) - includes sourdough starter Unbaked dough will expand in the warm environment of a pet's stomach, causing a condition called bloat (a twisted stomach). Bloat is a medical emergency and can result in death. Symptoms including vomiting, retching, pacing or inability to get comfortable, distended stomach, weakness and sudden collapse. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast in the dough can also poison the pet's bloodstream.
Caffeine - found in many household products such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, pop, candy bars, Baker's chocolate, cocoa, and various pills and supplements Vomiting, restlessness, excessive panting, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythms, collapse or death. Can cause damage to the organs.
Chocolate - includes milk and white chocolates, Baker's chocolate, candy bars, cocoa, chocolate-covered foods Many people have reported their dogs enjoying chocolate chip cookies or other small amounts of chocolate. Chocolate does, however, contain a substance similar to caffeine and is toxic to our dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Symptoms include vomiting, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, and death. Dogs sometimes eat candy bars whole as well - including the wrapper! - which can lead to choking or intestinal blockage.
Garlic & Onions - including foods, such as pasta sauces, that contain these items Toxic to both cats and dogs. Garlic is supposed to be significantly more toxic than onions. Some pets may be okay with very tiny amounts, but symptoms may not be obvious for many days. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, unusual drooling, nausea, lethargy, weakness, exercise intolerance (ie. tires easily), stomach pain, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, pale gums, and collapse.
Grapes, Raisins, and Currants - including juices or other food products that contain them Ingestion of any of these three by a dog can result in vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance (refusal to eat), lethargy, dehydration, stomach pain, and acute kidney failure. Even small amounts can be dangerous.
Macadamia Nuts Common symptoms seen in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, tremors, difficulty or inability to walk / paralysis (often more pronounced in the hind limbs).
Moldy or Decaying Food - any type Pets often eat things that appear utterly disgusting to us humans, so moldy food won't hurt them, right? Wrong. Keep pets out of the garbage or compost heap because moldy and decaying foods can contain toxins that cause vomiting, uncoordinated movements, agitated behaviour, tremors, and convulsions.
Xylitol - a sweetener used in products like chewing gum, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, peanut butter, and puddings or other snacks. Ingestion of Xylitol by a dog or cat can result in vomiting, severe hypoglycemia (life-threatening low blood sugar), disorientation, lethargy, weakness, tremors, seizures, liver failure, collapse or death.

If your pet shows sudden signs of illness, always consult your vet. If you know that your pet has eaten something he shouldn't have, bring the item with you to the vet clinic. Illnesses are better treated early whenever possible, so that they don't evolve into full-blown emergencies.

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