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Poisonous food for pets

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

It can be very tempting to share food with our pets, particularly when they give you those starved, ‘please feed me’ eyes. However, do remember that some foods are toxic to animals and could make them unwell. 

We’ve compiled a list of foods that are poisonous to pets:

Chocolate – the most well-known poisonous food. Chocolate contains theobromine which can affect the heart and nervous system. Depending on how much chocolate and what type was eaten by your pet (dark chocolate is particularly dangerous), you may see symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors or seizures.  

Onions and garlic – can cause digestive upsets and anaemia.

Grapes, raisins and currants – these can cause kidney failure.

Caffeine – reactions are very similar to chocolate poisoning and can include restlessness, rapid breathing and heart palpitations.

Avocado – all parts of the avocado are toxic to rabbits, rodents, birds and reptiles due to a substance called persin. Persin can cause heart failure in rodents and breathing difficulties in birds.

Dairy products – contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t be drinking cow’s milk. Cats and dogs cannot digest lactose effectively and can cause nasty digestive upsets. This includes excessive amounts of cheese and butter.

Xylitol (artificial sweeteners) – often found in sweets and chewing gum, xylitol can make an animal’s blood sugar drop too quickly and cause liver failure.

Macadamia Nuts - this type of nut is particularly toxic to dogs causing symptoms such as weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature (hyperthermia).

Cooked bones – there is some argument as to whether dogs can consume bones, however, we must stress that cooked bones are more likely to splinter and could damage your pets internal organs or cause a blockage.

Salt – too much salt can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, hyperthermia or seizures. 

Raw fish – frequently feeding your pet raw fish can cause a vitamin B deficiency resulting in seizures.

Corn on the cob –the cob can cause an obstruction in your pet’s digestive system. Look out for the usual blockage symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and depression.

Apple, plum, cherry and apricot seeds – the seeds can release cyanide if the seed casing is broken. Cyanide can result in very quick death.

Alcohol – alcohol is not for pets! Even small amounts can have a serious effect on pets including liver and brain damage.

Mushrooms – not all mushrooms are toxic but it is safer to avoid them altogether. Mushrooms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, kidney and liver failure.

Rhubarb – rhubarb contains oxalates which can result in low blood calcium levels and kidney damage.

If your pet has eaten any of the above foods, please always seek veterinary advice. Some will affect your pet more rapidly than others so it’s always best to check what to do next. Contact your local surgery for more information or advice. 

In an emergency, please call Highcroft Veterinary Hospital on 01275 832410 which has a vet on-site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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