Any pet parent knows the struggle of saying no when our pets beg for food while we are trying to eat. While resisting giving our fur babies treats from our dinner plates is hard, it is the right thing to do. Not only do our pets have different nutritional needs from us, but many human foods are toxic to them. We've put together a shortlist of foods that are harmful to our pets, as well as the signs and symptoms if they are ingested.
A - Z of toxic foods
Below is an overview of foods that are toxic to our pets. This isn't a full list, and it's alway best to avoid feeding your furry friend human foods. If your pet does eat something and your are unsure of whether it could be harmful, call your vet immediately.
If ingested in large enough amounts alcohol can be toxic to our pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, difficulties breathing, and tremors.
The skin and leaves of the avocado contain persin which can be toxic to animals, particularly birds. While cats and dogs aren't as susceptible as other animals it is still something to be aware of. Avocados are also high in fat and can contribute to pancreatitis in dogs.
Dogs especially are more sensitive to caffeine than us humans. While a lap or two of your coffee is unlikely to do them any harm, if ingested in large enough amounts can be fatal. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include, vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, tremors, rapid breathing, heart palpitations.
All parts of citrus fruits (the fruit, peel, seeds, leaves and stems) contain citric acid which can be harmful to our pets. If only a small amount is ingested your pet should only experience mild symptoms like an upset stomach. However, if a large amount is ingested it can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Citrus to avoid include lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits.
It is well known chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs but it is still something we see all too often in our hospitals. Chocolate contains the toxins caffeine and theobromine which cause vomiting and diarrhoea on the mild end of the toxicity range, and seizures and heart arrhythmias on the severe end.
While garlic and chives ingested in small amounts shouldn't cause any problems. If ingested in large quantities they can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage.
Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants contain a toxin that can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure. It doesn't take many for dogs to become critically ill. Symptoms include, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excessive urination, lethargy, abdominal pain, tremors and seizures. By the time clinical signs begin, the pet is already experiencing kidney failure.
Macadamias are toxic to dogs. It is unknown which part of the macadamia causes poisoning. Symptoms include, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, abdominal pain, joint stiffness and pale gums.
Did you know cats and dogs are lactose intolerant? Avoid giving your furry friends cow's milk, as drinking it can cause diarrhoea, craps and digestive upset.
Did you know onions can be lethal? Onions contain thiosulphate which is toxic to both cats and dogs. Ingestion of this food causes a condition known as haemolytic anaemia which is where red blood cells throughout the body burst. This condition can be fatal, so keep a watchful eye on your furry family members.
Just like us humans, when our pets ingest too much salt they can suffer from excessive thirst and urination, and potentially sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms from consuming a large amount include, depression, diarrhoea, elevated body temperature, seizures, tremors and vomiting.
The stone in stone fruits is toxic and can cause obstructions if ingested.
Xylitol is a sweetener found in an alarming amount of foods, including sweets and treats, chewing gum and peanut butter. It is toxic to our pets and can cause liver failure and seizures. So, if you are planning on treating your pet with a delicious snack, check the label to ensure products don't contain xylitol.
Should our pets eat raw yeast dough it can continue to rise and cause gas to accumulate in their digestive system. Not only will this be painful for them it can also cause their stomach to bloat and potentially twist. Yeast also produces ethanol (a type of alcohol) which is also toxic to our pets.
For more information about what is toxic to pets, visit our Pets and Poisons Guide.