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You might think you’re treating your pet by giving them a bite of your favourite healthy snack, but foods that are good for people can also be very dangerous for pets.

We’ll discuss some of the more common foods that can be dangerous for animals below, but please remember that this is not a complete, exhaustive list of every single item that poses a potential health threat to your pet. Any changes to your pets’ diet or giving them foods that are not specifically for animals should be discussed with your vet.

Dogs especially will seize any opportunity they have to get their paws on any food they find, so please be careful not to leave any food lying around that isn’t intended for them.

The list of food to avoid when having a pet at home

Alcohol

Alcohol – giving alcohol to pets can cause them to have extremely dangerous drops in their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and body temperature. Large amounts of alcohol can also cause seizures and respiratory failure.

Apple seeds and apple core

Apple Seeds and apple core can be harmful to dogs as they present a choking hazard, as well as being poisonous to them. Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, which can cause their body to have trouble delivering oxygen to their organs. Consuming a small number of apple seeds on one occasion is unlikely to cause severe damage. However, eating a large amount or a small amount regularly over time can cause cyanide poisoning and painful symptoms, including difficulty breathing.

Artificial sweetener

Artificial sweetener (xylitol) is highly toxic to dogs. When dogs eat xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into their bloodstream, which causes the release of an overpowering amount of insulin from the pancreas. This release of insulin can be life-threatening as it can then cause a hypoglycaemic attack and liver failure.

Avocado

Avocados are a firm favourite in a lot of human diets, mainly for their fresh and healthy feel. However, they can cause serious health problems for your dog as they contain persin, which can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea or damage to their heart. The avocado stone itself can also pose a choking risk and block the intestine.

Bones

Never give your dog cooked bones of any kind. Bones are commonly given to dogs as they are a good source of minerals and nutrients, whilst also helping to clean your dog’s teeth and prevent gum disease! Bones are not a necessity for dogs to chew on, but if you are going to give them to your pet, make sure you offer raw bones under constant supervision and ensure they are not small or can be broken into small pieces that could cause your dog to choke. Cooked bones are likely to splinter into shards, causing choking and could seriously tear and damage the insides of your dog, causing internal bleeding.

Chocolate and caffeine

Chocolate is poisonous to pets, primarily due to the theobromine ingredient that dogs are not able to metabolise. It is one of the most common foods that pets are brought to the vets after consuming. When dogs consume chocolate, they will likely vomit, experience nausea, increased heart rate, diarrhoea and potentially have seizures, tremors, and it can potentially be fatal.

Coffee and caffeine can increase your pets’ heart rate and cause them to become hyperactive. By raising your pets’ heart rate, caffeine can cause cardiac arrhythmias, loss of muscle control and seizures, as well as causing vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be fatal, especially if not treated immediately.

Raw Eggs

Although dogs and cats can eat hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, which provide them with a source of vitamins and protein, they can not consume raw eggs. There is no nutritional benefit to your pet eating raw eggs. However, they could contract salmonella, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Milk and Dairy

Milk and Dairy should be avoided as too much Dairy in the dog’s diet can cause digestive problems, as they are unable to break down the sugars in milk.

Onions

All parts of onions can cause onion toxicosis in your dog, whether they are cooked or raw. It can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells and can lead to haemolytic anaemia, meaning oxygen cannot be carried in the blood efficiently.

Raisins

Raisins and other currents are all potentially poisonous and if eaten, can cause serious gut problems and kidney failure.

Meat

Raw or undercooked meat should only be consumed by your dog if advised by your veterinarian. Raw food diets (RFDs) have grown in their popularity over recent years. Raw meat is likely to contain salmonella, listeria, E.coli and other harmful bacteria.

Salt

Salt and salty snack foods should not be overconsumed by your dog, as it can cause salt poisoning. The symptoms and damage caused by salt poisoning can develop very quickly, and so you should always act fast and call your vet immediately if you notice they have consumed excessive amounts of salt. Some signs of salt poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive thirst, swollen abdomen, excessive urination and seizures. Your pet may also appear stiff or uncoordinated as their muscles release excess fluids to try and balance the sodium levels apparent in their bloodstream.

What to do if your pet eats something they shouldn’t:

If your pet has eaten even a small amount of any of the items on this list, or anything that isn’t intended for animal consumption, please act immediately and take your dog to the vets, as they can be fatal.

It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, and your vet may need to administer medication to help your pet to vomit and empty their stomach of any of the potentially dangerous foods they have consumed. Further treatment or surgery could also be required to ensure your pet is safe from the effects of the poisoning from the food they have ingested.

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