As pet parents, we want to protect our pets from harm. Commonly, we think about protecting them from various diseases by providing them with vaccinations, yearly screening tests and wellness exams. We are aware of the many dangers there are in the outdoors, such as wildlife, vehicles and parasites. But we also need to be aware of the many items in our homes that can threaten the health of our beloved pets. KC Metro Pet Mag has compiled a list of the most common and most harmful household foods to keep away from your pets.
Chocolate: Many people have heard of the dangers of our pets ingesting chocolate. And I am sure many have had their pets ingest chocolate and do fine. What you need to know is not all chocolate is the same, and the amount ingested plays a big role in the possible effects to your pet. The toxic component of chocolate is the Theobromine, which can cause side effects as mild as hyperactivity and diarrhea and as severe as heart arrhythmia and kidney failure. The concentration of theobromine is highest in baker’s chocolate, less in Dark chocolate but still significant, and the least in milk chocolate. Although milk chocolate is the safest, it doesn’t take a large amount to cause serious harm to a small dog, so avoidance is key.
Grapes/Raisins: You may be surprised to learn grapes and raisins are toxic to our pets. Even in small quantities, ¼ to ½ ounce per pound for raisins and ½ ounce per pound for grapes, they can cause kidney failure. Early signs are vomiting, drinking and urinating large quantities, which can start as soon as a few hours after ingestion. Kidney failure can take one to three days. There is no specific treatment, so you need to contact your veterinarian early to see if effects can be minimized.
Garlic /Onion: Food items from the Allium species of plants, such as garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots, cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells. Cats seem to be more susceptible than dogs. When red blood cell damage occurs, it causes anemia and decreased oxygen. This can lead to organ damage/failure or even death. Symptoms you may notice are drooling, weakness, pale gums, dark red or brown colored urine and trouble breathing.
Sugar free food items (xylitol): Xylitol, an artificial sweetener common in sugar free gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste, is now a popular additive in certain brands of peanut butter, which is a commonly used treat for dogs. Xylitol is highly toxic even in small amounts and can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. Hypoglycemia can occur between 10 to 60 minutes after ingesting a low dose of 50 mg of xylitol per pound. The likelihood of liver failure increases with higher doses. Relatively speaking, xylitol is 100 times more toxic than chocolate.
Fatty table foods: While fatty table foods such as bacon and other high fat meats are not directly toxic, they can cause a serious condition called pancreatitis. This is inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea. Hospitalization is almost always required for treatment, and in severe cases death can occur. There are certain breeds that tend to be more susceptible such as Schnauzers, miniature poodles and other small breed dogs. No matter what breed of dog you have, it is worth thinking twice before giving treats from the table.
Keep these items put away in a safe place where your pet cannot access them. Consult with a Brookside Barkery team member to find the perfect pet appropriate food and treats to keep them healthy and happy!