Although you might feel good about treating your pet once in a while, spoiling them with the foods you enjoy can have lethal consequences. Make sure your kids, helper, and relatives all know that the foods on this list are a no-no…
Alcohol: Alcohol has the same effect on animals as humans, causing damage to the liver and brain, but as animals are smaller, even tiny amounts can result in vomiting, liver damage and death.
Avocados: Avocados are immensely popular in our diets as a healthy fat, but they contain a compound called persin, which is highly toxic to dogs, cats, and most other animals. This can cause serious cardiovascular damage and even death when fed to parrots.
Walnuts and macadamia nuts: Many nuts, but especially walnuts and macadamias, are highly toxic. Vomiting, paralysis and death can occur after ingestion. Early warning signs include those experienced by humans allergic to nuts: vomiting, increased body temperature, racing heartbeat, trouble standing and walking, and weakness.
Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that can kill your pet if eaten in large quantities. Chocolate cake and icing are also dangerous. It can cause hyperactivity, vomiting, heart arrhythmias, and death when fed to a pet.
Xylitol: Although popular with dieters, any treats containing xylitol can cause a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar in pets as well as loss of coordination and seizures.
Caffeine: Coffee, tea or any product that contains caffeine stimulates an animal’s central nervous and cardiac systems. This can lead to restlessness, heart palpitations and death, depending on how much the animal consumes.
Grapes and raisins: Grapes and raisins can result in kidney failure in dogs. Just a single serving is enough to cause illness, and the effects are cumulative: regular consumption can lead to death. Avoid giving your dog any treat that contains raisins: muffins, muesli and bobotie are all off the menu.
Onions and garlic: Onions are also toxic to pets, so it could be time to rethink feeding your pet supper leftovers. They destroy an animal’s red blood cells and consumption can result in anaemia, weakness and breathing difficulties. The effects are cumulative over time.
Bones: Believe it or not, bones can be very dangerous for pets. Most dogs go through life without any damage caused by bones, but when issues do arise, they’re very serious. Sharp bones can easily cause fatal cuts in your dog’s throat and intestines, and very fine bones often become hard and impacted which causes sever constipation.
Milk: Is harmful to cats and dogs. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a good treat for pets. Humans are the only species that continue drinking milk after infancy. Humans have the enzymes necessary for breaking down the milk sugar in lactose but our pets lose these enzymes after they’ve been weaned; feeding your pets milk can cause nasty gastric upsets.
Dr Michael Ferreira of Three Rivers Veterinary Clinic’s top tip: Instead of bones, feed your pets rawhide chews.
Try Busy Buddy Gnawhide Rings, R70.00, shingavet.co.za
Dr Ferreira suggests shopping around your local vet and pet stores for healthy pet treats that you can use to reward your pets for good behaviour.
‘Dogs (and cats, even though they’ll strongly deny it) thrive on affection and attention,’ he explains. ‘Give your pets affection and attention when they ask for it, and they’ll be over the moon. Spoiling pets with human snacks might seem like a good way to show them love, but they definitely won’t love the detrimental effects on their long-term health.’
If you suspect your pet has eaten something on this list, call your vet immediately. Keep your vet’s number (and emergency contact details) displayed in a prominent place at home, together with a list of these common signs of poisoning: vomiting; diarrhoea; drooling; loss of coordination; redness of skin, ears and eyes; rapid heartbeat; lethargy; seizures; and excessive, bloody, or absence of, urination.
The advice contained on this page is strictly for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.
FEATURE: CANDICE CURTIS