Human Foods Not Safe for Dogs or Cats

Sometimes we spoil our pets with human food now. However, there are several foods that are toxic to animals...

We often regard our pets as our children and we love to spoil them. That's often why, when we're eating something delicious, we give some of our human food to our cat or dog as a treat. Or maybe we never do that but when they are being looked after by their grandparents we sometimes hear the old 'But it was just a tiny bit' answer when we wonder why they have gone off their dinner :)

It's understandable to be tempted in this way, however, you may be doing more harm to your pet than you realise. Many foods we consume are harmful, or even deeply toxic, to dogs and cats, so it’s wise to learn which ones to avoid.

Chocolate is a delicious snack for humans but it can make our dogs very ill because it contains theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients are dangerous because they can speed up their heart rate and stimulate their nervous system. Chocolate toxicity can cause seizures, diarrhoea, restlessness, muscle tremors and vomiting.

The risk of your dog becoming ill from eating chocolate depends on their weight, as well as the type and amount of chocolate eaten. To play it safe, don’t give your dog chocolate at all (there are carob alternatives that can safely be used as training treats!) and consult your vet if you’re concerned your pet may have eaten a toxic quantity.

Toothpaste, chewing gum, lollies, mints (in fact a lot of human food!) contain the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, that can cause liver damage in dogs. Xylitol is dangerous because it releases a sudden insulin surge within the dog's body that leads to low blood sugar. Within half an hour of consuming food containing xylitol, your pet may be uncoordinated and lethargic and start vomiting. If left untreated, this can be fatal.

Both cats and dogs are highly incompatible with grapes and raisins. These two foods can cause sudden kidney failure in both canines and felines. It is important to take your pet to the vet immediately if you know they have consumed grapes or raisins.

Red blood cell levels are very important for cats and dogs and, if your dog consumes garlic, onions or chives, this function may be compromised. Red blood cells that have been compromised in this way can rupture and lose their ability to move oxygen around the body efficiently. Even when cooked, powdered or crushed, these ingredients are extremely toxic and should never be given to your pet.

Macadamia nuts, raw eggs, raw fish, excess salt, mushrooms, cherries, rhubarb, nutmeg, avocados, yeast, caffeine and alcohol(!) are all foods and ingredients that are toxic to your pet and should be avoided at all costs.

To keep your animals safe, make sure you keep an eye on what they are eating and avoid feeding them human food. If you suspect or know that they have consumed any of the ingredients above, make sure you call or take them to a vet immediately.