Many people have dogs or cats who like to insistently beg for 'human' food. However, there are some snacks that should never be offered to your four-legged friend. These foods are extremely toxic and can make your pet very sick if ingested, or can even cause death.
- Chocolate, caffeine, and coffee contain methylxanthine, which is toxic to pets. It can cause many different symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, panting, excessive urination, tremors, and seizures. Giving your pet any of these foods could even lead to death.
- Alcoholic beverages and food containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, decreased coordination, coma, and even death. Never offer your cat or dog any beer, wine, or liquor. Even in small amounts these beverages are extremely poisonous.
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure and are best avoided.
- Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many gums and candies and can cause liver failure. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include lethargy, vomiting, loss of coordination, inability to stand, and seizures.
- Garlic and onions can cause red blood cell damage. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, though they are toxic to both.
Offering any 'people' food or 'table scraps' can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea and vomiting. This unsafe habit may also cause pancreatitis, a serious disease that can lead to death in severe cases. It's best not to risk the safety of your beloved pet. Avoid giving your pet food meant for human consumption.
However, if you are easily swayed by 'puppy eyes' or a demanding meow, try giving your dog or cat healthier alternatives such as:
- Sliced apples (without the seeds or core)
- Green beans
- Sliced oranges
- Celery sticks
- Popcorn (unsalted and unbuttered)
- Catnip or cat grass
No matter the treat you choose, always remember that any snack should not constitute for more than 10% of your pet's daily calorie intake.
If you believe your pet has ingested a toxic food or is showing any symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.