Ten Things You Should Never Give Your Pet
by Dr. Karen Halligan
Having worked in emergency for numerous years, I have seen pets given all kinds of foods and drinks. An easy rule of thumb, if it isn't particularly healthy for you, it most likely is not good for your cat or dog. Some pets will eat almost anything, so pet owners need to be careful or they could end up in the local emergency room. The following are ten bad things to give your pets.
- Make no bones about it - bones are bad for animals! Every year countless numbers of animals end up in the emergency room from being given bones by their owners, usually as a treat.
The fact is that dogs are omnivores, not carnivores and most dogs and cats cannot tolerate bones. They can splinter or lodge in the intestinal tract with disastrous results, usually requiring surgery.
They can also get stuck in their mouth or throat, which is just as dangerous. All bones are bad, including pork, chicken and beef.
The next time you feel the urge to give your dog a bone, just make sure it's a milk bone or a nylabone. Your pet will love you for it.
- Chocolate can be lethal to pets because it contains theobromine, which causes increased heart rate, central nervous system stimulation and constriction of arteries. Clinical symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and excitability to cardiac failure, seizures and death. This can occur as quickly as four to six hours after ingestion. Baking chocolate is the worst because it contains the highest amount of theobromine.
A potential lethal dose is only one pound of chocolate in a 16-pound dog. If your pet has gotten into chocolate you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Alcohol is also very bad for cats and dogs. It doesn't take much alcohol to intoxicate a pet. Animals will stagger and bump into things, hurting themselves, and it also causes them to urinate uncontrollably.
In high doses, alcohol will suppress the central nervous, respiratory and cardiac systems and can lead to death. It is best to just give your pet water.
- Milk is also not good for animals because many of them are lactose intolerant and will develop diarrhea. Pets often lack the enzyme that is required to break down the sugar in milk and this can cause them to develop vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Even though they like it, especially cats, refrain from giving your pets milk.
- Ham and other salty meats and foods are very dangerous to pets. In addition to being high in fat, they are also very salty which can cause serious stomach ache or pancreatitis.
Also, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a life-threatening condition called "bloat." This is where the stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist, causing the pet to die. Please avoid giving ham and salty foods to your pets.
- Onions are toxic to pets. They contain allyl propyl disulfide, which damages their red blood cells and can cause fatal consequences in animals. They may become anemic, weak and have trouble breathing.
The best thing to do if your pet ingests onions is to get them to the vet right away.
- Caffeine is also bad for pets. It contains methylated xanthine that, like chocolate, stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems and within several hours can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations and even death. So make sure your pets stay away from that early morning brew.
- Avocados are also bad for pets. First, they are really high in fat and can cause stomach upset, vomiting and even pancreatitis. Second, the pit is also toxic and can get lodged in the intestinal tract leading to a severe blockage, which may require surgery.
- It may come as a surprise to many that tuna fish is bad for cats. The feline heart muscle requires an amino acid called taurine to maintain normal strength and function. Regular tuna fish for humans does not have this amino acid and cats that eat too much tuna fish will develop heart problems.
If you want to give your cats that taste of tuna that they love, just make sure it is tuna fish for cats which has this amino acid added.
- The latest study has found that raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure in pets. Small dogs can also choke on grapes so it is best to just make sure that your pets eat a well-balanced diet that is formulated for their life stage.