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Is It Poisonous? Foods to Avoid Giving to Your Pets

Giving your furry friends some table scraps may seem like a good idea but be careful what you give them! Some foods can be quite toxic to dogs and cats. Let’s go over what foods you should keep to yourself, as well as which foods aren’t as toxic as some people think they are. This is not a complete list so regardless, you should do your research before giving your pets something new off of your own plate.

First, let’s talk about xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that you will find an innumerable of human foods items. From baked goods to gum, to candy, etc. The big one that people should be aware of that is often given to pets is peanut butter. Not all peanut butters contain xylitol, so just make sure to read the label to ensure it does not contain this toxin. In humans, it is much less of a concern and is safe in quantities consumed normally. However, in dogs it can rapidly decrease blood sugar and can lead to liver failure within a few days of consumption. Common signs of xylitol poisoning signs include, vomiting, lethargy, and dizziness.

Next up, grapes and raisins! They may be sweet and delicious, but they can be deadly to our pets. The mechanism of why they are poisonous is unknown, but as few as 4-5 grapes can cause vomiting and lethargy very quickly in dogs and cats. If more are consumed, then symptoms can progress to acute kidney failure. Is it theorized that the toxin is located in the skin of the grape but the exact chemical has not yet been isolated.

Did you know that Macadamia nuts could be a fatal snack for our fur-babies? Side effects can occur with the consumption of as little as 0.7g/kg. This means as few as 6 of these nuts can cause serious side effects in a medium-sized dog, including vomiting, fever, and muscle tremors. It does this due to cyanide-like compounds that attack the nervous system.

Let’s tackle chocolate. People seem to think if their dog eats ANY chocolate, then their dog is going to die immediately. However, for any symptoms to occur a 60lbs dog would need to eat at least 100g of dark chocolate (about 3 regular size chocolate bars of pure chocolate). If they ate this much you would see symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your medium-sized dog happened to eat 200g or more they would have severe symptoms including heart problems, tremors, and seizure. The compound that causes the poisoning is called theobromine, a compound in the methylxanthine family. It stops metabolic processes in dogs and results in the symptoms listed above. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate and you are worried then you should get them checked at the vet. It is good to know, though, that unless they eat a lot of chocolate, it is not life threatening.

Next I want to mention some foods that are toxic to dogs, but only in very high doses.

Avocados contain a compound persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. However, it must be consumed at a very high concentration and is mostly concentrated in the leaves, bark, skin, and pit of the avocado and its tree. Therefore, if your dog eats some of the flesh of the avocado there is not much to worry about.

Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives are part of the Allium family of plants that contain the compound allicin. This compound is an organosulfoxide that can cause anemia in pets by destroying red blood cells. However, they would have to consume a very high dose in order to have any negative effects.

Foods that are poisonous to people are also poisonous to dogs, so make sure not to feed them items such as apple seeds and peach pits. These contain cyanide and are highly toxic. Alcohol is also a no-no for dogs since the effects it has on dogs is amplified due to their smaller size and can quickly cause liver damage. Marijuana is also a not a good thing to give to your dog. It contains a compound called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Dogs have a much more sensitive cannabinoid receptor, which makes THC very toxic to them. It can cause inactivity, incoordination, dilated pupils, increased sensitivity to motion, sound or touch, hypersalivation, urinary incontinence, an abnormally slow heart rate, restlessness, aggression, slow breathing, low blood pressure, rapid, involuntary eye movements, and in rare cases, seizures and coma. If you are using marijuana, do NOT give it to your dog.

Like I said before, this is not a complete list, but should give you an idea of what is unsafe for your furry friends. If you are looking to share some food with your pets, meat is always a good option!

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