Dogs and cats are just like four-legged people with emotions, habits, and relationships. But when it comes to food, we must remember that our pets do not have the bodies and stomachs of humans. What may be your favorite snack can cause serious damage to your pet.
Chocolate – Let’s address the more obvious pet-dangerous snack, chocolate. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is for pets. If ingested, immediately contact your vet with the amount of chocolate ingested, type of chocolate, and weight of your pet. For large dogs who do not already have a stomach sensitivity, a small amount of milk chocolate may not do much damage, but keep in mind the amount that affects a small dog is very different from the amount that would hurt a large dog.
Sugar-free candies and gum often contain Xylitol. This chemical is absolutely poisonous to dogs. The side effects of excessive amounts of Xylitol can be very severe and even deadly. Most packages list their ingredients, so if your dog happens to get into any gum or candy be sure to check the label right away. If you see xylitol listed, get to the vet immediately! Time is of the essence with pet ingestion of xylitol.
Dairy Products – Milk and dairy are difficult for dogs to digest. Anything that contains milk, like cheese, can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea in your furry friends.
Table scraps and leftovers are another food that should be reserved for humans only. Most human food often contains more fat, salt, and sugar than dog food. Indulging your dog or cat in too much "people food" can cause them to be overweight. If you want to share some healthy, pet-approved snacks with your animals, make sure to factor in the kilocalories (your pet should have less regular food if given table food). Meats, like steak and burgers and other meats that are high in fat, can cause health problems and pancreatitis. Also, please refrain from giving your dog bones; they can splinter during digestion and cause serious damage to your pets' stomachs and intestines.
Certain fruits are unhealthy for your pets also. Grapes, avocados, and cherries should never be given to your dog. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. The pit of avocado can cause a digestive obstruction. Cherry pits are toxic to dogs and can cause respiratory failure.
Onions & Garlic – onions and every type of food in the onion family, like shallots, can be poisonous to cats and dogs. Pets are not able to properly digest these foods because the chemical compounds in them can make it more difficult for our pets to carry oxygen through their bodies.
Things to Know: It is always recommended to contact your veterinarian right away if you think your pet may have eaten something she should not have. Veterinarians are the experts and will be able to tell you exactly what you should do to keep your pets safe from harmful foods.
If you need to induce vomiting, hydrogen peroxide causes vomiting in dogs. You should always use the hydrogen peroxide that you purchase at a pharmacy, absolutely nothing stronger than 3% hydrogen peroxide. The general rule is one teaspoon for every 10 pounds of pet body weight and never more than 9 teaspoons, no matter the pets weight. I have had to use this method before and found it helpful to mix the peroxide in a bowl with peanut butter. That is the only way my dog would take the hydrogen peroxide and not spit it out; He actually licked it right up with the peanut butter!
In cases of dog and cat vomiting and diarrhea, make sure your pet is still drinking water and not getting dehydrated. If your pet will not drink water, it is important that you see your vet. The vet may recommend that you withhold food for 24 hours (if your pet does not stop vomiting after a few hours of no food and water, go to the vet). A diet of plain, boiled chicken and white rice for a few days can help settle your pets' stomach issues.
As always, if you have any concerns about your pets’ health, the safest thing is to contact your veterinarian. If an emergency vet visit is needed, a Pet Assure membership will save you 25% on emergency services and procedures.