In Foods Your Pet Shouldn’t Eat, Part I, we discussed fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products. Part II touches on meats, beverages, chocolate, and various food ingredients.
Some meats are fatty, such as bacon. Others, such as steak, chicken, and pork, have extra fat on them that you may like to trim off and feed your pet. The fat can cause diarrhea and gas, vomiting, or ultimately result in pancreatitis and liver problems.
Keep your pet from eating raw fish, as it may contain harmful contaminants, bacteria, parasites, and heavy metals. Some enzymes found in raw fish can destroy vitamin B levels, which might result in convulsions and neurological problems.
The bones from fish and other meats can also be a problem. Your pet can choke on them, or larger bones might splinter. The sharp points may tear the digestive tract and organs, which in turn can cause internal bleeding.
Your pet should drink water to stay hydrated. But they get into other beverages that can harm their health, such as caffeine, milk, and alcohol.
Caffeine can be found in coffee (coffee beans and coffee grounds too), tea (and tea bags), and soda pop. It is a stimulant that can harm the nervous system and heart. Symptoms, such as agitation, restlessness, panting, and vomiting can begin within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Milk may seem like a fine drink for your pet. When they’re young kittens and puppies, they can tolerate the lactase, but their ability to digest decreases as they age. Like people, they become lactose intolerant, causing diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress.
Your pet could face alcohol poisoning from alcoholic beverages or any beverage that has been fermented. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, staggering, and tremors. Alcohol poisoning can cause your pet to become comatose, and even die.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, chocolate is the number one toxin that people call about. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst. Just a small bite can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Ingesting a large amount may result in seizures, and death can occur within 24 hours. The darker the chocolate, the smaller your pet, the worse the danger is.
There are ingredients found in foods that should not be ingested by your pet. This includes cinnamon, salt, yeast, and xylitol.
Cinnamon isn’t a toxin, but an irritant. If eaten, it can irritate the mouth, and if inhaled, it can cause breathing problems and choking. It may result in diarrhea, vomiting, low blood sugar, or even liver disease.
Salt consumption can cause excessive thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea. Large quantities of salt can be poisonous and cause seizures and brain swelling.
Many people enjoy baking bread. The yeast in the dough can be harmful to your pet if ingested. Since yeast rises, it expands in the warm, moist stomach, and the gases it releases cause the stomach to bloat. The bloating can twist and tear the stomach. Also, if the dough ferments in the stomach, it can cause alcohol poisoning.
The artificial sweetener xylitol is found in sugar free candy, mints, gum, medicines, and even in toothpaste and mouthwash. If ingested by your pet, it causes insulin levels to spike, which can damage the liver. Within 30 minutes, your pet may vomit, be lethargic, and uncoordinated, although some pets don’t manifest signs very quickly. If left untreated, it can cause seizures and death.
It pays to be aware of what your pet is eating to keep them safe and healthy. If you have any questions or are concerned about something your pet ingested, call Dr. Newman at 208-233-2844.