When considering what I pass to my pooch from the table the first thought that occurs to me is: If I can eat it, it should be safe for my dog right? Erm, not quite. There are foods that we can eat which shouldn’t be shared. Our four legged friends have mastered “The Beg” and it is up to us to be aware of what we can or cannot share.
Probably the most common culprit that everyone thinks of first is chocolate. Associated with chocolate is candies, gums, and even toothpaste containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Xylitol causes a release of insulin which results in low blood sugar levels. Ok, so candy is out of the question. How about fruit and vegetables? Some are ok, and some are a definite no. For example, pits and seeds, avocadoes, grapes or raisins, and nuts. The result of these can be obstructions, vomiting and diarrhea, kidney failure, and upset stomach or toxic poisonings depending upon the type of nut.
Often I see commercials for dog and cat foods with all natural meat. They are carnivores, right? Well yes but just like restaurants have fine print warning us about eating undercooked meats, our pets can suffer from those same bacteria. Food poisoning is no fun for them or us. Another meat to be wary of for cats is food processed for humans; like canned tuna. Let’s not forget moldy food while we’re here. Mold contains toxins called mycotoxins. This can also include yeast dough, which can expand in your pet’s stomach. A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t eat it, wouldn’t offer it to your best friend, you shouldn’t feed it to your pet either.
Foods aren’t the only edibles that cause toxicity. Medications are another large group. When we have a headache we take Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or another pain control. So when your pet looks like they are in pain, should you give them the same thing you would take? It really wouldn’t be a good idea. While they may be safe for people, they are not safe for our four-legged friends. Pain control medications can cause stomach or intestinal ulcers and kidney failure. Tylenol will damage red blood cells in cats, and causes liver failure in dogs. Sleep aids that reduce anxiety or help a person sleep will actually have the opposite effect! Never give your pet a medication that hasn’t been approved first by your veterinarian.
Be proactive in protecting your pets.If you are concerned that your pet has ingested something they shouldn't have, contact your veterinarian immediately. Alternatively, call the Animal Poison Control Center 24 hour emergency veterinary poison hotline on: 888-426-4435. www.aspca.org/apcc
Written by Beth Chapman, Veterinary Assistant at Pinole Pet Hospital