Toxic Food Guide for Pets

What Not to Feed Dogs and Cats

Fruit Toxins

The specific problem with persimmons, peaches, and plums are the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction, a good possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs should the pit be broken open and consumed.  According to Pet Poison Helpline, grapes and raisins have been known to cause acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs. With kidney failure, a pet’s ability to produce urine decreases, which means they are unable to filter toxins out of their system.  Unfortunately, the reason for kidney failure and the amount of grapes/raisins necessary to be toxic to pets is unknown, so all cases of ingestion have the potential to be grave. Depending on the size of the dog, as little as four grapes/raisins can have an adverse effect on your fuzzy friend.

Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms — which may be found growing in your backyard or on the nature trail where you walk your dog — contain toxins that will trigger numerous organ systems, including the kidneys, liver and brain. Nervous system abnormalities, seizures, coma, vomiting, and death can all result when a dog consumes mushrooms.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg can also be stored in the pantry with other potentially hazardous substances for pets. Often used as a spice for baking, nutmeg’s rich, spicy scent is attractive to dogs. High levels can be fatal. Signs include tremors, seizures and nervous system abnormalities.

Nuts

Abundant in many cookies and candies, certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract; macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can cause toxic poisonings. Moldy walnuts can contain toxic chemical products produced by fungi which cause seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion.

Onions and Garlic

Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions, onion powder, or even cooked onion causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. In other words, onion toxicity can cause the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst. A small amount can be toxic to your dog or cat. Garlic, chives, and leeks are also part of the Allium family, and are poisonous to both dogs and cats.

Garlic is considered to be about five times as potent as onions, causing oxidative damage to the red blood cells as well as an upset stomach (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Onion and garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset, and clinical signs may not be apparent for several days. Immediate veterinary care is recommended.
Rhubarb

Rhubarb, a vegetable, contains oxalates which trigger abnormalities with the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract.  Rhubarb is commonly used in recipes for pies, jams, jellies, sauces and juice.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in toothpastes, mouthwash, sugarless gum, certain cough medicines and children’s chewable multi-vitamins. It also used in many baked goods and candies. This product is recommended for diabetics and those following a low-carbohydrate diet. However, xylitol is extremely dangerous to your dog. Ingestion of the product will cause the rapid release of insulin in dogs and result in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia results in vomiting, weakness, and sometimes seizures. In some cases, xylitol poisoning can result in liver failure. As little as one stick of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog.

Our thanks to PetInsurance.com and MyPetHealthZone.com for the information.

by Janice Gonzalez,
SPCA de PV

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