Reprint from AOL Article on Pet Health
Chocolate, fruit and nuts may sound like tasty delights to you, but
these foods can be downright deadly to our four-legged friends. In
2008, the ASPCA handled 140,000 animal poison related emergencies.
It's often pet owners who unwittingly poison their pets by giving
them foods and drinks they can't tolerate. To help you protect your
furry friends, we tapped Fiona Fisher, D.V.M, veterinary expert at
JustAnswer.com, who practices in Ontario, for her roundup of common
household foods and items that pose a threat to your beloved pets.
Avoid these common toxins to keep your dogs and cats living long,
Grapes and Raisins
Healthy for you? Yes. Healthy for pets? No. In dogs and cats, grapes
can cause kidney failure. "We're not exactly sure why grapes
pose a health hazard to pets," says Fisher, but experts suspect
it has something to do with a chemical in the fruit's skin. Raisins
are even more dangerous because they contain a concentrated supply
of toxins. Keep this snack out of the reach of your pets.
"I see this one a lot when people make bread, leave it to rise,
and come back to find their dog has helped himself to a serving,"
Fisher says. What's the harm? The dog's body heat will cause the dough
to expand quickly resulting in severe abdominal pain and bloating.
In some cases, death can occur if enough dough is eaten.
A dog might be attracted to the sweet-smelling gum that your kids
are chewing or that's tucked away in your bag. But the artificial
sweetener, xylitol, in many types of gum and breath mints, can be
deadly to pets. The sweetener can cause a low-blood sugar crisis in
your pet. In fact, just one pack of gum can kill a dog, warns Fisher.
Careful where you keep that bowl of mixed nuts. If they're on a low
table that your dog can reach, your pup might get into trouble. Ingesting
these nuts can cause tremors, weakness, unsteadiness, depression,
a rapid heart rate, and a dangerous rise in body temperature that
can lead to other complications. Though macadamia nut toxicity is
very scary and dangerous, most dogs recover within a few days, says
It may seem unlikely that a dog would eat cigarettes, but those nosy,
little creatures will gobble them without a second thought. Nicotine
is highly toxic so it doesn't take much to cause a health crisis for
your pet, including seizures, coma and death.
Who doesn't find chocolate irresistible? But when it comes to dogs,
chocolate is one deadly treat. Caffeine-like stimulants in chocolate
known as methylxanthines can produce vomiting, diarrhea, excessive
thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors,
seizures and even death, cautions Fisher.
"This type of poisoning happens a lot after people throw a party
and their dog or cat gets into a glass of alcohol sitting around or
that's spilled on the floor. Sometimes, children will think it's funny
to give a dog some beer," Fisher says. And while animals may
experience some of the same wobbliness and weakness that humans do
after drinking, they are much more sensitive to alcohol than humans
and can quickly be in a life-threatening situation, she says. Alcohol
ingestion can lead to seizures, heart arrhythmia, vomiting, coma and
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the number one insurance
claim by far for poisonings in 2007 was owner-induced. In most cases,
the problems were caused by pet owners giving their pets drugs intended
for human use. "Sometimes when the vet's office is closed and
a pet is in pain, people will administer over-the-counter pain relievers
like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to their dogs," Fisher says.
Never give your pets these types of drugs, warns Fisher. One tablet
of acetaminophen can kill a cat, she says.
Ever had your cat poke its head into your cup of tea? It's not just
annoying, it can be downright dangerous depending on the type of tea
you're drinking. Caffeine in your tea is toxic to both cats and dogs.
Depending on how much is consumed and the size of your pet, ingesting
it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, coma and
You'd probably never consider giving your dog a piece of an onion,
but if you toss her a piece of steak or a bit of stir fry cooked with
onions, you're putting your dog in danger. Onions are toxic to dogs
and cats whether they're raw or cooked. When ingested, onions can
cause hemolytic anemia, a condition that destroys the red blood cells
in the bloodstream. A dog with onion poisoning may become lethargic
and have difficulty breathing. Generally, a large amount of onions
would need to be consumed to pose a serious threat to your dog, but
cats are highly sensitive to onion toxicity.