None for You, Farfel! People Food to Avoid Giving Your Pets

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Although we consider our pets family members, we are biologically different. Some of the healthy food we consume can be harmful, even fatal to our four-legged friends. We must be careful what table scraps we give them. Sure, they are awfully adorable (and whiny) when they beg; but they don’t know what they are begging for and it is up to us to keep them safe.

Here are 12 common human foods to avoid giving your furry little buddy:

1. Alcohol

I think everyone has heard someone ask this question: “what will happen if I get my cat/dog/ferret drunk?” The answer is a lot … and none of it is good. For cats and dogs, alcohol ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, disorientation, respiratory distress, coma and death. Alcohol can affect their liver the same way it does a human’s, but much faster due to the animals’ size. Under no circumstances should any pet be given alcohol and if your pet does ingest, contact your veterinarian immediately.

2. Avocado

Every hipster’s favorite, the avocado can be harmful to cats and dogs. For birds, rabbits, donkeys and horses, eating avocado can be fatal, causing the head and neck to swell in horses and donkeys, and cardiovascular damage in rabbits and birds.

3. Bones

Most people know to avoid giving a dog a real bone to chew, but more often than not, the warning is disregarded. When a bone splinters during chewing, it can become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract. Bones can also damage teeth. It may seem like a natural thing to do, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving your pup leftover bones.

4. Caffeine

Muffin doesn’t need a cup of Joe! The amount of caffeine in your morning drink is enough to cause severe issues and if your pet consumes coffee grounds or a black tea bag, call your veterinarian immediately. Caffeine over-consumption can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, increased heart rate, seizures or death.

5. Chocolate

I think most of us know that chocolate is hazardous to many animals. It contains substances called methylxanthines that if ingested by your pet will cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, heart problems, seizures, coma and death. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, with white chocolate having the smallest amount of methylxanthines and baking chocolate the highest.

6. Dairy Products

Although not necessarily fatal, except in extreme circumstances, eating dairy will cause our pets digestive discomfort. They do not have a significant amount of the enzyme lactase in their intestines to break down the lactose in milk. It has always been believed that cats want nothing more than a nice bowl of milk. Resist the myth! You’re only causing our feline friend future discomfort.

7. Grapes & Raisins

One of the great mysteries in pet health is the hugely negative effect of consuming grapes and raisins. Science has not yet identified the reason, but eating a seemingly harmless grape can cause rapid kidney failure in both cats and dogs. Within 24 hours, a cat will experience abdominal pain, reduced appetite and decreased urination, leading to complete kidney failure. Do not keep grapes or raisins in a place where your pet can access them.

8. Macadamia Nuts

For most of our pets, nuts are a problem, in general. The high fat content can potentially cause pancreatitis, but for dogs specifically, eating macadamia nuts is extremely dangerous. Dogs will experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia.

9. Onions & Garlic

These two are very common to our diets and very harmful to our pets. Cats are the most susceptible, but dogs can still be affected. Onions, garlic, chives and shallots contain thiosulphate, a compound that destroys red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia. Onion soup mix and garlic powder are also dangerous. Be very careful when feeding your kitty or pup table scraps – it is easy to forget that you included onions or garlic in your dish.

10. “People” Medicine

Just because it works for you, does not mean it works for Mr. Cuddles. Common pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be fatal if ingested. Giving any “human medicine” to your pets is tantamount to poisoning them. Never give your animal anything over-the-counter, unless explicitly directed to by your vet.

11. Raw Food

You shouldn’t feed your pet raw meat or eggs for the same reason you shouldn’t eat them. Consuming uncooked proteins can lead to salmonella or E. coli poisoning, and possibly parasites. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that can lead to skin and coat problems. If you would like to provide a “more natural” diet for your pet, make sure to cook the meat before feeding it.

12. Xylitol

This additive is used as a sweetener in gums, candy, toothpaste and baked goods. In large amounts, it can cause an overwhelming release of insulin in most species, leading to hypoglycemia and liver failure. Initial symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination and seizures. Liver failure can occur in only a few days. No candy for Chewy!

Some of the healthy food we feed ourselves can be harmful, even fatal to our four-legged friends.

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