Although it’s always a good idea to keep human foods away from your cat and dog, that can be especially difficult during the holiday season when trays of goodies are strewn all over the house. While sharing a little piece of turkey won’t make your pet sick, there are a number of common human foods that are toxic, and even fatal, when ingested by cats and dogs.
Common foods that are toxic to cats and dogs
1. Chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to most pet animals, especially dogs. As a rule, the darker the chocolate, the more harmful the substance is. Dark, baker’s chocolate is one of the most hazardous types of chocolate.
2. Grapes and raisins. Grapes and raisins have been linked to kidney failure in dogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA.)
3. Anything in the onion family. Onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and scallions are also toxic to pets and can damage a dog or cat’s red blood cells. According to the ASPCA, the more pungent the substance, the more harmful it is, with garlic being the most harmful of this type of food.
4. Yeast and bread dough. Bread dough smells enticing to dogs. However, just as the yeast will rise on the kitchen counter, it will rise in your dog’s stomach as well, causing a veterinary emergency. Make sure to keep the dough shut away from any curious pets.
5. Xylitol. You may not be familiar with this name, but it’s likely that you have at least a few foods in your home with this ingredient in them. Xylitol is a commonly-used artificial sweetener, found in everything from gum to toothpaste to sugar-free candy. It’s extremely toxic to pets, even in small quantities.
6. Avocados. Avocados, particularly ones that come from Guatemala, are toxic to animals, even larger animals like horses. This food can cause intestinal problems in small quantities and even respiratory distress if enough of the product is ingested.
7. Beer, Wine and Coffee. It should go without saying, but alcoholic beverages and coffee are also potentially hazardous to pets. If you wouldn’t give it to your kids, don’t give it to your pets.
While giving your dog or cat a treat of human food every once in a while won’t hurt them, be sure to keep them away from chocolate, onions, grape, dough and anything made with artificial sweeteners. If you find that your pet has ingested a toxic food, despite your best precautions, it’s important to get him or her to an emergency veterinary clinic (such as All-Pets Hospital) as soon as possible.