Your Pets Big 8
Getting ready for visitors, I recently child-proofed my house--breakables up, cupboards locked, electrical outlets plugged. You know the drill. So it was somewhat surprising to me as I stood in my veterinarian's office and spotted a “Big 8” chart for pets. Despite all my careful precautions, I realized that my home remained potentially lethal to my beloved pets.
Here are the 8 foods to keep away from your animals, not because they are allergens but because they are toxic:
1. Chocolate A tiny bit won't hurt a St. Bernard but a box of chocolates on the coffee table is more than enough to kill a small dog. Chocolate stimulates the nervous system and the heart and is poisonous to all pets, although dogs are most likely to eat dangerous quantities. Possible effects are vomiting, increased thirst, restlessness, agitation, increased or irregular heartbeat, increased body temperature, tremors and/or seizures.
2. Grapes and Raisins These treats can cause kidney damage to both cats and dogs. Signs are increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy and possibly vomiting.
3. Garlic and Onions These items can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Signs are vomiting, red-colored urine, weakness and anemia.
4. Xylitol This artificial sweetener, found in sugarless gum and some vitamins and supplements, is poisonous to dogs. Possible effects are vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination, seizures, jaundice, and diarrhea.
5. Beer Alcoholic drinks depress the nervous system. Some might think a “drunk dog” is funny. But if your pet starts vomiting, is disoriented, has diarrhea, is lethargic, lacks coordination, has difficulty breathing, develops tremors or seizures, the fun is over. Your pet is poisoned.
6. Raw Bread Dough The yeast in uncooked bread dough forms gas in the animal’s digestive tract and the fermentation can cause alcohol poisoning. Signs are distention of the abdomen, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, and tremors, coma or seizures.
7. Macadamia Nuts If eaten by dogs, macadamia nuts can cause muscle and nervous-system problems. Signs are vomiting, lethargy, weakness, increased body temperature and/or tremors.
8. Avocado Avocados are poisonous to most pets but birds are particularly sensitive. The avocado contains persin, which damages the heart muscle. Signs are vomiting, diarrhea (in dogs), lethargy, difficulty breathing (in birds and rodents).
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these foods and you spot symptoms, call your vet right away.