Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Common Foods that are Toxic to Your Pets

There are many foods commonly used in your household that you may not be aware are toxic to your pets.

* Raisins, grapes, and currants: More toxic in uncooked forms found in trail mixes, cereals, and whole forms.

- They cause kidney failure. Signs are vomiting a few hours after ingestion, or increased thirst and urination, lethargy, and decreased appetite a few days later.

- If your pet may have eaten grapes, raisins, or currants, call your veterinarian immediately. Early treatment offers a good prognosis of recovery.

* Caffeine: Found in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, tea bags and sodas. Pets are far more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people are.

- Ingestion of a moderate amount can cause hyperactivity, increased heartrate, increased blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, restlessness, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and eventually death.

- Contact your veterinarian regardless of the amount of caffeine consumed. Prognosis is great when side effects are mild (mild restlessness and minimally elevated heartrate), but is very poor with advanced side effects (collapse and seizures).

*Chocolate and Cocoa: The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is to your pet. White chocolate is not poisonous to your pets, but baker's cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate, and dark chocolate are. The degree of toxicity is determined by the amount of chocolate eaten compared to the size of your pet.

- In non-toxic doses, vomiting and diarrhea are side effects. In higher doses, tremors, seizures, elevated or abnormal heart rates, severe agitation, and collapse can result.

- Consult your veterinarian to determine the level of toxicity. You will need to know the number of ounces of chocolate that your pet consumed. Again, prognosis is dependant on the amount of chocolate consummed.

*Xylitol: A common substitute for sugar, xylitol is found in sugar-free gums, sweetners, and baked goods. It can also be found in medications to help stop smoking. Breath mints and candies are other common foods that contain xylitol.

- As little as 1 piece of chewing gum can cause toxicity in a 10 pound cat or dog. Xylitol causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and can cause liver failure. As soon as 10-15 minutes after ingestion, your pet can become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), lose coordination, and start vomiting. Quickly following are collapse and seizures.

- Immediate veterinary care is necessary for a good prognosis.

* Olives, onions, chives, and leeks: Garlic was once thought as a home remedy against fleas, but has been found to be ineffective and actually poisonous to your pet. Some treats will have very small levels of garlic in them, which is not toxic to your pet. Allowing your pet to eat a pan of sauteed onions, garlic, chives, and leeks can be poisonous.

- Ingestion causes the breakdown of red blood cells and results in anemia. Cats and Japanese breeds (Shiba Inu, Akita) are more sensitive to the effects of olives, onions, chives, and leeks. Signs of ingestion include the smell on your pet's breath, pale mucous membranes, lethargy, increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, vomiting, and decreased appetite.

- Prognosis is excellent with early treatment.

* Yeast-bread dough: Found in uncooked bread.

- Due to the warm, moist environment in your pet's stomach, the yeast in the bread will ferment and rise. This can cause distention of the abdomen and/or bowel obstruction. The stomach can dilate and twist, known as GDV (Gastric Dilation and Volvulous). The fermentation releases alcohol and can result in alcohol poisoning.

- GDV is life threatening and needs emergency abdominal surgery. Symptoms of GDV include: vomiting and retching without the production of anything, lethargy, increased heart rate, weakness, collapse and shock. See below for symptoms of alcohol poisioning.

- Prognosis is great if treated immediately, but is poorer in cases of severe alcohol poisoning, bloat or GDV.

* Alcohol: Not only is it found in it's liquid form, it can also be found in rum-soaked cakes and dressings. It is also found as a by product with ingestion of yeast bread dough.

- It does not take much alcohol to be consumed by your pet to reach toxic levels. Symptoms include: smell on breath, low body temperature, low blood pressure, seizures, neurologic depression, and respiratory failure.

- Prognosis is excellent with proper veterinary care.

* Fatty foods: Found specifically in butter, oils, meat drippings and scrapes, grease and chocolate. Ingestion can cause pancreatitis. Miniature Schnauzers are more sensitive to pancreatitis.

- Symptoms typically aren't seen for 1 to 4 days post ingestion. Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite and lethargy are typically seen.

- In-hospital care is necessary to treat. Early treatment will result in a good prognosis.

Although Gentle Care does not advocate feeding your pets "people" food , here are some foods that are safe. They are not only safe, but also low calorie options.

- Apples
- Peas
- Green beans - great supplement to food for weight loss
- Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn
- Carrots - makes excellent treats for weight loss
- Sweet potatoes
- Zucchini
- Squash
- Ice cubes - frozen diluted beef or chicken broth makes great treats
- Lettuce
- Blueberries

If you ever have a question whether a food is safe or not for your pet, feel free to call an informed team member at Gentle Care Animal Hospital: 919-852-4386.

Information from PetPoison Helpline

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