What Not to Feed Your Pet. Because we routinely feed our pets bits and pieces of “human food” as a treat or snack, it is important that pet owners keep in mind a list of foods that are not safe to feed. Home-made pet foods are a wonderful way to ensure your pet’s dietary needs are adequately met, but be cautious about any home-made pet recipe that includes the following foods.
- Avacados – Although the avacado is a favorite among many diets, pet parents should be cautious not to feed avacado to their dogs. Avacados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin that may be harmful to pets. If your pet has licked clean your guacamole bowl, watch for danger signs such as: diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and heart palpitations.
- Fat – Those fatty edges around your steak at the restaurant may seem to be a treat for your pet, but danger lurks in those greasy bits. Pancreatitis, for example, is but one example of gastrointestinal issues that can result from consistently treating your pet to the fatty portions. Symptoms of pancreatitis in pets can include: vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, and dehydration.
- Grapes and/or Raisins – Grapes, especially when frozen, can seem like a fun, tasty treat for your pets on hot summer days. Boxes of raisins are often “stolen” by pets because of the sweet smell that comes from the box! Regardless of how your pet acquires grapes or raisins, pet parents must understand that these tasty snacks can actually cause kidney failure in your pet.
- Macadamia Nuts – It isn’t terribly uncommon to see a pet owner feed their dog a bit or two of a delicious cookie as a treat. When the cookie contains macadamia nuts, however, trouble is often soon to follow. A toxic compound in the macadamia has been shown to lead to gastrointestinal issues for pets within as few as twelve hours.
- Chocolate – Most pet owners are aware that chocolate can be toxic to dogs, yet many will feed a bite or two to their pet thinking, “Oh, a small amount won’t hurt.” The truth of the matter is, a small amount can be dangerous depending on the amount of theobromine contained in the chocolate. Also, never believe that only dark chocolate can hurt your dog — white chocolate should be a considered a no-no when it comes to feeding as well.
- Raw Egg Whites – Unless under the direct advice of your veterinarian, never feed your pet raw egg whites. Salmonella is as grave concern for the pet population as the human population. If you wish to feed your pet eggs, please be certain to use cooked eggs or cook the dish after adding the raw eggs.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms can cause liver and kidney dysfunction and failure when consumed in large amounts by the pet population.
- Onion and/or Garlic – Though few pets will willingly accept a feeding that contains a large amount of raw onion and/or garlic, many pets will happily feast on a dinnertime feeding that contains these same ingredients cooked. Though a small amount of garlic and onion to add a bit of flavor is generally considered safe, larger amounts fed over a length of time can be dangerous.
- Dairy Products – Again, small amounts of dairy products are typically safe to feed your pet; however, large quantities over time may be asking for trouble. It’s important that pet owners understand that adult dogs, especially, are more likely to have a lactose intolerance issues. If your pet experiences diarrhea shortly after a feeding that included milk and/or other dairy products, a lactose intolerance issue may be considered.
- Bones – Many dogs enjoy chewing on a tasty bone after the family eats dinner, by choosing to feed your pet a bone, you are placing his or her health at risk. Bones splinter when chewed, and while the dog may swallow these splinters without trouble, issues can arise later as the bone fragments are pushed through the intestinal tract.
- Sugar-free Products/Candy – Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol which can be life-threatening to pets.
This list is by no means a comprehensive list of all the foods that can be harmful to your pet. Should you have any question about whether a food is safe to feed your pet, please seek the advice of your veterinarian BEFORE offering the food to your pet. Remember to supplement your pets’ diet with a natural vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure proper nutrition.