What Dogs and Cats Shouldn’t Eat.

It can be difficult to keep your dog or cat on the dietary straight and narrow. Many pets enjoy eating inappropriate or unusual things. Here are some guidelines for ensuring that your cat or dog doesn’t eat anything it shouldn’t.

The basics include not eating anything which isn’t food! Eating feces can cause infestation (or reinfestation) with a variety of worms, in addition to creating some stinky breath! Batteries, string or rope, or plants can all be real hazards! Batteries can degrade with stomach acids and release toxins, string or rope can create an obstruction in the intestines requiring surgery, and many plants are toxic in their own right.

No over-the-counter medications should be allowed for your pet. As humans, we think nothing of popping a Tylenol or Advil if we feel achy or sore – even a child’s dose of these medications can kill a cat instantly and cause liver and kidney damage to dogs that is severe and potentially fatal. Please call your Veterinarian if you feel your pet is in discomfort for a recommendation of a safe medication.

Human foods are often toxic, or can cause some severe gastrointestinal consequences:

  • Garlic and onions are known to cause a breakdown of red blood cells, which means that oxygen won’t be able to get to the tissues.
  • Citrus can cause significant central nervous system depression if the essential oils (found in the stems, peels, fruit, and seeds) are eaten in significant enough quantities.
  • Raisins and grapes cause an “idiopathic renal toxicity,” which means that the kidneys can shut down due to a mechanism which is not fully understood.
  • Avocados tend to cause mild stomach upset – except for the pit, which can cause an intestinal obstruction and require surgical removal.
  • Alcohol can affect dogs and cats lead to coma and death at much smaller doses than in most humans.
  • Undercooked meats, eggs, and bones can cause bacterial and parasitic illness in dogs – just like in people! There is also a concern about bones splintering and breaking, potentially causing your pet to choke.
  • Coconut oils are may cause stomach upset, and the water should not be given due to its elevation in potassium
  • Nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a disease called pancreatitis due to the high level of fats and oils. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia with signs lasting from 12 hours to 2 days.
  • Dairy is ideally not on a cat’s or dog’s diet, as they do not have the enzymes that break down dairy. Milk and dairy will usually cause diarrhea, or some other digestive upset.
  • Xylitol is an artificial sweetener which is in a variety of foods, gums, candies, and even hygiene products like toothpaste. Xylitol – even in very small amounts – causes liver failure, with initial signs of toxicosis including vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination.
  • Yeast doughs can rise even after being ingested, causing gas to be discharged into your pet’s digestive tract. This can lead to a life-threatening condition caused gastric dilation and volvulus, which is also very painful.
  • Salt and salty Foods including cold cuts and snack foods can lead to sodium poisoning – beyond the excessive thirst and urination they promote.
  • Wild mushrooms growing outside are not fit for animal or human consumption. Make sure your dog isn’t munching on anything growing wild in the yard.

If you have any concern over something your pet has ingested, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Control number: 1-800-213-6600.