Most pet owners know that chocolate – which contains the compound theobromine – can be toxic for cats and dogs, but there are other foods that could harm them:
1. Grapes, raisins and currants can be dangerous for your pets. “Even a small amount can cause kidney failure in cats and dogs,” says veterinarian Dr Lloyd Keddie.
2. Onions, chives and garlic can cause anaemia – low red blood cells – in cats and dogs. But if your pet consumes only a small amount and is treated early, any damage to the blood cells is usually reversible.
3. Alcoholic drinks have the same effect on pets as they do on us, including dizziness, lack of coordination and alcohol poisoning.
4. Yeast dough can expand inside a pet’s stomach, stretching the abdomen and causing severe pain.
5. Chicken bones splinter when they break, and the shards of bone could get lodged and puncture your pet’s larynx, oesophagus or stomach.
6. Gum, mints and toothpaste that contain xylitol cause dogs to release excess insulin, resulting in low blood sugar. “A small amount can have severe side effects, such as weakness and even seizures,” says Keddie. It doesn’t seem to bother cats, but keep foods with xylitol out of reach for dogs and cats to be safe.
If you suspect your pet has eaten something harmful, call your vet immediately. Have as much information ready as you can, including what and how much was eaten and the normal weight of your pet.