- Raw Meat and Fish and Eggs
Pets, a lot like humans, can become sick with food poisoning if they eat raw meat and fish and eggs. These foods can contain bacteria that leads to salmonella, and certain types of fish like salmon, trout, shad or sturgeon can cause ‘fish disease’. This can be fatal within 2 weeks and the first signs are vomiting, fever and big lymph nodes.
Raw eggs, meanwhile, can contain Salmonella or E. coli. Excessive consumption of raw eggs can also result in biotin deficiency, which can cause skin problems. Feeding your pets cooked eggs is a much safer bet!
- Products Containing Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar substitute and comes in everything from toothpaste to chewing gum. It can also be found in cough medicines and chewable multi-vitamins, baked goods and candies. It’s okay for diabetics to use, and humans following a low carbohydrate diet. When pets eat it, however, it’s disastrous.
Xylitol causes the rapid release of insulin in pets, resulting in hypoglycaemia. This leads to vomiting, weakness, and seizures. It can result, at worst, in liver failure. As little as one stick of gum containing xylitol can be toxic to a small, 20-pound dog.
- Wild Mushrooms
Mushrooms are notoriously hard to identify – an innocent looking mushroom can actually be a poisonous type, and even experts have died from eating the wrong mushroom (you might recall the author of the Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans, was nearly killed by eating a mushroom he thought was an edible cep, and turned out to be a webcap!). Identifying mushrooms is a process, involving the family, genius and species. Mushroom experts examine mushrooms carefully, and compare spore impressions, gills and fine hairs on the surface of the mushroom’s body. It is very easy to get it wrong, and this is why you – and your pets! – should never eat wild mushrooms.
The worst offenders are: Fly Agaric, Jewelled Death Cap, Death Cap, Elf’s Saddle, and the Autumn Galerina.
Like humans, pets who eat toxic mushrooms will experience kidney and liver failure, vomiting, and dehydration. The complications can be life-long and may result in your pooch being on doggy dialysis. Something you surely want to avoid!
Rhubarb is actually highly toxic for pets and should be removed if it’s growing on your property. The leaves and stalks smell sweet, so your dog or cat may chew on them – but rhubarb contains oxalate crystals, which can cause kidney and liver failure. It’s considered one of the most toxic plants out there, so be sure to remove it!
- Eggplant / Aubergine
Believe it or not, eggplant or aubergine also contains high levels of oxalate. If high levels are ingested by dogs or cats, it can result in kidney failure. If pets are already suffering from kidney issues, foods containing oxalate should be avoided like the plague.
Unbeknownst to you, you have a drug capable of abuse in your spice cabinet – nutmeg.
Nutmeg is known to us all as a Christmas flavour for sweet and savoury dishes, made from the hard seed of the Myristica fragrans tree.
When ingested in high quantities, nutmeg can actually get you high – by poisoning you. The same goes for your pets! This is because nutmeg contain myristicin. While a small amount won’t do very much, large amounts can cause hallucinations, disorientation, elevated heart rates, dry mouth, abdominal pain and seizures. These can last for 48 hours! So, don’t go feeding your pets spoon fulls of nutmeg (although we’re not very sure why you’d do that, anyway!).
- Aloe Vera
There is a case that the sap of the aloe vera plant can be poisonous for pets, but again, they’d have to eat a lot of it and specifically the part of the plant that contains toxins. This is the Aloe Vera latex, and can cause cramping, diarrhoea, nausea and dehydration.
If aloe vera gel or drops are ingested, they are laxatives so can cause a lot of bowel movements in pets. This can be dangerous, as dehydration can kill, so you should seek a vet’s help immediately.
Last but not least – don’t let your pets eat avocados! This is mainly due to the great big stone in the middle, which has been known to choke pets to the point they have to have it surgically removed (that’s a big vet bill!).
However, there is also evidence that the compound persin, found in avocados, is a toxic. It’s mainly found in the leaves of the avocado tree, but there is a small amount in the soft edible fruit. It’s most often poisonous if livestock ingest the leaves of the plant – but is not highly toxic to dogs and cats.
Pet birds, however, can become ill if they eat avocados. Canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and budgies can all be poisoned by as little as 1 gram of avocado. The symptoms of poisoning include inability to perch, problems breathing, fluid accumulation around a bird’s heart and lungs, and eventually kidney and liver failure. Due to their size, most birds to not survive when they have eaten avocado, so keep it away at all costs!
- Macadamia Nuts
Although most nuts are fine for pooches, dogs are extremely allergic to macadamia nuts – for reasons no one is really sure of!
The ingestion of macadamia nuts by dogs is associated with a non-fatal syndrome, characterised by vomiting, lethargy, muscle tremors and diarrhoea. They usually recover on their own, as there is no antidote for this toxin. Dogs are the only species known of that are allergic to macadamia nuts!
Did you ever hear that cherry tones contain cyanide? Avoid feeding them to your pets, unless you want them to be very seriously poisoned.
Ok, so now that we’ve looked at the major foods that you should not feed your furry loved one, stay tuned for our next article, in which we will be looking at foods that you Can give your pet…..
Asta luego !
-Eyal Azerad ([email protected])