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18 Sep 2016 17:30
What Human Foods are Dangerous for Our Pets? 
Let’s face it. Fido sits quietly next to your chair at the table, those soft eyes boring into your heart. His nose twitches in your direction as the smell of salmon, beef or pork tickles the air. What’s a good pet owner to do?

Are human foods OK for our pets to eat? Which foods are safe, and which ones should we avoid? [Note: my colleague reported on several myths concerning our pets. See Health & Nutrition. This provides a more detailed analysis of the 'human food' myth.]

Some pet owners share food with their pets on a fairly regular basis. Others never serve their pets anything but commercial pet foods, often recommend by their doctors. Still others refrain from giving their pets store bought foods, and instead, provide all natural human foods for their pet’s diet.

Whatever YOUR choice might be, always be careful what you feed your pet. Some human foods are simply not safe for our dogs and cats. In addition to the list below of harmful foods for dogs, be sure to avoid feeding your pet human foods that are salty, sweet (high in sugar content) or fatty. Yup. That means those fatty remnants of your BBQ’d steak are NOT good for your favorite pet.

1. Xylitol – one of the newest artificial sweeteners is present in products from gum to sugar free cookies. Even small amounts ingested can result in low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and death. Symptoms may present as quickly as 30 minutes or as long as 12 hours after ingestion. Be sure to read the labels of foods that might include this risk.

2. Grapes and raisins – may induce kidney failure in some animals and can result in permanent failure, which is life threatening. The amount ingested does not seem to be a factor. Moreover, some dogs have eaten grapes for years. Nevertheless, the advice is – don’t.

3. Chocolate – Toxic doses of chocolate can cause abnormal heartbeats, kidney failure, and death. Plus, those super delicious dark chocolates - my favorites - with 60 to 70 percent cocoa are even more deadly. The toxic dose is dependent on weight.

4. Onions – While certainly tasty to humans and pets, too many onions can be dangerous. High levels of onion ingestion in dogs and cats can cause life-threatening anemia.

5. Cinnamon – Ingested, cinnamon and its oils can irritate the inside of a pet’s mouth, making them uncomfortable and sick. It might lower a dog’s blood sugar too much and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased or decreased heart rate, and even liver disease. If inhaled, cinnamon can cause difficulty breathing, coughing and choking.

6. Garlic – Like onions, leeks and chives, garlic is part of the Allium family. It is five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Side effects include anemia in dogs evidenced by pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapsing.

7. Ice Cream – Canines do not digest diary very well – similarly to some humans, such as myself – and may have an intolerance to lactose, a sugar in milk products. Conversely, frozen or regular yogurt contains probiotics, and thus, is healthful to the digestion. If you would prefer to avoid all milk products, but still want to 'share' your summer treats, consider freezing chucks of fruit – strawberries, raspberries, apples, etc. – and give your pets a sweet icy treat.

8. Are Nuts Okay? – Almonds and Macadamia nuts – NO; Peanuts and Cashews – OK. Peanuts are packed with good fats and proteins that benefit your dog. Cashews have calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins. HOWEVER. Both should be shared only in moderation. And, remember, avoid salty foods - so peanuts and cashews only if unsalted.

Now, don't dispair, there are many GOOD foods humans can share with their pets. Check out these resources, and ENJOY:

Dog approved people food - Cesar's Way
Human Foods Dogs Can and Can't Eat
DIY Dog Treats

by Kay Lantow, pet sitter for Loving Pet Care