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What people foods are harmful to my pet?

By Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

While sharing food off our own plates is a common bonding experience between owners and a dog with really compelling “beggar” eyes, some food that we eat with no problem whatsoever can be toxic to our pets. Here are some of the most common offenders:

Chocolate: Most people are aware that chocolate is bad for cats and dogs. In toxic doses, it can cause agitation, diarrhea, pacing, seizures, or even death. It is dose-dependent, meaning milk chocolate with lower cocoa percentages is less toxic than dark or baking chocolate.

Raisins, grapes, and currants: For reasons still undetermined, these little fruits can lead to kidney damage.

Onions and garlic: In toxic amounts, can lead to blood cell damage and subsequent anemia.

Macadamia nuts: Cause neurologic signs such as wobbliness, weakness, and tremors.

Bread dough: In addition to the mechanical damage of an expanding mass of dough in the stomach, fermentation produces alcohol, which can lead to intoxication.

Mushrooms: As in people, while some varieties are fine, others are extremely toxic. Never let your pet free graze on mushrooms he finds outside.

Xylitol: A very common artificial sweetener found in everything from peanut butter to gum, small amounts of xylitol can cause life threatening hypoglycemia in pets. It’s so toxic that I tell people don’t even try to keep it out of your pet’s reach: keep it out of the house, entirely.

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