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27th Jul 2020

10 Human Foods Harmful To Feed Our Dogs and Cats

by Laura Crotch-Harvey MSc BSc (Hons)

Us humans like nothing more than to chow down on some lovely food. But did you know that sharing some of your favourite foods could cause harm to your prized pooch or feline friend? We’ve listed 10 foods you eat that you need to avoid sharing with your furry friends.

1. Chocolate

Many people know this is toxic to dogs but do not realise it can also affect cats. Chocolate contains theobromine and while humans can easily break this down, dogs and cats struggle to do so leading to toxic levels. Dark and cooking chocolate is worse as it contains higher levels of theobromine.

2. Onions and garlic

Garlic is considered to be 5 times more toxic to dogs and cats than onions and certain breeds such as those originating from Japan are more susceptible. The symptoms of garlic and onion poisoning can be delayed and may not show for several days.

3. Grapes and raisins

These are particularly toxic to dogs but cats and ferrets have also found to be affected. Even if a dog only eats a small amount it can cause kidney failure.

4. Ice cream

Most dogs are lactose intolerant so struggle to digest dairy and it can lead to digestive problems.

5. Macademia nuts

Macademia nuts are very toxic to dogs although the reason why is not fully understood.

6. Foods high in salt

This is likely just to make your dog or cat thirstier if it is just a one-off. However if you regularly feed your dog foods high in salt, it can lead to heart and blood pressure problems, as with humans – so it is not advisable.

7. Bacon

Although not toxic to dogs, eating something high in fat such as bacon can lead to a painful condition in dogs called pancreatitis –  which can be fatal.

8. Bones

Cooked bones are dangerous to dogs and cats as they can splinter. Raw bones can be given to dogs but it is best to do your research before feeding these.

9. Avocado

These are only mildly toxic to dogs and cats but can have more a severe effect on birds. The main problem with dogs and cats would be if they ate the seed as it could get stuck in their stomach.

10. Xylitol

This is a sweetener often used in ‘sugar free’ foods and is highly toxic to dogs. This tricks the dog’s body into thinking they have eaten something high in sugar and they produce lots of insulin causing their blood sugar level to drop dangerously low.

What to do if it happens

If you think your pet has eaten anything harmful it is always best to make contact with your vet immediately and let them know what they have eaten and preferably how much of it they ate – as this is also important. They will be able to inform you if you need to take them for treatment or let you know of any symptoms to watch out for.

Healthy alternatives

Pets don’t necessarily need treats; it is us owners that love to give them!

They can come in handy when training a dog however or as a little snack if you have a particularly greedy dog! Most vegetables are great to give as extras, broccoli and green beans are both a great source of Vitamin C and fibre.

Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A and are also good to give frozen to teething puppies! For cats it is best to give lean meat but they will need a bit less of their food to account for this to ensure they don’t have too much food over the day. You could also set aside part of your dog or cat’s daily allowance of food and use these as treats to ensure they are not over-eating.

All treats should be given in moderation however. Check out our dried carrot treats and our full treat range for dogs available in our web shop.

Ask a Nutritional Advisor

For any advice on pet nutrition don’t hesitate to use our unique Helpline or Live Web Chat service – our dedicated team of nutritional  advisors are here to give a helping paw!

by Laura Crotch-Harvey MSc BSc (Hons)

I've worked at Burns for over four years and head up a busy, dedicated team of pet nutritionists at our Kidwelly head office. No two days are ever the same. We are often busy going the extra mile for our customers and offer free advice via LiveChat, telephone and email.

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