Dangerous, Sometimes Deadly, July 4th Foods That Shouldn’t be Fed to Your PetPublished June 28, 2012
“One of the most negligent cases I have seen was a dog whose parents thought it would be great to share beer and margaritas with their eight pound Chihuahua on July 4,” Dr. Laci Schaible, President and Founder of VetLIVE.com, said. “By the time it took them to realize their dog was in danger, it was too late. The dog entered a coma and never recovered.”
Be careful not to make a similar mistake at your summer cookout. In case you’re not sure what constitutes a hazardous human food item for your pet, here’s a list of foods your pet should steer clear of:
With 4th of July parties right around the corner, and summer barbecues being held all the time, there’s going to be a lot of alcohol lying around. But make sure to keep an eye on your pets during the festivities because alcohol poisoning in animals is very common and very dangerous. Even when alcohol is baked into foods like Amaretto or rum cake, it can lead to respiratory failure and seizures.
2. Raw/Undercooked Meat
If you plan on cooking hamburgers, hotdogs, or any kind of meat this summer, make sure you don’t leave the raw meat anywhere your pet could grab it. Raw and undercooked meat contain potentially harmful bacteria, like salmonella and E. coli, and if ingested can cause vomiting, fever, and large lymph nodes.
One of the most dangerous foods is garlic, or anything from the allium family (meaning onions and chives too). These types of food can do severe damage to blood cells. The active ingredient in onions - allyl propyl disulfide –damages red blood cells which can cause anemia. Be careful especially if your cats start sniffing this stuff, because felines are more susceptible to the harmful effects of garlic and onions than dogs are.
Another food that can do some serious damage is grapes. Ingestion of even a tiny grape or raisin could result in kidney failure! It’s still not confirmed why this happens, but if your pet gets their paws on the fruit, call the veterinarian immediately because the results can be fatal.
It’s common knowledge that chocolate shouldn’t be given to your pets, but it’s still one of the leading foods that cause a visit to the vet, according to Dr. Camille DeClementi, senior toxicologist at ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Thankfully, fatal outcomes are not too common if the pet is taken to the veterinarian’s office quickly enough because they can induce vomiting to get the chocolate out of the pet’s system.
Caffeine is also a big no-no. Ever wondered what your pet might act like when they’re hopped up on espresso? Well, it’s best never to find out. Pets are more sensitive to caffeine than we are; ingestion could cause elevated heart rate, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, seizures, or collapse. If too much is ingested, it could even result in death.
Outside of this brief list, there are so many other unexpected foods that pets shouldn’t eat. Macadamia nuts, for instance, can cause depression in dogs. Salt can induce sodium ion poisoning in pets which can lead to tremors, seizures, and in extreme cases death. Persimmon seeds and pits contain cyanide which is incredibly poisonous. A good rule is: if it’s made for humans don’t share it with your pets.
“It is virtually impossible to keep your pet from never eating something he/she is not supposed to, but educate yourself and be a responsible pet parent,” Laci said. “Many ingestions can easily be avoided!”
If you suspect that your pet has ingested poisonous food, here’s some advice from Laci: don’t panic, gather the packaging of the food (if you can because it will be a big help to the veterinarian) and call a veterinarian as soon as possible. Or if you cannot contact a vet, you could always try ASPCA poison control at 888-426-4435, or visit a veterinary run website such as VetLIVE(consultation fees apply at both).
No matter how much your pet begs you to share, keep these dangerous foods out of their reach! They might be mad at you for hogging the chocolate or grapes for a little while, but it will help them live longer, happier, and healthier lives in the long run.