Wednesday, June 2, 2010


This morning we received an email that talked about the dangers of feeding grapes and raisins to your pets so Mom decided to check it out before she posted it. It lead her to this article below at Petalia. We asked her to share it with you.

Human Foods that Poison Pets r

Feeding pets food that we enjoy is not only wrong, it can also be fatal. There are some foodstuffs that humans relish which cause illness and death if eaten by pets.

Chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions are good examples. Each of these foods contains chemicals which rarely cause problems for humans, but for dogs, these same chemicals can be deadly.

Chocolate toxicity
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

When affected by an overdose of chocolate, a dog can become excited and hyperactive. Due to the diuretic effect, it may pass large volumes of urine and it will be unusually thirsty. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common. The effect of theobromine on the heart is the most dangerous effect. Theobromine will either increase the dog’s heart rate or may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible, especially with exercise.

After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.

Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

Onion and garlic poisoning
Onions and garlic are other dangerous food ingredients that cause sickness in dogs, cats and also livestock. Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

At first, pets affected by onion poisoning show gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea. They will show no interest in food and will be dull and weak. The red pigment from the burst blood cells appears in an affected animal’s urine and it becomes breathless. The breathlessness occurs because the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body are reduced in number.

The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.

Onion poisoning can occur with a single ingestion of large quantities or with repeated meals containing small amounts of onion. A single meal of 600 to 800 grams of raw onion can be dangerous whereas a ten-kilogram dog, fed 150 grams of onion for several days, is also likely to develop anaemia. The condition improves once the dog is prevented from eating any further onion

While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.

The danger of macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are another concern. A recent paper written by Dr. Ross McKenzie, a Veterinary Pathologist with the Department of Primary Industries, points to the danger of raw and roasted macadamia nuts for pets.

The toxic compound is unknown but the affect of macadamia nuts is to cause locomotory difficulties. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

Dogs have been affected by eating as few as six macadamia kernels (nuts without the shell) while others had eaten approximately forty kernels. Some dogs had also been given macadamia butter.

Luckily, the muscle weakness, while painful, seems to be of short duration and all dogs recovered from the toxicity. All dogs were taken to their veterinary surgeon.

Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts, such foods should be given in only small quantities, or not at all. Be sure that your pets can’t get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden.

Other potential dangers
  • Avocado (all parts) - the toxic ingredient in avocado is called persin (toxic amount unknown). Mmost documented cases of poisoning have been in livestock that have eaten all parts of the avocado and in large amounts. The toxin may be confined to the leaves, bark, skin or seed but the flesh is thought to be poisonous to birds.
  • Pear pips, the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pips (contain cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide posioning)
  • Potato peelings and green looking potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Mouldy/spoiled foods (keep garbage lid firmly on)
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
  • Hops (used in home brewing)
  • Tomato leaves & stems (green parts)
  • Broccoli (in large amounts)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Cigarettes, tobacco, cigars
  • Xylitol (sweetener often found in sugar-free gum)
  • Cooked bones - they can splinter and cause gut perforation, as well as blockages in the intestine, tooth fractures, and cooked chop bones can get stuck across the roof of the mouth
  • Corn cobs - a common cause of intestinal blockage requiring surgical removal
  • We'd like to add wine corks - since the picnic season is upon us, many of your peeps will be enjoying wine with their picnics - not only is a wine cork the proper size to cause a blockage if swallowed - it is also soaked with deadly grape juice.

    ScamperingScotties said...

    Thanks for posting this information. If you don't mind I'm going to link it to my blog. I'm glad to see that carrots and apples aren't on the list since those are Caolin and Brodie's favorite human foods!

    The Strawberry Mallard said...

    Our NJ ma and pa sez to tell you "thank you very much for all the time you spend making our pups safe".
    I wanna thank you but I was certain ma would let me follow her around the veggie part of the garden...NOT..!!!

    from a sulking puppy named Becky by the beach

    Martine said...

    Oh gosh, yes grapes are bad bad bad!!!!!!

    Samantha said...

    We've heard about a lot of this but not all, for sure. Can't THANK you enough for posting - furry scary!
    Big Hugs xoxoxo

    Remington said...

    GREAT POST! Thank you so much for the useful information! It is all things we NEED to know! Thanks again!

    Paco,Milo, Maya and mommy Simona said...

    Ehy are you???
    We're back...we hope!!!
    Our bad period seems going to the end so we could have time blogging and reading all your news....
    Thanks for the great information....
    And.....OMDDDDDDDDDD.....we read your post about puppies....and their new family!!!
    Awwwwwwwwwwww....they are all soooooooooooooo beautiful and cute!!!!
    You did a miracle with them!!!

    We missed you a lot dear friends!!!!
    We'll visit you often from now on!!!!
    Sweet kisses and licks

    Rudy - The dog with a blog said...

    Thanks for posting this!

    I learned most of this when I started raising guide dogs - I never knew any of it before then!

    Asta said...

    Sweet Scotties
    Thank you fow that vewy impawtant and useful advice.

    Mommi is vewy caweful ,but didn't know the stuff about onions..and gawlic..yikes..she cooks wif those a lot,
    Thank you
    smoochie kisses

    Dory and the Mama said...

    Awwesome and informative PSA, thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    The Life of Riley said...

    A great reminder. Thanks. My mum also has a lots of plants to avoid in the garden, because I'll try to eat anything and things like daffidol bulbs can be fatal for us dogs.

    scotsmad said...

    That's a huge list. We don't get any of that. Alpha dropped some avocado on the floor the other night, we took one sniff and didn't eat it. That's unusual for us.

    There were a few, that we hadn't heard of.....thanks.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

    ♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

    Great post, Mom reads the list of toxic foods a lot because it is easy to forget. The one that worries her the most is the xylitol in gum. So many people rudely toss their gum on the ground and you know what we sniffing pups might do - very dangerous stuff.

    Thanks for all the reminders.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

    ♥I am Holly♥ said...

    Thanks for posting this information. It's good to keep on hand. Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

    K9friend said...

    Share food with caution...thanks for the timely reminder!


    YankeeQuilter said...

    Great post...just wish MacBeth would read it! He is apt to steal anything chocolate left even remotely at Scottie level (the cats are evil and have been seen tossing chocolate chip cookies off the counter to him!)

    Khyra, Khousin Merdie, And Sometimes Her Mom said...

    GReat PSA!

    It truly takes furry raisins/grapes fur damage -

    Khyra & Khousin Merdie

    Maggie and Mitch said...

    Mom says we can never be too careful! Thank you for posting this, guys!

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

    Benny and Lily said...

    This is good to know...
    Benny & Lily

    1000 Goldens said...

    Thank you for this great information. I thought avocados were ok - so I'm thankful to have read this!

    Ms. ~K said...

    Thanks for sharing this important info...

    houndstooth said...

    We knew some of these things, but not all of them! Thank you for sharing!


    pajudie said...

    Thanks for posting this important info. I knew onions were bad but not garlic - I've read where garlic has been recommended for flea treatments. YIKES. Glad I didn't use it :o)
    Thanks again -
    Judie, Duncan & Hamish

    Angus said...

    Interesting. We're using garlic tablets from a company in the UK as part of the new , beefed up anti-tick repellant scheme. I'd better go double check. Not that it really matters as Wilf manages to spit out the garlic tablets as soon as I'm not looking.

    George the Lad said...

    Thanks I will make sure mom reads it.
    See yea George the xxx

    The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

    my dogs eat most of these things! hehehe!

    Miss Jean said...

    Thanks for posting this. Better to be safe than sorry. Don't forget also, the dangers of the cocoa mulch that is popular to use in the yard. I've heard of dogs ingesting large quantities of it and dieing.


    ~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

    I'm just seeing this, and wanted to thank-you for this reminder and great information--I didn't know that garlic could also be harmful!! It's good to know!! Thanks!!

    Anonymous said...

    I think we should compile a book about pet safety don't you? Roo Roo, Stuart THANK YOU

    TwoSpecialWires said...

    Now we understand why Moma picked up a fancy chocolate reindeer this morning. She said something about wanting to be sure it didn't fall to the floor and get found by two inquisitive terriers.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    J and F

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