You know you’re not supposed to feed your pet from the dinner table, but sometimes those sweet, begging eyes are too cute to resist. Before you give in to your pet’s pleas, ensure you’re not unintentionally putting her in harm’s way. 

Many foods commonly found in kitchens can be deadly to pets, and being educated about them is important, especially because time is of the essence with all toxins, and the more quickly we treat your pet, the better her chances of survival. Whether you’ve sneaked your pet a bite from your plate or she’s in trouble after counter-surfing or raiding the trash can, if you think your pet has ingested a dangerous food—including one of the seven listed below—give us a call right away. 

#1: Alcohol

Alcohol is available in many homes in many forms. Not only alcohol-containing drinks, but also beer, wine, and rum-soaked desserts can tempt pets and pose a threat. Hand sanitizer and some kinds of mouthwash can also cause trouble.

#2: Raw bread dough

If your Netflix binging of the Great British Bakeoff has you trying your hand at homemade bread, be aware that bread dough is dangerous to your pet for a couple of reasons:

  • Bread dough ingested while rising will continue to rise in your pet’s warm stomach, causing significant abdominal pain and bloating.
  • Rising bread dough produces dangerous ethanol (i.e., alcohol), which is mentioned above.

#3: Grapes, raisins, and currants

Grapes, raisins, and currants may be healthy snacks for kids and grown-ups, but your four-legged friends should stay well away from these fruits, which can cause life-threatening kidney failure. Signs will occur in pets one to three hours after ingestion, and will almost always include vomiting. Unfortunately, no amount is known to be safe, so if your dog has ingested any grapes, raisins, or currants, call us immediately. If it is after hours, call the emergency clinic. 

#4: Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute often found in sugar-free food items that should be considered deadly to your dog if it is listed as one of the top three ingredients of a food. Ingestion of foods containing this sugar substitute can lead to a dangerous drop in blood sugar within an hour and may progress to liver failure.

#5: Onion, garlic, leeks, and chives

These allium-species plants can damage red blood cells in cats and dogs. Cats are more susceptible to these tasty veggies, but, thankfully, they are typically less curious than dogs about people food. Clinical signs usually occur up to 12 hours after ingestion, and include vomiting, diarrhea, and increased heart and respiratory rates. 

#6: Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, so never leave bowls of nuts unattended. A toxic dose is about two nuts per pound, depending on your pet’s weight. Vomiting, lethargy, and weakness are seen up to 12 hours following ingestion.

#7: Chocolate

With Halloween on the horizon, chocolate, which contains caffeine and theobromine that can cause neurologic signs in high enough doses, is a serious concern for pets. Chocolate ingestion usually causes only a gastric upset, but the darker the chocolate, the bigger the danger, and if your pet indulges in dark or baker’s chocolate, or large amounts of any chocolate, she could experience life-threatening cardiac or neurological difficulties.

Foreign bodies pets may ingest

Some foods are dangerous not because of their toxic potential, but due to their size and digestibility, or lack thereof—peach pits and corn cobs, for example. Such large items can become lodged in your pet’s intestines and cause an obstruction that leads to abdominal pain and vomiting, and can quickly become life-threatening. Because your pet often scrounges these items from unattended plates or unsecured trash cans with no lids, always be vigilant. 

Don’t take any chances—if your pet has eaten people food and you’re not sure whether it’s safe, call us! We’re happy to set your mind at ease, or to let you know if you and your pet should hightail it into our hospital.