Below are two lists of foods. All of these foods can be consumed by most people, but you will find that there are some that are extremely dangerous and poisonous for household pets. Many people give theor pets table scraps, or samples of human food to their pets. This practice is ok up to a point. Keep in mind the lists below when feeding your pet any human foods as treats, or when you are making your own, homemade pet treats from the recipes in this web site or any other site.
Good Foods for Pets:
Bad Foods for Pets:
It is not chocolate itself that is poisonous to dogs and cats, it is the theobromine, a naturally occurring compound found in chocolate and cocoa. Theobromine is a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The size of the dog can be a important factor: the smaller the dog, the more affected it is by the same amount of the poison than a larger dog. For cats it could be fatal. Therefore, toxicity is described on a mg/Kg basis. Theobromine can cause cardiac irregularity, especially if the dog becomes excited. Cardiac arythmia can precipitate a myocardial infarct which can kill the dog or cat. Theobromine also irritates the GI tract and in some dogs can cause internal bleeding, which in some cases kills them a day or so later.
Theobromine is also present in differing amounts in different kinds of chocolate. Milk chocolate has 44-66 mg/oz, dark chocolate 450 mg/oz and baking/bitter chocolate or cocoa powder varies as much as 150-600 mg/oz. How much chocolate a dog can survive depends on its weight (and other unknown circumstances). Under 200 mg theobromine per kg body weight no deaths have been observed.
Theobromine will stay in the bloodstream between 14 and 20 hours. It goes back into the bloodstream through the stomach lining and takes a long time for the liver to filter out. Within two hours of ingestion, try inducing vomiting unless your dog is markedly stimulated, comatose, or has lost the gag reflex. If your dog has eaten a considerable amount of chocolate, or displays any of the above symptoms, take it to the vet without delay. In the absence of major symptoms, administer activated charcoal. The unabsorbed theobromine will chemically bond to this and be eliminated in the feces. In pinch, burnt (as in thoroughly burnt, crumbling in hand) toast will do.
Walnuts are poisonous to dogs and should be avoided. Many nuts are not good for dogs in general; their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones.
Potato Sprouts and Green Potato Skins can poison both dogs and people. Solanum alkaloids can be found in green sprouts and green potato skins, which occurs when the tubers are exposed to sunlight during growth or after harvest. The relatively rare occurrence of actual poisoning is due to several factors: solanine is poorly absorbed; it is mostly hydrolyzed into less toxic solanidinel; and the metabolites are quickly eliminated. Note that cooked, mashed potatoes are fine for dogs, actually quite nutritious and digestible.
Turkey skin is currently thought to cause acute pancreatitis in dogs, due in part to the high fat content on it. Pancreatitis is the disorder that happens when the pancreas becomes inflamed. If the inflammation is severe, organs surrounding the pancreas could be 'autodigested' by pancreatic enzymes released from the damaged pancreas and become permanently damaged. Some of the common symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs include a very painful abdomen, abdominal distention, lack of appetite, depression, dehydration, a 'hunched up' posture, vomiting, diarrhea and yellow, greasy stool. Fever often accompanies these symptoms.
The diagnosis of pancreatitis is made through information obtained from the history, the physical exam, and laboratory testing. Dogs with pancreatitis generally have an increased blood levels of the pancreatic enzymes called and . If the liver also becomes inflamed, liver enzymes as measured in the blood may be increased. A rather new test, serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity, may prove to be a valuable diagnostic aid. The white blood cell count is generally increased in acute pancreatitis.
The most important treatment for acute pancreatitis is the administration of large amounts of intravenous fluid solutions. Most dogs with pancreatitis are dehydrated due to persistent vomiting and many of them have lost additional body fluid due to diarrhea. Dehydration leads to shock and intravenous administration of dilute salt solutions help to cure shock. Along with this treatment, stop the intake of water and food to rest the pancreas for at least 24 hours. This will stop the pancreas from producing digestive enzimes. After a couple of days, food and water intake can be started slowly with bland foods low in fat and easy to digest.
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, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. 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 anemia. 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.
Other potential pet poisons:
- Pear pips, the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pips (contain cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide poisoning)
- Potato peelings and green looking potatoes
- Rhubarb leaves
- Moldy/spoiled foods
- Yeast dough
- Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
- Hops (used in home brewing)
- Tomato leaves & stems (green parts)
- Broccoli (in large amounts)
- Raisins and grapes
Pet 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.
Good Food for Pets:
Vegetables such as potatoes (cooked), carrots, lettuce, green beans, peas, and yams are good and easy to digest for most dogs. Even some cats would like to lick mashed potatoes. Make sure that carrots and yams are foods are cut in small pieces or ran through a food processor. Green beans are good sliced. A handful of green beans, shredded carrots and/or peas can be mixed with their dry or wet food. Remember that changing a dogs diet can upset their digestion, so add very little amount of vegetables if you want to feed your dogs vegetables, or consult your veterinary.
Fruits like apples (not the core), bananas, cantaloupe, and watermelon are good for dogs in small quantities or as a small treat. Cat's digestive system is not made for digesting fruits, and even though some of them might like it, it should be discouraged.
Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but these foods are generally safe in small amounts.
Yogurt is ok to give to dogs and cats in small quantities. Plain, non-fat yogurt is better for them. It could be mixed with fruit as a treat for dogs. Even though yogurt is safe, dogs have very low tolerance to dairy products, so just stick to yogurt.
Dry Food for dogs should be carefully selected. Make sure that corn starch or corn by-products are not used as a primary ingredient. You can tell because that would be the first ingredient on the list. Your vet will be able to direct you to the best brand for your pet.
Wet Food can be used depending on the dog or cat's taste. Some of them like only wet food, some like wet and dry food combined. Always inspect the food inside the can before giving it to your pet.
One last recommendation is to make sure that your pet has fresh and plenty of water at all times. Water is essential to all living things and it is also really easy to forget to fill up the water dish.