Common Toxins to Pets
Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.
Avocados contain a toxin called Persin, This is not toxic to dogs or cats but it is extremely dangerous to birds. Symptoms of persin toxicosis includes the inability to perch, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the bird’s heart and lungs and liver and kidney failure.
Coffee, tea, and other caffeine containing products should not be given to your pets. Symptoms include restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting, increased heart rate and blood pressure levels and seizures.
Cocoa and chocolate contain theobromine, a chemical that is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion of small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but ingestion of larger quantities can cause seizures and affect heart rhythm, causing cardiac arrest and death.
Modern day domestic dogs are very different now to their wild dog ancestors. Feeding bones can be very harmful, and should be avoided. Bones can cause fractures to teeth, choking, oesophageal and stomach lacerations, intestinal obstructions, and even death.
Avoid feeding your dog dairy products as they can often cause vomiting and diarrhoea. As in people, some dogs are lactose intolerant and so feeding dairy will make them ill.
Foods high in saturated fats are rarely good for us humans, let alone for our furry companions. Fatty foods can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and can even set off Pancreatitis which, if left untreated, could be fatal.
Grapes are incredibly toxic to dogs. It is not known how or why, but ingestion of grapes can cause acute kidney failure. Grape toxicity is not dose depended, meaning it doesn’t matter if your dog eats one, or many – if your dog is sensitive to grape toxicity, the outcome will be the same. It can take up to 72 hours before signs of kidney failure become apparent, by which point treatment will be ineffective. It is therefore incredibly important that if your dog eats grapes, raisins or currants, get them to a Vet ASAP.
It is not a very well known risk, but Lilies are incredibly dangerous to cats. Keep Lilies well out of reach of your feline friend as they are at risk of kidney failure. All parts of the Lily plant are toxic to cats when ingested. If your cat brushes up against the flowers and gets pollen on their coat, they could become poisoned when grooming themselves by accidentally ingesting it. Within minutes to hours of ingestion, symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, and inappetance. The sooner you seek Veterinary attention for your cat, the better, as Lily toxicity is a true emergency.
Onions and garlic in any form can be harmful. Ingestion of small amounts can result in a mild gastrointestinal upset, while larger amounts can cause severe anemia, particularly with long-term ingestion (like sprinkling it on your pet’s food).
Paracetamol is toxic to pets, especially cats. Never administer Paracetamol to your dog or cat, if you think your pet is uncomfortable or in pain then seek Veterinary attention so that safe pain relief suitable for their species can be supplied. Keep it well out of reach so they do not accidentally ingest it either. Cats lack the enzyme required to break down the drug causing high levels of it to persist in their system. This causes toxic damage to their red blood cells and causes liver failure. Dogs have low levels of this enzyme so even small amounts of Paracetamol can be dangerous.
Ibuprofen is not safe either. This can cause gut ulceration and kidney damage. Do not give any human pain medication to your pet – speak to a Vet if you have concerns.
Xylitol is a common sugar substitute and is in many products such as sweeteners, chewing gum, mints, baked products, beverages and candies. It is incredibly toxic to dogs, causing hypoglycaemia (dangerously low blood sugar), liver failure, and even death.