Should You Feed “People” Food to Your Pet?
You may think you are giving your dog or cat a treat by sharing your food with them, but many “people” foods are actually dangerous for pets, so as a policy, it is best to stick with quality dog and cat food for your furry friends.
Accidental Poisoning Statistics
The most common poisonings for dogs and cats are rodenticides, chocolate, pesticides, plants, pharmaceuticals, glycols and metals. Chocolate is to blame for about one quarter of all poisonings, with pharmaceuticals responsible for about 22% of exposures. Many other people foods can make pets very sick, and some can even cause death.
Dogs are accidentally poisoned much more frequently (70-80% of all cases), likely due to their inquisitive nature and their willingness to put things into their mouth.
Cats are more particular about what they will eat and account for only about 11-20% of animal poisonings.
People Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pet
There are some people foods that are “ok” for pets on occasion (such as cooked egg!) but because this opens the door to more dangerous foods being introduced with the safe food item (a cooked egg with onions in it is dangerous), it is a good practice to simply not feed your pets anything but quality pet food. In particular, if you have children in the home, they should be taught to never share people food with Fluffy or Fido! And make sure friends who may not own pets, perhaps over for BBQs or dinner, also understand the rules! Non-pet-parent guests may think they are being nice to Fido by slipping him a treat. Even things such as salty chips can be hazardous, so just “say no to human food for Fido and Fluffy!”
Here are the top problematic foods.
Problems with chocolate are more likely to be seen around specific holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. All types of chocolate are very harmful to both cats and dogs.
Keep in mind that this includes products that may only contain chocolate, such as baked cookies and brownies, as well as cocoa powder and chocolate candies.
Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, and they are quite poisonous to pets. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is as darker chocolate contains more methylxanthines. If eaten by a pet, initial reactions may include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm and muscle tremors. Depending on the type and quantity eaten, the reaction can include seizures and even death.
Grapes and Raisins
Although vets and scientists don’t know exactly why, grapes and raisins can be very poisonous to most dogs and cats. Some dogs can seemingly eat them without problem, but many develop illness and even life-threatening problems after eating only a few raisins or grapes. Most vets feel the safest course of action is to never feed these foods to pets, period.