What Not To Feed Your Pet


Do you or your kids ever feed your pets 'people food'? I think most of us do from time to time. We might not even do it on purpose-if you've ever seen what a dog can do with an unattended plate of food, you know what I mean! While it's better to keep them on their own food because it's better suited to their dietary needs, most vets don't have a problem with an occasional table scrap or two. There are, however, some foods that you should never feed your pets. Some are obvious, but not all of them.

For instance, never let a pet-any pet-eat chocolate! The offending substance is called theobromine, which can be found in the cocoa found in all chocolate-white chocolate included. The higher the cocoa content, the higher the risk. Animals cannot digest any kind of caffeine because their bodies are unable to break it down in a way that would make it safe for their nervous or circulatory systems. The result, among other things, is a dangerously irregular heartbeat and possibility of seizures. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not the only pets affected. For more information, check out http://www.facts-about-chocolate.com/chocolate-and-dogs/.

Believe it or not, milk is another food your pets shouldn't have. Despite all the cute pictures we've seen of cats drinking milk, most adult animals don't have the enzymes necessary to digest the lactose in milk. Just like a lactose-intolerant human, this can cause cramps, gassiness, diarrhea-a whole host of digestive problems. Cream, however, doesn't appear to be as harmful and thus can be ingested in small amounts. The occasional lick of Breyer's vanilla ice cream should be fine.

Don't let your pets have alcohol or tobacco. I'm sure I don't have to explain why.

Contrary to popular belief, never feed your cat 'people-food' tuna or raw fish. Some of the enzymes can cause a B-vitamin deficiency, leading to malnutrition and neurological problems. If Fluffy likes fish, get the packets made especially for cats.

The chemical Persin found in avocados can be harmful and/or fatal to birds and rodents.

Vets aren't entirely sure why, but grapes and raisins have been associated with kidney problems in dogs. This is important to mention because many members of the rodent family (chinchillas, ferrets, etc) enjoy raisins. While definitive research hasn't been done yet regarding raisins and exotic pets such as rodents or reptiles, it's probably best to avoid them.

Garlic, chives or other types of onions can be problematic in excess. Ditto salt. While these substances are found in some pet foods, animals should never have 'extra' amounts of them. In other words, tell your son to stop feeding the dog pretzels. :)

As with humans, raw meat and eggs carry the risk of E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

Due to the 'expanding' nature of yeast, raw dough can be harmful to your pet. Aside from the gassiness, it can cause a blockage or rupture of the intestine if it 'rises' enough. This risk reduces once the dough is cooked, though, so the occasional scrap of bread as a treat shouldn't cause problems.

For more information about foods you shouldn't feed pets, visit the ASPCA's page at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx. As always, check with your veterinarian.

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