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The top 10 human foods to avoid feeding pets

Thursday - 10/4/2012, 12:03pm  ET

Katy Nelson, special to WTOP

WASHINGTON - Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson says some human foods are worse than others when it comes to feeding our pets.

Here's what not to feed dogs or cats and why:

    1. Chocolate: Extreme caffeine-like effects, dosage dependent. Side effects range from mild to moderate GI upset, muscle tremors, hyperthermia, seizures and even death.

    2. Grapes and Raisins: Nephrotoxic side effects, dosage dependent. Side effects range from mild GI side upset all the way to Acute Renal Failure and death.

    3. Onions and Garlic: These products contain volatile oils which can lead to vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate and panting.

    4. Nuts: Some nuts are non-toxic (brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts) but can be quite salty and high in fat, so should be avoided. Others, like macadamia nuts in dogs, can cause depression, weakness, vomiting and tremors. Always do your research, and use caution, before offering any nuts to your pets.

    5. Raw fish and meats: Many believe that these are the most perfect foods for your pets as they are natural born carnivores, however, our domesticated dogs and cats' GI tracts are no longer accustomed to processing foodborne bacteria as they once were in the wild. Feeding these products to our pets not only pose a risk to the animals consuming them, but to the people in the household who share the same space. Salmonella, E. coli and other foodborne bacteria can cause anything from mild GI upset all the way up to violent GI disease and death.

    6. Bones: Small bones have the ability to cause abrasions or even puncture the GI tract, larger bones pose a risk for choking and intestinal blockages. Also, the marrow in larger bones is extremely high in fat and could lead to pancreatitis. Finally, raw bones pose a risk to humans and animals alike for foodborne illnesses from contaminants such as salmonella or E. coli

    7. Milk products: These products are not necessarily dangerous, however, many pets become lactose intolerant if they are not consistently exposed to them. Therefore, if they haven't been receiving milk products their whole lives, giving them milk products could lead to GI upset

    8. High fat/fried foods: High fat, high sugar, and oily food can cause an inflammatory condition in the pancreas called pancreatitis which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and dehyration that can be life-threatening

    9. Fruits and vegetables with large seeds or pits: Avocadoes, peaches, mangos, etc., these seeds pose a serious threat of intestinal blockages, and some even contain arsenical properties

    10. Sugar-free products: Most often dogs are affected due to their tendency to rummage. Xylitol is often used as a sweetener in sugar-free products ,such as sugar free gums and candies. This product is metabolized differently in animals than in people and can lead to severe and life-threatening hypoglycemia and seizures, and eventually even liver failure and death.

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