Without a doubt, the care we give to our dogs is repaid with unconditional love and unwavering loyalty. The pampered pets are treated pretty much the same as humans in many households. However, because of a different metabolism, some foods that are safe for human consumption can be poisonous for or have dangerous effects on our canine companions. The Animal Poison Control Center of ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has advised against feeding the pet a number of human foods. Here is a list to get you started.
The avocado fruit, seed, bark and leaves contain a toxin known as Persin, which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in dogs. Avocado ingestion will set off fluid accumulation in the chest, in the lungs, and around the heart causing breathing difficulties that can lead to death due to oxygen deprivation. Avocados can also cause gastrointestinal irritation, including vomiting and diarrhea, and possibly pancreatitis.
Chocolate can be fatal to dogs because it contains Theobromine, a cardiac stimulant and diuretic. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, so Baker's chocolate is the most dangerous. But no matter which type, any chocolate can be dangerous to dogs. An ounce of chocolate can poison a 30-pound dog -- many dogs will easily consume more than that -- and the symptoms may not show up for several hours, with death following within 24 hours.
Coffee, coffee grounds, tea, tea bags, and many soft drinks are dangerous to dogs due to the caffeine. This stimulant can damage the central nervous system, and it cause heart palpitations, abnormal heartbeats, vomiting, restlessness, and even death within hours. Symptoms of caffeine ingestion are labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, arrhythmia, and seizures.
Grapes (and raisins) are toxic to dogs and they can cause kidney failure. The type of toxin that grapes and raisins have is not known, but it is certain that these foods have harmful effects on dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can kill him. If the dog doesn't eat enough at one time to be fatal, he can be severely damaged by eating just a few grapes or raisins regularly.
Onions (and garlic) contain an ingredient called Thiosulphate, which makes these foods toxic to dogs. The enzyme in humans that digests these foods is not present in dogs. These foods destroy red blood cells, and they can cause anemia, weakness and breathing difficulty. And this poison builds up in the dog's system, so it can be toxic with repeated consumption of small amounts, as well as in one large dose.
If you notice that your dog has ingested these or any other potentially dangerous food, call your veterinarian or the APCC's emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP for telephone assistance. For more information on poison prevention, go to APCC online ( http://bit.ly/lrVhAm ).
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