Pet Care: Summer fun foods—not so fun for pets

Written by on July 9, 2014 in Blogs - No comments

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Summertime is associated with outdoor activities, vacation, and fun summer foods, but but you may not know that some of those foods are toxic to pets.

Hopefully all pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to pets, due to the theobromine and caffeine ingredients. Even if you don’t feed table scraps or “people-food” to your pet, it’s important to know what’s toxic in case your pet gets into the trash, raids the kitchen, or has a visitor that “accidentally” drops some food.

Grapes and raisins
Although the toxic component of grapes and raisins is unknown, they have been associated with the development of kidney failure. Symptoms may start with vomiting and diarrhea and can drastically progress within 12 hours. Your pet can become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated and potentially die.

Onions and garlic
Members of the onion and garlic family (chives, scallions, etc) contain a compound that causes oxidative damage to the red blood cells of cats and dogs. Though your pet may not be interested in chomping down on an onion, concentrated forms such as dehydrated onion, garlic powder and onion soup are even more dangerous. It takes three to five days for symptoms—including weakness, reluctance to move, and orange to dark red urine—to become apparent.

Cherries
Watch out with those fruit salads this summer because cherries are toxic too. The stem, leaves and seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides—that’s right, cyanide! They inhibit cytochrome oxidase which is an enzyme needed for cellular oxygen transport, preventing oxygen uptake by the cells. Symptoms can include dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock and even death.

Macadamia nuts
Although Macadamia nuts are unlikely to be fatal in dogs, they are still considered toxic because they affect nerve function. However, the toxic aspect is unknown. If considerable amounts are ingested it can cause uncomfortable symptoms for up to 48 hours. Some symptoms include weakness in the rear legs, vomiting, tremors, and severe lethargy. So keep the cookies to yourself.

Alcohol
It may have been funny getting the dog drunk at college parties, but alcohol can be a serious toxin for your pets. Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans, so the effects are much greater. It can cause vomiting, disorientation, loss of coordination, seizures, coma and death.

If you think your pet has ingested any of the above, call your vet or closest emergency center; don’t wait for symptoms to occur.

by Adriene Buisch
Special to the Baltimore Guide

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