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Toxic Foods For Animals

Many foods that are commonly found in human diet may be poisonous for different animals. Below is a list of foods that should be avoided and why:


Common for all three species:


❌Chocolate/Cocoa 🍫

Chocolate contains chemical theobromine and caffeine. Neither of those substances can be metabolised by a animals and are poisonous. List of symptoms in pets include sickens and restlessness and in severe cases seizures and heart failure. General rule is the higher the cocoa content the more toxic.


❌Peach/Nectarine stones 🍑

Besides choking hazard and intestine blockage which both can be fatal, fruit stones contain amygdalin, a form of cyanide. Amygdaloid slows down oxygen transfer through the blood to organs which can lead to fatal consequences. Beware of peach stems and leaves too.


❌Onion/garlic 🧅🧄

Whether dry or raw, garlic and onions cause gastrointestinal irritation, red blood cell damage and anemia. Signs of sickness may occur days after consumption. Dogs are at higher risk compared to cats.


❌Alcohol/Nicotine 🍷

Alcohol causes strong intoxication resulting in sickness, diarrhoea and may induce central nervous system damage.


Toxic for Dogs & Cats:


❌Grapes/Raisins/Sultans 🍇

The cause of grape intoxication long unknown. Wegenast et al. (2022) proposed it may be tartaric acid that causes severe liver damage or kidney failure in pets.


❌Macadamia nuts/Peanuts 🥜

Toxins may affect the muscular and nervous system. All nuts have a high fat content, which can cause gastrointestinal issues.


❌Citrus fruits 🍋🍊

Citrus fruits contain chemicals toxic for pets causing gastrointestinal issues.


❌Raw potatoes 🥔

Potatoes contain substance called solanine, which is toxic for a dog. Solanine levels reduce with roasting but boiled potatoes are still not safe to feed a dog. Symptoms of solanine intoxication include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.


❌Mushrooms 🍄

Dogs are curious and do not distinguish type of mushrooms when sniffing around the forest.

Symptoms of poisoning may appear from vomiting through ataxia and liver failure, dependent on type of mushroom and amount ingested. It is safest not to let a dog eat any mushrooms. In case of ingestion, consult vet immediately and bring the mushroom to the clinic if possible.


❌Avocado 🥑

Substance persin may cause vomiting and diarrhoea upon digestion.


❌Human medication 💊

Drugs such as paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or Xanax are poisonous for dogs. Even if a drug was safe for an animal, its dosage may differ significantly.


❌Artificial sweeteners (xylitol) 🥤

Xylitol cause a release of insulin which in dog may cause hyperglycaemia and result in liver failure and blood clotting disorders.


❌Corn on the cob 🌽

Although corn is digested by dogs, the cob may result in a blockage of the small intestine.


❌Cooked bones 🦴

Although raw bones to chew in are great, cooked bones splinter easily and may cause constipation and fatal perforation of the gut.


❌Raw dough 🍞

Unfortunately, the stojach represents an ideal environment for yeast to grow disperse

carbon dioxide and ethanol. Gas from the raising dough in the stomach leads to painful

gastric dilatation and volvulus. Expanding stomach decreases blood flow to surrounding

important organs which may have fatal consequences.


Dangerous for Cats:


❌Dairy 🥛

Cats do not have lactase, enzyme responsible to digest the sugar in milk - lactose - meaning

a cat cannot process dairy foods and its consumption may result in digestive upset.


❌Raw eggs/meat 🥚🥩

Besides poisoning from E. coli, a protein in raw egg whites - avidin - may disrupt absorption

of the B vitamin biotin, resulting in skin and coat problems.


✅Check with your vet before adding anything to your animal’s diet.

✅Consult your vet if you have a suspicion your pet may have ingested something dangerous.

✅If you are unsure, do not feed it to your animal.



Toxic for horses:


Most toxic foods common for both small animals and horses have been discussed above. Details on why certain foods may be dangerous for a horse can be found below:


❌Brocoli/Cauliflower/Cabbage🥬🥦

Broccoli contains a sugar called raffinose, which causes intestinal gas. While this might not be an issue for a human, horse digestive system is beyond sensitive and gas can become easily trapped. This may induce colic and have fatal consequences.


❌Tomatoes 🍅

Tomatoes carry multiple toxins for horses. Green parts of a tomato contain an alkaloid, which slows down gut function. Large consumption may result in symptoms like diarrhoea and may induce colic.


❌Rhubarb🥢

While the rhubarb stem may pose no danger to the horse, rhubarb leaves contain oxalic, which combines with calcium in the blood and forms crystals. Their depositions then may lead to kidney damage or failure.


❌Caffeine ☕️

Caffeine consumption may cause heart problems in a horse.


❌Dairy/Meat 🥛🥩

Horses are no carnivores and their digestive system is not built to process meat. Although dairy may not be poisonous to an adult horse, they cannot process lactose, which may result in digestive issues.


✅Check with your vet before adding anything to your horse’s diet.

✅Consult your vet if you have a suspicion your horse may have ingested something.

✅If you are unsure, stay in the safe side and do not feed it to your horse.

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