One of the most common reasons that veterinarians and emergency animal hospitals have to treat dogs, cats, and small animal pets is that their owners give them the wrong kinds of foods without meaning to. It is understandable that pet owners who love their pets want to share with them some of the foods they seem to enjoy so much, but feeding your pets the wrong kinds of treats can make them very sick or even cause veterinary emergencies. That is why you should always check with your local veterinarian or pet clinic before you decide to give your pets special treats, especially foods intended for humans. Here is a brief set of rules to help you avoid ever having to rush your pets to a veterinary hospital for emergency vet care because of something they ate.
In general, it is never a good idea to give your pets too much human food or table scraps. Even if they are safe for them, they contain many more calories than foods designed for pets and can easily make your pets obese. Once your pets get used to table scraps, they may refuse their pet food altogether and go a day or more without eating until you give in. But the most important reason to avoid giving your pets people foods is that some of the most common ingredients in our food (such as sugar and caffeine) and spices (such as salt, onions, and garlic) are actually toxic to your pets. Certain ingredients can shorten their lives considerably while others can actually cause medical emergencies that require an emergency visit to a 24-hour veterinary hospital to save their lives if they eat them in large quantities. Remember that your pets are much smaller than you and therefore, a small amount of a specific ingredient for you can be fatal to your beloved pet.
Foods Never to Give Your Dog or Cat
Some of the most dangerous ingredients to your dog or cat are found in almost all of their favorite people food treats (even baby food): onion and garlic. That is because both garlic and (especially) onions contain chemicals that can cause certain kinds of anemia (a serious blood disorder) in dogs and cats. Salt can cause electrolyte imbalances and sugar can cause dental problems.
According to NJ Veterinarian, Dr. Paul Sedlacek, another favorite treat of many pets is very dangerous for dogs and cats: chocolate. That is not only because chocolate (and coffee and tea and many sodas) contain high levels of caffeine, but more importantly, theobromine, which is toxic to their hearts and nervous systems. Even though theobromine is even more toxic for cats, chocolate poses a greater danger for dogs due to the preference of dogs for sweet food.
Raw meat, raw fish, and raw eggs can contain deadly bacteria (such as Salmonella and E. coli) and even untainted raw eggs and fish contain substance that interfere with the absorption of important B vitamins which can result in malnutrition, seizures, and even sudden death. Even though both dogs and cats love fat trimmings, they can cause pancreatitis in both species and should be trimmed off any cooked foods you give them as treats.
Other foods are not necessarily dangerous in small quantities but can cause serious medical problems if eaten regularly. For example, cats should not eat dog food because it can cause malnutrition and heart diseases. Dogs should not eat cat food because it contains so much protein that dogs can suffer kidney disease as a result. Canned tuna is also much too high in protein for dogs and is missing too many nutrients to keep cats healthy. Finally, never give your dog or cat foods with any bones; they can get stuck in their digestive system or splinter and actually cause internal puncture wounds that require an emergency life-saving trip to the veterinary hospital or pet clinic.
Dr. Paul has a strong interest in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery, as well as small animal internal medicine and surgery.
He has provided services for numerous breeders, kennels, aviaries, and mini zoos.