Sometimes we think it’s a good idea to give our pets food that we ourselves like. We think it’s sure to make them happy… but some foods are not without their dangers!
Milk and dairy products
Contrary to what is often thought, cow’s milk can’t be digested by cats or by weaned dogs. Giving it to them may lead to severe diarrhoea.
It’s perfectly reasonable to give your pet a little yoghurt or crème fraîche and it will definitely make them extremely happy. Just don’t give them too much, so as to avoid the risk of diarrhoea.
As for pieces of cheese, dogs generally love them and cats like them too. They can serve as excellent rewards, particularly during learning phases. However, prioritise hard, rindless cheeses and always give them it in moderation. A handful of grated cheese on difficult pets’ kibble can also help improve their appetite.
Don’t even think of trying to please your dog or cat by giving them some chocolate! This food, pleasant though it may be to human taste buds, is highly toxic for animals because it contains theobromine. The more chocolate is concentrated into cocoa (e.g. 90% dark chocolate), and given in significant quantities, the more dangerous it is for the animal. It may reach their nervous system or heart and even cause death.
Fruits stones and pips
Pips and stones are toxic for cats and dogs because they contain cyanogenic glycoside.
Grapes in particular may cause intestinal disorders and kidney failure.
Avocados are also particularly dangerous, not only because of their stones, but also because they contain persin, a toxic element which may damage the animal’s heart and lungs. Rich in fats, avocados may also cause inflammation of your pet’s pancreas.
Raw potatoes contain calcium oxalate, entailing a risk to the animal’s urinary system, because they may cause stones. They also contain solanine, which produces intestinal disorders. However, when they’re cooked they don’t represent any particular danger. This is why they’re sometimes to be found in kibble ingredients.
Garlic and raw onions
Garlic and raw onions are toxic for dogs and cats; they may reach their red blood cells and cause vomiting, tachycardia and severe anaemia. These foods entail fewer risks when cooked, but it’s better to avoid giving them any at all.
Animals have great difficulty in digesting nuts. Highly rich in phosphorus, they’re certainly foods to be avoided. Macadamia nuts and nutmeg are especially dangerous: the former may cause fevers and weakness and increase the animal’s heart rate, while the latter may lead to hallucinations.
Like chocolate, coffee is toxic for animals. Caffeine increases their heart rate and may lead to death.
What should I do if my pet ingests a toxic product?
If your pet has eaten toxic food (or you suspect they have done so), don’t waste any time and immediately call a vet to discuss the matter. Only they can tell you what to do. You may also contact a food-poisoning control centre.
And because prevention is better than cure, make sure you keep these dangerous foods out of your pet’s reach. It’s best to store them in containers they are unable to open!