Catastrophic and Harmful: 10 Human Foods Unhealthy to Pets

Curiosity kills the cat, and sometimes even dogs too. Being curious is part of our pets’ survival instincts no matter how many centuries we humans domesticate them.

When it comes to food, the same thing applies. If you have something in your hands that seem interesting to them, your pets would become curious and suddenly transform into cute little creatures begging not only for attention but for the food you hold. By the time they beg, it might be difficult to resist. After all, who can easily look away from that round, puppy eyes?

But when it comes to what they eat, owners like you must learn to practice wisdom and control especially if you have any of these listed below. Here are the 10 human food items that are considered unhealthy to pets.

  1. Chocolate

When it comes to “unhealthy pet foods,” the first item that comes to mind is chocolate. We all know that these brown goodies are harmful to dogs. But, did you know that they are toxic to pets like hamsters and cats as well?

The main culprit is theobromine, a substance found in both chocolates and tea and is known to widen blood vessels, induce urination, and stimulate heart pumping once ingested and metabolized.

In humans, these effects are used to treat high blood pressure. In animals, however, theobromine can be deadly since animals like dogs metabolize the drugs more slowly.

Cats do not have sweet taste receptors so they are less likely to get addicted to chocolate. That is also the exact reason why chocolate ingestion is fatal to them as well.. They cannot taste the food so they do not know when to stop until they experience the epileptic-like seizures.

As for hamsters, a study made at the University of Vermont proved that theobromine can impede growth and development when consumed in large doses.

  1. Xylitol

Maybe it has already crossed your mind to use your toothpaste for your dog’s daily brushing. No harm done in doing it just once, right? Unfortunately, that one time could be the last time if your pet dies from food poisoning.

Xylitol is a sweetener that is added to gums, candies, and, you guess it right, toothpaste. In humans, xylitol is used as a substitute for sugar because it prevents glucose levels in the blood to spike up quickly, which can be detrimental to diabetics.

For dogs, however, xylitol is mistaken for sugar which makes their pancreas secrete insulin and absorb copious amounts of glucose in the blood. This can lead to hypoglycemia and, if left untreated, death.

We know it’s tempting, but no matter the reason, do NOT let your dog use your toothpaste and feed them candies with this on the ingredients list. Always read the label.

 

  1. Nuts

Who doesn’t want to teach their pet new tricks such as catching food from afar? Nuts seem to be a perfect food item to be used for this game but before you grab your pack of almonds, you should know this.

Most varieties of nuts are considered toxic to dogs (macadamia nuts, pistachios), cats (walnuts), and even rodents (almonds, peanuts) because their high oil and fat content can induce vomiting and diarrhea. In time, pancreatitis may occur to dogs and cats due to a long-term high-fat diet; while hamsters can get killed by the cyanide found in almonds.

  1. Raw Meat and Fish

Since dogs hailed from wolves and cats belong to the same family as tigers, it’s only logical to feed them raw meat and fish just like their wild ancestors, right? WRONG.

Unlike wolves and tigers that have the molars to rip through raw meat and a strong gut to fend off harmful bacteria from it, our cuddly dogs and kitties do not have the enzymes needed to fight off the these.

Just like humans, salmonella sp. and listeria sp.; the common bacteria found in raw foods, can wreak havoc in their system causing diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.

  1. Salt

Salt is not all that bad for your pets. But when given in high doses, it can cause poisoning, seizures, and, depending on the severity, brain swelling and lack of muscle coordination.

Contrary to belief, most pets do not only get salt poisoning from table scraps. It can also come from lapping on seawater while walking on the beach, nibbling on play dough that is lying around the house, and swallowing paintballs.

  1. Milk

Kittens rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition for the first few weeks of their lives. As soon as they are weaned away from their mom, cats eventually decrease their production of lactase, an enzyme used by the body to break down the lactose found in milk.

If cow’s milk is reintroduced long after the cat is already weaned, it may develop an upset stomach because of lactose intolerance. For this reason, manufacturers develop cat milk, a synthetic formula that has lactase injected in it. This makes it tolerable to be consumed by adult cats.

  1. Unwashed vegetables

Veggies are not just good for you and your family. They’re perfect for your furry friends, too. That is if they are washed properly to remove the remnants of pesticides on their surfaces. These chemicals, if left alone, can cause illnesses and even death to rodents such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

 

  1. Tuna

This fish, when processed into cat food, is okay to be given to your feline. But if the tuna is made for human consumption, then it might not be safe for your pet.

Canned tuna made for humans are usually made up of natural (i.e., salt) and artificial preservatives that your cats may not be able to digest properly. In some cases, it can cause steatitis; a disease described as an inflammation of the fatty tissue in cats.

  1. Bones

Disney babies grew up with the idea that the bone is a dog’s Holy Grail. But in reality, it is Death’s scythe. When ingested, bones can splinter and puncture a dog’s digestive tract and bring internal bleeding.

If the bones given to dogs are cooked, the likelihood of choking and digestive issues increases because they are softer and therefore easier to chew and swallow even by the smallest of dogs. The same principle applies to fish bones in cats.

  1. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a wonderful addition to your coffee or desserts because of its flavor and aroma. Even your dog gets attracted to its scent. However, you must think twice before letting your pooch have a bite of your cake.

Nutmeg and cinnamon both have the compound myristicin; a compound that can induce seizures and nervous breakdown in dogs due to their hallucinogenic properties (Think: illegal drugs). These aromatic spices are also not allowed to hamsters and hedgehogs. These may cause digestion problems to them.

In case your pet ingested even a small amount of any of these foods listed above, do not wait for the symptoms to show; bring your pet to the nearest veterinary or hospital and have it checked and treated before it gets worse.

Thank you to Clarissa Ashley for submitting this very informative article!