11 foods you should never feed your pet

When you’re having a tasty snack and your pet looks up at you with those eyes, it can be tempting to toss them a bite. We love our pets and we like to show them how much we love them by giving them special treats, but not all foods are safe.

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11 foods you should never feed your pet
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11 foods you should never feed your pet

Raisins or grapes

Grapes and raisins might be healthy for humans but can make dogs and cats very sick. Pets can develop severe kidney damage after eating grapes or raisins, which can lead to kidney failure and even death. Not every dog or cat will experience kidney problems, but since there's no way of knowing if your pet will get sick, it's best to avoid grapes and raisins altogether.

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Artificial sweeteners

Xylitol, a popular artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free candy and gum, is extremely dangerous for dogs and cats, causing a spike in insulin and a severe drop in blood glucose. If not treated immediately, pets will develop hypoglycemic seizures and go into shock. Symptoms begin suddenly and will result in death without medical intervention. Check out the 50 secrets your pet doesn't want you to know.

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Garlic

Even though you may find natural health sources that claim garlic, a member of the allium family, is safe for pets or that the benefits outweigh the risks, ingestion of garlic can be deadly to dogs and cats. It results in the formation of particles called Heinz bodies on red blood cells, causing the liver to see these otherwise normal red blood cells as damaged then filter them out of circulation. This results in low red blood cell count—anemia—which can cause lethargy, difficulty breathing, and death.

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Avocadoes

While most likely safe for dogs and cats, avocados are toxic to birds and large animals like cows. The compound persin causes difficulty breathing, swelling, anorexia in pet birds, and mastitis and digestive problems in goats, sheep, cattle, and horses.

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Chocolate

A compound in chocolate called theobromine is toxic to dogs and cats. It can cause hyperactivity, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, even death. Theobromine is more plentiful in darker chocolate but even milk and white chocolate are dangerous.

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Coffee, tea, soda

Dogs and cats are more sensitive to caffeine than we are, so even small amounts can make them excitable and jittery. Large doses of caffeine can cause heart arrhythmia, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma. Drinks, snacks, and medicine containing caffeine should be kept away from pets. Check out the 26 secrets your pet store won't tell you—but you should know.

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High-fat foods

While delicious, fatty foods like bacon and ham are dangerous for dogs and cats who aren't accustomed to eating high-fat foods. Ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea and also pancreatitis, an extremely painful digestive condition that requires hospitalization and intensive treatment.

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Bones

Though it may seem counterintuitive, cooked bones are dangerous treats for pets. They splinter easily and can puncture delicate gastrointestinal tissue, leading to a life-threatening condition called peritonitis that occurs when intestinal contents leak into the abdominal cavity. The only treatment is surgery.

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Fruits with pits

Peaches, plums, nectarines, and other pitted fruits are dangerous on two fronts. Not only are the pits the perfect size to become lodged in the intestines, causing an obstruction, but pits also contain the poison cyanide. Don't miss these 12 other foods that are toxic to dogs

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Rhubarb

When your pets—especially dogs—head for the rhubarb plant, watch out: The leaves can cause a drop in blood calcium levels. Your pet will salivate, have tremors, lose her appetite, be lethargic, and could end up with kidney failure.

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Macadamia nuts

This is a problem for dogs: Macadamia nut toxicity results in vomiting, weakness, tremors, fever, and lethargy. Veterinarians aren't exactly sure what the mechanism of the toxicity is, but it isn't fatal. Next, learn the 50 things your veterinarian really wants you to know.

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Some human foods are dangerous for our pets, resulting in stomach upset, seizures, even death. Here’s a list of common human foods that you should never feed your pet. (Pssst… here are 15 ways you can tell if your cat is mad at you, too.)

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11 warning signs of cancer in dogs
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11 warning signs of cancer in dogs

Collapsing

If your dog collapses, get to the vet immediately. Collapsing, weakness, and general lethargy (not greeting people at the door like usual or less interaction) are common signs of cancer, says Jake Zaidel, DVM, of Malta Animal Hospital in upstate New York. “I see this particularly in large breed dogs—even if they fall down and seem better the next day, bring them in because it could signal a tumor of the spleen,” says Dr. Zaidel. And don't miss these 10 silent signs that mean your pooch is actually sick!

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Coughing

Coughing doesn’t automatically signal cancer; for example, small breed dogs tend to develop coughs because they have windpipe problems. “If the dog coughs once or twice, it’s of no concern, but if it continues to cough for more than a few days, that’s a concern and could signal lung cancer,” says Zaidel.

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Weight loss

Weight loss is the number-one dog cancer symptom Dr. Zaidel says he sees. It’s often the sign of a gastrointestinal tumor. “I’ve had a lot of dogs stop eating because of gastrointestinal tumors, so they lose weight very rapidly,” he says. Cancer can also cause dogs to lose weight while maintaining their regular appetite. If you notice your dog shedding pounds, either rapidly or slowly, make an appointment with your vet. Make sure you know the surprisingly common dog dangers that lurk in your backyard!

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Mouth changes

Sores, lumps, a strange odor, bleeding, or a change in gum color can be a sign of oral cancer, particularly in older dogs. This cancer sign in dogs often goes unnoticed for too long. “We commonly find visible oral tumors because people don’t examine their pet’s mouth,” says Dr. Zaidel. “Many oral tumors can be really devastating because people don’t find them until it’s really advanced.” He also suggests brushing on a regular basis.

It’s a good idea to watch when your pet yawns or eats, advises Timothy Rocha, DVM, an oncology specialist in New York City. See a vet if you notice something out of the ordinary.

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Nose bleeds

Nosebleeds are never normal, says Dr. Rocha. “With an older dog, a nosebleed is particularly worrisome. It can be a sign of cancer in the nose,” he says. “With younger dogs, I would worry more about something like a foreign object stuck up there before cancer.” (These are the 12 common foods that could be detrimental to your dog's health!)

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Diarrhea or changes in bathroom habits

Occasional diarrhea usually isn’t a sign of cancer in dogs, says Dr. Rocha, but if it persists or gets worse, get your dog to the vet. Constantly begging to go out to go to the bathroom, difficulty peeing/moving bowels, vomiting, or blood in the urine or stool are also potential dog cancer symptoms, according to PetMD.com.

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Discharge

Persistent discharge from the nose or eyes is cause for concern, says Dr. Zaidel. Nasal discharge is a common sign of facial tumors, and eye discharge can signal an eye tumor. (Check out these 23 facts about animals that are actually all wrong!)

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Seizures

Seizures can be a sign of brain tumors and are typically seen in older dog cancer patients, says Dr. Zaidel. If you start to notice sudden and uncontrolled bursts of activity, like champing and chewing, jerking of the legs, or foaming at the mouth, your dog could be experiencing seizures and you should see a vet immediately, according to WebMD.com.

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Skin changes

“Every lump, bump, or skin change should be checked,” says Dr. Zaidel. “It could be benign or cancerous, but it’s always easier to treat the earlier it’s caught.” Feel for bumps, lumps, or swelling as you pet your pooch. If you notice something iffy, don’t delay—there’s no way to distinguish between a lump that’s benign or malignant without taking a sample. Also pay attention to any sores that won’t heal or lesions that seem itchy or painful. Also, don't forget to keep an eye out for these dog flu symptoms.

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Weight gain

Sudden weight gain or bloating can be a sign of cancer in dogs. If your dog is eating less but seems to be bulking up, take a trip to the vet, says Rocha. A sudden spike in appetite also warrants a visit.

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General pain or discomfort

“Pain is a rather substantial sign of cancer,” says Zaidel. If your dog whines or cries out when you pat her tummy or pick him up, call your vet. Mouth tumors may cause noticeable discomfort when eating. (Keep your pet safe and learn which 11 household items can make your furry friend seriously sick!)

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The post 11 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pet appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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