Jan 31 2013

4 Pet Treats To Avoid

A table scrap here, a little taste there — when indulging our pets, the temptation to slip them tiny treats of our food can be strong. But certain human foods can be dangerous to pets, so keep your animals safe and healthy by avoiding these risky treats.

1. Chocolate — Not So Sweet. The dangers of chocolate for pets have been well-publicized, and an increasing number of pet owners are savvy about this big no-no. Even in small quantities, chocolate can be fatal to both dogs and cats, so even if your pet has consumed a tiny amount, this is cause for alarm.

Be sure to “pet-proof” your home to make sure that any candy bowls or gift boxes are out-of-reach and securely put away, since even the smallest pets can find a way to get into toxic treats. If you live in a home with especially curious and crafty animals, you might consider investing in a locking garbage can to avoid any accidental raids on leftovers.

2. Trim the Fat. The wafting smell of cooking meat will bring any pet into the kitchen looking for scraps. But pet owners should think carefully before indulging whimpers and meows. Foods that are high in fat, such as cheeseburgers and French fries, can be as bad for pets over time as for their humans.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, scrumptious scraps such as these — or any other human food with a high fat content, such as gravy — can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pancreatitis.

3. Stomp Out the Grapes. Although many dogs seek out grapes and raisins for a natural treat, both foods have been linked to kidney problems, even renal failure. Even small amounts can cause serious reactions in animals, so keep your pets away from these tempting treats.

4. Crying Over Onions. The dangers posed to pets by onions are less well-known than the dangers from other foods, but the reactions that onions cause can be just as severe. In any form, onions can lead to anemia in both cats and dogs, so steer clear of feeding your pets any leftovers or scraps that contain even tiny bits of this food.

Healthy Alternatives. If you simply must indulge your pet with food from your own plate, consider options that are not only safe for your pet, but also provide health benefits. Foods like brown rice, lean chicken breasts, and oatmeal can help your pet maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related complications such as joint problems, cancer, and kidney failure. Sweet potatoes are also a vitamin-rich, safe alternative when your pet is begging to eat just a little taste of “whatever you’re having.”

To find out more about food safety for pets, visit the ASPCA’s website at aspca.org.
Summer Valley Veterinary Clinic
Aurora Veterinary

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