The Star-Herald

Forbidden foods

Forbidden foods for our four-legged friends are many and can be very dangerous if ingested. Sometimes, we give our pets leftovers or what we consider treats. According to many sources, some human foods can make an animal very sick, and in certain cases can even be lethal.

Many of us are cooking out and grilling, especially during this beautiful summer. Be aware that your curious pet can linger around the barbecue grill, just waiting for an opportunity to sneak in and steal whatever might be cooking.  

Raw meat and bones should not be given to animals. Years ago one of my dogs managed to pull a chicken carcass off the countertop. I was able to get him from him very quickly, but he had eaten a few of the bones. I watched him closely for a few days, but we were very lucky. He had no repercussions, but not all pets are that lucky. 

Uncooked meat may transmit E. coli, and meat bones can cause serious problems for dogs by splintering, an intestinal blockage, or tears in the digestive system. The best bet is to buy rawhide bones for your dog to enjoy. I never thought of onion and garlic causing problems for pets, but these seasonings can cause gastrointestinal irritations. This is more prevalent among cats than dogs.

Beer and wine are extremely harmful for pets to drink. Don’t ever give your pet some beer to see how he will act. It is cruel and could make your animal very ill. Food and drink items containing caffeine or chocolate should never be given to animals, as they contain the chemical methylxanthine. If animals ingest this chemical, they can become very sick with vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and other unwanted problems. 

Avocados contain a toxin called persin, a fungicidal toxin which is harmless to humans, but can be very toxic to animals, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Grapes, raisins and currants can be toxic to our four-legged friends. But fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, bananas and seedless watermelons are fine. It is important that we don’t give them fruits which have pits, because the pits can lodge in their throats. 

I have never thought of yeast dough being a problem for a dog or cat, but if you have dough rising in a bowl in your kitchen, and your animals are as curious as some of mine have been, make sure they cannot get into the dough bowl. The dough can cause some serious problems, as it would expand in the stomach. 

Macadamia nuts and the artificial sweetener called xylitol used in various products — cookies, gum, and most diet products — can cause a very serious reaction in a pet. 

I think we all need to be very careful when we give our animals treats. If your pets are anything like mine, they are always looking for a treat.

Please visit us at the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check us out on Facebook.  Our hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30.  

Remember to be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Carolyn Cheney is a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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