Many people, even those who don’t own pets, know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. But what people don’t know is that there are many other common ingredients used in desserts and other sweet treats that are just as deadly to animals.
For those who don’t already know, chocolate, caffeine, and coffee are all toxic to pets because they contain methylxanthines, which are found in the cacao seeds used to make these products. Chocolate and related products can affect your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and muscles, as well as their brains and hearts. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) clinical signs can include vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. The degree of toxicity depends on your pet’s weight and the amount and type of chocolate consumed. Baker’s and semi-sweet chocolate are more toxic than milk chocolate. However all types should be kept away from your pets.
But’s it’s not just the chocolate in that pack of cookies that can be potentially fatal to your pet. Xylitol, which is a sweetening agent used in many sugarless gums and treats for diabetics, is also dangerous for pet consumption. Xylitol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. Some signs to look for include: depression, loss of coordination, vomiting, and seizures.
But what about treats that don’t contain chocolate or xylitol? Yes even that package of oatmeal raisin cookies isn’t suitable for your pets. The same goes for the macadamia nuts you just received as a present.
Both raisins and macadamia nuts are toxic to pets. Dogs that have ingested macadamia nuts may show weakness in their hind legs and are often unable to get up. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. And while the actual compound in grapes and raisins that causes their toxicity is unknown, even ingesting a small amount can damage your pet’s kidneys.
All these ingredients are common in several types of cookies, brownies, and other sweet treats. While they may be delicious for us, they can be deadly for your pets. If your pet has ingested any of the above substances, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Protect your pets by keeping those cookies safely out of reach in their jar!