6 Foods That Are Toxic To Pets (Cats, Too)

Toxic Foods for Pets

I have a couple of cats at home, but I love dogs, too. Sometimes I like to show my love by sharing a treat, such as hard-boiled eggs, turkey or bananas. However, there are many human foods that you should never give a cat or dog. Avoid these six dangerous foods when cuddling with your cat or dog:

1. Caffeine

The reason chocolate is bad for pets is that it contains caffeine. Pets are extremely sensitive to caffeine. It can overload their hearts, kidneys and nervous system, causing high fever, coma or organ failure. Never give dogs, cats, ferrets or other pets any foods with caffeine:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Green tea
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Energy drinks

If you catch your pet lapping up a little bit of coffee, don’t panic. The small amount of caffeine will probably just make them sick, not seriously ill. On the other hand, chocolate and dark chocolate have a huge amount of caffeine, so you’ll want to call a veterinarian immediately.

2. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins may seem perfect for dog treats, but don’t let the small size fool you. Something in grapes causes rapid kidney failure in dogs. Just one or two raisins can be enough to trigger a severe reaction.

Scientists still don’t know what chemical compound is responsible, but it’s very dangerous for all canines. The jury is out on felines, but most vets recommend not giving grapes and raisins to cats just to play it safe.

3. Alcohol

No pet should ever drink any kind of alcohol. Just like with caffeine, animals react much more strongly to alcohol than humans do. This includes beer and wine, too. The small organs in most pets aren’t equipped to deal with intoxication, so their heart rate may slow dangerously or they may lose consciousness. With enough alcohol, even large dogs will stop breathing.

4. Garlic and Onions

Cats are more sensitive to garlic than dogs, but dogs can still have problems if they eat enough of it. Any part of the onion family (green onions, too) can hurt your pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia and muscle weakness. Garlic powder is especially toxic since it’s a concentrated form.

5. Nuts

Most nuts are high in specific fats that lead to pancreas inflammation in dogs. Macadamia nuts are the worst for canines, causing shaking, fever and vomiting. You don’t have to panic if your dog just eats a few peanuts or almonds. But if you find them raiding a whole jar of nuts, call the vet immediately.

6. Artificial Sweetener

Be careful if you want to give your pet cookies, gum or other packaged sweets. Many of these products contain artificial sweeteners. Even small doses of a sweetener called Xylitol can trigger liver failure in virtually all pets.

How can you tell if your pet has been affected? Dogs and cats experience a strange loss of balance, like they were drunk. They may seem unusually tired or lethargic. Actually, any time a pet acts really strange (except for catnip) I think it’s a good idea to call the vet.

It’s hard to resist giving an affectionate pet treats. Just make sure not to choose any of the items on this list. This can literally save your pet’s life. Go with crunchy carrots and tasty bananas instead.

Health Benefits of Getting a Pet

Pets can make life more enjoyable and fulfilling, but they’re also a lot of work. When you’re a little more “mature” like I am, you may wonder if you have the energy to look after an energetic little animal. If you’re on the fence about whether to go adopt a furry family member, science says the investment of your time and money is well worth it. I have learned that there are so many health benefits you can enjoy when you have a pet in your life. Here are some of my favorites.

Reduced Stress Levels

Stress is just a regular part of life for many people, but too much stress can cause a lot of health problems. Here are just a few of the dangerous health conditions linked to chronic stress:

  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive problems
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease

Yikes! That’s a pretty ugly list if you ask me. It can be hard to reduce your stress naturally, but science shows that owning a pet lowers stress and improves heart health. If you have any doubt about that, all you need to do is snuggle with a cuddly puppy or play with a mischievous kitten and notice how your stress seems to melt away.

Increased Physical Activity

When you own pets, you’re responsible for making sure they get enough exercise for good health. This means that you’ll need to get out and exercise, too! Walking a dog is a great way to boost your physical health and make sure your cardiovascular system is always being tested and improved.

Even if you have a cat and you don’t take it for walks, you can still get in some exercise by playing with it. Try pulling a string around the house for your cat to chase. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can work up a sweat just trying to keep the string out of your cat’s reach!

Improved Mental Health

Poor mental health is a growing problem these days. Anxiety and depression rates are skyrocketing, and it’s easy to become the next statistic. But having a pet can help reduce your likelihood of developing a mental health disorder. If you already have a mental health disorder, a pet may help you manage it.

Being around pets can lower stress hormones that contribute to anxiety. Research shows that veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder often feel an improved sense of well-being and better mental health when they have a service dog by their side.

Dogs have a sixth sense and know when you’re feeling down. That’s why they often come up and lick your face or curl up next to you when you’re sad or worried about something. If you want to have the longest, happiest life possible, the key may be to add a furry family member to the mix.

Decreased Loneliness

Many older adults live alone. A life of solitude can become very lonely. A loving pet provides an important sense of companionship. Pets are extremely loyal and make excellent companions for those who have lost a spouse or who have never married. Even empty nesters who have each other but no longer have children in the home can benefit from the companionship of one or more pets.

Having a pet can also make it easier to make friends with other pet owners in the neighborhood. Try taking your dog to local dog parks to become acquainted with other people in your area.

It’s easy to see why so many people choose to welcome pets into their homes. Even though they require time and money to care for, pets give back so much more to us.