He Ate What? 10 Things You Should Never Feed Your Pet

These foods may be fine for you, but they can be downright deadly for your dog or cat

Is it okay to toss your pet a grape? How about the skin you just pulled off your baked chicken? We know it’s hard to resist those big eyes and wagging tongue, but beware: The very thing your pet’s dying to eat may just do him more harm than good. Here, 10 everyday foods that are bad for your dog and cat.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic

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Whether fresh, cooked, dried or powdered, these veggies cause an excessive loss of red blood cells in pets, which can lead to anemia. That’ll happen whether your dog or cat binges once on these veggies or has a steady diet of them.

Signs you should call your vet: weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite or vomiting



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Beer, liquor or wine damages your pet’s liver and brain and can be especially lethal in cats. It takes just two teaspoons of whiskey to send a 5-pound cat into a coma. Three teaspoons and it could die.

Signs you should call your vet: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, disorientation, stupor and, in severe cases, coma, seizures or the inability to stand up



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If consumed in large enough quantities, anything caffeinated can kill your pet. That includes coffee (even the grounds), tea, energy drinks and medications.

Signs you should call your vet: rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, bleeding, restlessness, rapid breathing or seizure-like symptoms



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Speaking of caffeinated products, chocolate and cocoa beans are literally a to-die-for food for your dog or cat. That’s because they contain caffeine and theobromine, two compounds that can cause symptoms as mild as vomiting or as serious as seizures.

Signs you should call your vet: vomiting, increased thirst, restlessness, abdominal pain, agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, fever or seizures

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and Raisins

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These snacks are perfect for people, but not so much for pets. Small amounts can make your sidekick sick; larger amounts can cause kidney failure.

Signs you should call your vet: nonstop vomiting, exhaustion or depression

Unbaked Bread Dough

Unbaked bread dough

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If it’s made with live yeast, raw dough can expand in your pet's stomach. Small amounts can lead to a bellyache, but too much and your buddy can have difficulty breathing or even become intoxicated. (Remember, fermenting yeast produces alcohol.)

Signs you should call your vet: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, disorientation, stupor and, in severe cases, coma, seizures, swelling belly or the inability to stand up

Raw Eggs, Meat and Fish

Raw eggs, meat and fish

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Uncooked food may be contaminated with salmonella or E coli, which can spell trouble for your pet. Other reasons to steer clear of the raw stuff: There's an enzyme in eggs that interferes with the absorption of certain B vitamins. And uncooked or undercooked salmon, trout, shad and sturgeon could have a parasite that causes "fish disease" or "salmon poisoning disease," something your pet can die of within two weeks if not treated.

Signs you should call your vet: vomiting, fever or enlarged lymph nodes



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This artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum, candy and baked goods can quickly lead to a severe decrease in blood sugar levels in pets. Disorientation and seizures could occur as early as 30 minutes, or as late as several hours, after ingesting it. In large amounts, xylitol can cause liver failure.

Signs you should call your vet
: call immediately if your pet ingests anything containing xylitol

Fat Trimmings and Bones

Fat trimmings and bones

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Sure, they’re delicious for pets, but they’re just as dangerous. Fat, whether cooked or raw, can cause pancreatitis, and bone splinters can get lodged in your pet's mouth and throat and even block or perforate the digestive system.

Signs you should call your vet: diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal pain or loss of appetite



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Milk and other dairy products are not well tolerated by adult dogs and cats. Unlike kittens, older pets end up with an upset tummy and diarrhea if they drink milk. Dairy products also predispose pets to food allergies.

Signs you should call your vet: diarrhea

Karen B. Gibbs is a freelance writer living in Lacombe, La.

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