Artisanal Treats for Pets

Is Your Pet’s Favorite Treat A Toxin? 7 Treats Your Dog or Cat Should Never Eat

Is Your Pet's Favorite Treat A Toxin?

We have all been victims to the sad puppy (or kitty) eyes. It’s something that practically leads us to show our love and affection towards our pets by feeding them table scraps or a few extra treats. Little do we know that this can lead our pets down a very unhealthy path.

Begging is an attention-seeking behavior that can be hard to resist. But being a responsible pet parent comes with taking into account the good and bad of whatever your pet consumes.

In this article, we will cover what treats may be toxic for your pet and what safe alternatives you can opt for.

Human Foods Toxic To Pets

7 Toxic Treats Your Pet Should Never Eat
Source: Unsplash

The digestive systems of dogs and cats are very different from ours. Many human foods are safe for consumption and provide many health benefits when fed in moderation. However, some foods that are safe for humans can be toxic and even fatal for our furry babies.

Here’s a list of some of the most common human foods that are dangerous for pets:

1. Caffeine

Cats and dogs should not ingest tea, coffee, or any other foods or drinks containing caffeine. It increases their heart rate and raises blood pressure, which can cause cardiac arrhythmias.

Depending on the amount of caffeine consumed and your pet’s general health, it can cause harm to major organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and even the central nervous system.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate contains chemicals called methylxanthines (more importantly, theobromine and caffeine) which are highly toxic for dogs and cats. Animals metabolize these chemicals slowly which allows the toxic compounds to build up in their systems.

Ingesting chocolates can lead to severe vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and can even be fatal.

3. Xylitol

Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute in various baked goods, sugar-free candies like mints or chewing gum, and even in some brands of sugar-free peanut butter.

Even small amounts of Xylitol can be toxic to dogs as it rapidly decreases blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) within 10 to 60 minutes of consumption. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening.

4. Onions & Garlic

Aside from the mouth-watering aroma of these herbs sizzling in a pan, onions and garlic can make your pet very sick. Onions, garlic, and chives belong to the genus allium, which is toxic to dogs and cats. 

Consuming these can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain may also occur. They can also damage red blood cells and cause them to burst. When RBCs are destroyed, the main organs of the body stop receiving enough oxygen which can be fatal.

5. Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins (which are just dehydrated grapes) are highly toxic for dogs and cats. Consuming even one grape or raisin can cause acute kidney failure, which can be fatal.

The toxic substance in grapes and raisins is currently unknown and the effects are inconsistent across pets, but it is best to refrain from feeding them to your pet. 

6. Cooked Bones

While bones may seem like an obvious choice to treat your pet to, cooked animal bones have the tendency to break or splinter. This can severely injure your pet externally as well as internally.

While external injuries may be easier to spot and treat, internal ruptures and cuts can be life-threatening. Opt for raw bones for your pet instead of cooked ones.

7. Alcohol

It might seem harmless to let your pet have the slightest taste of your beer, wine, or any other drink but all it leads to is jeopardizing their health. Any amount of alcohol can be very dangerous due to the presence of ethanol, which is an intoxicating agent. 

Consumption of alcohol, in any quantity, can lead to nausea and even give rise to muscle tremors and seizures. If left untreated, dogs or cats can develop serious complications like coma or even death.

Before you feel like sharing your food with your pet, do ample research to make sure it is safe for consumption and steer clear of toxic food items as mentioned above. If in doubt, you can even contact your veterinarian to gain a better understanding.

Unsafe & Dangerous Commercial Pet Treats

7 Toxic Treats Your Pet Should Never Eat
Source: Unsplash

Treats make our pooches very happy, which in turn makes us happy. However, not all treats are the same. Some treats can contain ingredients that can seriously harm your dog or cat. Most of the time, we tend to overlook the ingredients for attractive packaging, but here are some treats you should never purchase for your pet.

1. Treats Made in China

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated jerky pet treats manufactured in China. This was done after receiving multiple reports of illnesses in pets after consuming chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China.

As of 2015, 1140 canine deaths have been reported. To date, the FDA continues its investigation and has even expanded its testing methodology to yield better results.

Nevertheless, not all treats made in China are harmful, but it is always better to avoid a label that reads ‘Made in China’ rather than putting your baby’s health at risk.

2. Cancer-Causing Dog Treats

Butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA is a chemical antioxidant commonly used by giant dog treat companies as a food preservative. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has listed BHA as carcinogenic

Food coloring additives like Yellow #6, Blue #1 and #2, Red #3, and Green #3 are also linked with cancer in animals. Avoid treats with any of these or synthetic colors and preservatives as far as possible.

3. Artificially Sweetened Treats

Many treat manufacturers use artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol to improve the appeal of their products. Consuming sorbitol has been known to cause stomach problems in pets and can lead to severe weight loss. On the other hand, xylitol is poisonous and should be avoided altogether.

Sugar should never be a part of your pet’s diet and simply replacing it with chemical substitutes makes the problem worse. 

4. Rawhide

Rawhide chews are highly popular and are advertised as ‘long-lasting treats that encourage healthy chewing’. However, they are only made to last longer because they are heavily processed with highly toxic chemicals. Due to this, they lack any nutritional value.

Aside from the dangerous chemicals involved, rawhides are also a prime cause of gastric blockage in dogs. Choking on rawhide treats can result fatally for our darlings.

5. Dental Sticks

When it comes to popular treat brands, a lot of ingredients usually remain hidden under attractive packaging. 

Dentastix 7 Toxic Treats Your Pet Should Never Eat
Source: Pooch and Mutt

While feeding these sticks occasionally cause minimal harm, most people tend to feed their pets one every day. This can lead to serious risks like skin and eye problems, respiratory issues, and even cancer.

The ingredients that cause these specific issues are explained in detail in the picture above.

6. Milk Bones

Milk bones are bone-shaped treats made from milk, flours, meat products, and minerals. They also contain artificial preservatives, sugars, sweeteners, and chemicals like BHA which, when consumed, can cause a variety of serious health issues.

Keep in mind that a lot of dogs and cats are lactose intolerant. Milk, being a prominent ingredient in milk bones, can lead to many unpleasant reactions ranging from flatulence to diarrhea.

7. Cheap Biscuits & Cookies

Human biscuits are one of the most common treats fed to pets and even strays, as they are widely available at affordable prices. These biscuits are not good for dogs or cats because they contain many more ingredients than what pet stomachs can tolerate.

Ingredients like sugar (or glucose), wheat flour, salt, palm oil, etc are prominently seen in biscuits. These can be extremely dangerous for dogs and cats. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to feed strays, you can purchase good-quality affordable pet treats. You can also bake some homemade cookies and treats, which both, your pet and strays, can enjoy!

It is your duty, as responsible pet owners, to be extra careful of the treats you choose to feed your pet. Just spending an extra five minutes to read an ingredient label can go a long way to keeping your pooch healthy.

My Pet Ate Something Toxic: What To Do?

7 Toxic Treats Your Pet Should Never Eat
Source: Pexels

Dogs love to stick their snouts (and tongue) in almost everything. As much as we try to avoid them getting in contact with something potentially harmful for them, there are still chances that your pet may consume something dangerous. 

Symptoms Of Toxin Consumption In Dogs & Cats

Depending upon the toxic substance your pet has ingested, their reaction to it will vary. Regardless, you should be alarmed if your pet shows any of the following signs:

  1. Coughing, vomiting or gagging
  2. Shaking or erratic behavior
  3. Trouble breathing
  4. Diarrhea or Constipation
  5. Loss of appetite

Many times, a pet who has come in contact with a harmful substance will not show any signs of discomfort at all. Some reactions may even start occurring six to twelve hours after consumption. Meanwhile, it is of utmost importance to be prepared and not waste time panicking. 

How To Help Your Pet In Case Of Poisoning

The easiest way to ensure your dog or cat doesn’t ingest anything harmful is to keep food items out of their reach. Make it a habit not to leave any dangerous items on counter-tops, tables, or any other places with easy access. 

However, if such a situation arises, being prepared and acting quickly is the best way to help your pet. Here are some simple steps you can follow:

1. Get Your Pet In A Safe Environment

The very first thing you should do is to get your pet away from the food item. If you catch them eating something toxic, immediately take it away and move your pet to a safe space.

Try to look for any plastics, wrappers, or packaging left nearby. This will help determine the quantity your dog has consumed. This can be helpful information to share with your veterinarian.

2. Call Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is the most reliable source of information to walk you through what your pet has consumed and how to go about with treatment now. Even if your pet is not showing any signs but you feel they have consumed something wrong, be preventative and give your veterinarian a call.

If the incident happens during after-hours, your veterinarian may suggest another clinic or you can search for 24-hour emergency pet hospitals near your area. Take your pet there immediately.

3. Don’t Induce Vomiting

Unless your veterinarian says it’s okay, never try to induce vomiting as it may make matters worse. Some substances may be caustic and can cause irritation if vomited.

Never treat or medicate your pet without the approval of your veterinarian.

Safe & Healthy Pet Treat Alternatives

The answer is simple, go natural! 

A pet’s diet plays a very important role in shaping up their lifestyle and deciding to go natural can be a huge step in this regard. The easiest way to start is by choosing all-natural treats. Not only are treats great rewards for your pets, but they also offer extra stimulation to get through the day.

All-natural treats are gentle on your pet’s stomach and provide your pet with the highest quality nutrients. This way you can ensure that your baby is getting the most out of their snack with no risks involved.

We, at Pawcrafted, believe that healthy treats for your dogs or cats are the way forward. Our range of treats has been developed with the highest-quality ingredients, to minimize any harmful effects and maximize your pet’s happiness.

Treat them to the goodness of real ingredients and delicious treats today!

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