Many of us see our pets as members of the family, and it can be nice to include our animals in family rituals, including meal time. However it’s important to remember that most human food is not good for pets – and some of it can be quite harmful.
Chocolate contains the ingredient theobromine, which is toxic to animals. Even in small doses, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive thirst. In large doses it can lead to abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.
Raisins and Grapes
Raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. The reason for this is unclear, but symptoms include repeated vomiting, lethargy and low mood. If your dog has a want to steal food off bench-tops, be sure to put dried fruit out of reach (including hot cross buns and raisin toast).
Milk and Dairy
Most dogs will happily share your ice-cream if you let them. However milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhoea and other digestive upsets in both cats and dogs if they are not used to them. Dairy can also be the culprit in some food allergies (which often manifest as itchiness).
Raw fish and Tuna
Raw fish contains an enzyme called thiaminase that destroys thiamin (vitamin B1). Thiamin is essential to a cat’s well-being, so the lack of it can lead to neurological disorders, the signs of which include weight loss, weakness and uncoordinated movements. While a little tuna is okay, it contains high levels of methyl mercury, which in high doses can lead to mercury poisoning.