Pets are just that – pets. They are there to be loved and to love, to be taken care of and pampered, for companionship and so on. If you have never owned a pet before and you get one, no matter the animal, you may need a little time to adapt. But in the meantime, you would be tempted to give the pet anything it asks for, including food.
That is where the trick comes in. You simply cannot give your pet; say a cat or a dog, everything you eat, even if it fixes those beautiful eyes on you. Do not give in because it is for the greater good. There is a reason animals have their own types of food, most of them different from ours.
Now, as much as it is important to know what to feed your pet to keep it healthy and strong, it is equally as important to know what not to feed it. Below is a list of some of them (what NOT to feed your pet), though not an exhaustive one:
All types of chocolate are an emphatic ‘no’ for animals, especially dogs. This is because it contains a chemical called theobromine which is fantastic for human beings since it helps the heart and works as a diuretic. But it does not sit well with a dog because it takes about three times longer to be broken down in its system than it does in a person. As the chemical sits undigested in a dog’s system, it begins to adversely affect its heart and nervous system; dark chocolate is extremely dangerous for it. So no matter how longingly your pet looks at the chocolate chip cookies on the counter or the cocoa drink in your hand, do not give in.
Little bits of coconut or food containing a little amount of it will only cause a tiny bit of discomfort for your pet but if it is ingested in large amounts, your pet is likely to have an upset stomach and diarrhea. Coconut, with its milk, contains some natural oil that does not sit well in the stomachs of animals. The milk has a high percentage of potassium which is not at all good for your pet.
A lot of animals do not have the right amount of the enzyme lactase, needed to properly break down lactose in milk, just as some people are lactose-intolerant. Dairy products could cause bloating, an upset stomach, restlessness, itching and some allergic reaction in your pet. So it would be best to not indulge it in the first place. Just stick to products that work for it.
When taken in large amounts by your pet, citrus may cause problems within its nervous system. Every citrus plant contains oil and citric acid which the body of an animal rejects. However, when ingested in a small amount, it is unlikely to cause any major problem. Your pet does not know this, though, keep every citrus fruit far away from its reach. Sometimes, it is not what you offer them but what they can reach on their own when you are not looking.
Salty snacks and foods
Some snacks and food that we eat could be fed to pets with caution but if they contain too much salt, they could get poisoned by the sodium ion in salt. The results of this type of poisoning in pets are that they would become depressed, vomit, shake uncontrollably, run a fever and may eventually die. Snacks such as popcorn and potato chips usually contain a lot of salt so it is much better to keep such away from them.
That your dog is watching that soccer match with you does not mean you should feed it everything you eat. Keep everything that contains alcohol away from it because it would cause a breakdown in its nervous system and equally cause vomiting, breathing difficulty, depression, sometimes coma or death. For no reason whatsoever should you give your pet alcohol, no matter how little? And if it ingests it accidentally, visit a vet as soon as possible or an animal poison control center.
Dough with yeast
This is one of the easiest foods to give a pet, especially if it has been sitting close to you and licking its lips while you are baking. Do not give it a thought. Fermented yeast produces ethanol and it is very likely your pet, if it eats raw dough, will get the same reaction as if it ingests alcohol. If not, the least that would happen is that your pet would get a bloated stomach, which has the potential of twisting and causing an alarming emergency. Keep that dough away from your pet.
Garlic and onions
Garlic and onions have the high potential to cause severe irritation in the gastrointestinal tracts of your pet. Cats are more likely to be affected but dogs can be affected also if these herbs are consumed in large quantities. You may have been feeding your pet with food which contains some trace amounts of onions or garlic and nothing has happened. It is important you watch it because accumulation could equally be a problem.
Nuts such as pecans, macadamia, almonds, and walnuts can cause pancreatitis in your pet if you allow it. This is due to the high percentage of fats and oil in them which do not suit animals. Macadamia, particularly, causes depression, vomiting, and weakness for them.
Coffee contains methylxanthine, a chemical substance in cacao. Much like theobromine, this substance would affect the heart rate of pets, cause excessive urination and thirst, diarrhea, vomiting, uncontrollable shaking and possible death. The same happens with any drink with caffeine in it. Caffeine is poisonous for pets so under no circumstance should they take coffee or any caffeinated drink.
Raw meat and eggs
Salmonella and E.coli are some of the harmful bacteria in raw eggs and meat and they are harmful to both people and pets. Avidin in raw eggs inhibits the imbibing of the vitamin biotin that aids the skin and fur of animals. Lacking it would be symptomized by a flaky skin and a dry coat. If you must feed your pets meat, bones or eggs, be sure to cook them till they are properly cooked; no half-boiled or undercooked egg and meat.
Raisins and grapes
There is an unknown toxic chemical in raisins and grapes that is yet to be discovered but it has the capacity to cause kidney failure. Do not feed your pets with any of them and keep them away from reach.