Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

July 27, 2012

Watch your cabinets, countertops for toxic foods

A number of foods in your kitchen can be deadly to your cats and dogs. You may know some, and others may surprise you.

Dr. Dorothy Black, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said these foods may not always cause toxic reactions. “But it’s just a good rule of thumb to keep these items off your kitchen counters and under no circumstances feed these foods to your pet,” she said.

Grapes and raisins possess an unknown toxic substance that can lead to renal failure. Toxic doses have been reported with just one or two grapes or raisins. There is no known antidote, only supportive care and dialysis to support kidney recovery.

Not all animals will suffer kidney failure after ingesting grapes or raisins, but it is best to avoid them for your dogs and cats.

“Grapes can be particularly tricky for dogs, because many actually like to eat grapes, so you have to be especially aware,” said Black. “Our pets are amazing creatures, but they can really get into dangerous situations with human food very quickly.”

Chocolate is also commonly known to be bad for pets. It contains two toxic ingredients - caffeine and theobromine. Dark chocolate is especially harmful because it has a higher concentration of toxic metabolites than milk chocolate or white chocolate.

Signs of distress seen after chocolate ingestion include anxiety/anxiousness, hyperactivity, urination, elevated body temperature, seizures and irregular heart rhythms. There is no antidote, but supportive care is usually successful for recovery.

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute now used in many kitchens. If ingested by pets, it is associated with a severe decline in blood sugar and liver failure. The exact mechanism of toxicity is unknown, and there is no antidote. While supportive care is typically successful, liver failure may still occur.

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