Little Known Toxic Foods

posted: by: Brad Titchenell, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

There are many well known foods that can be toxic to dogs and cats such as chocolate, onions, and garlic, but did you know that some sugarless gums, grapes/raisins, and bread dough can also be harmful? 

Xylitol is a sweetener that can be found in many sugarless gums, toothpaste, candy, and baked goods.  Xylitol causes insulin to be released into the bloodstream which causes a drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  The typical signs that are seen include vomiting, incoordination, and seizures.  Depending on the amount ingested, liver failure is also possible within 24-48 hours.  At this time, there is little known about the effects of xylitol on cats.  However, it may only take 1 stick of gum for a 20 pound dog to become sick so please be careful with where you leave your chewing gum. 

Grapes and raisins can also be toxic which is a fairly new finding in veterinary medicine and is not yet completely understood.  Not all dogs become sick after ingestion, but it is best to avoid these completely.  Acute kidney failure is a possible result, and is noted by vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, and inappetence.  Please avoid feeding any food that may have raisins in them such as trail mix, oatmeal raisin cookies, or granola bars.

Lastly, uncooked bread dough can cause complications for our pets.  A dog’s stomach acts as an incubator for bread dough, causing it to rise rapidly.  As the stomach and intestines become stretched to their limits, they can lose their blood supply or even rupture.  During fermentation, ethanol gas is given off and absorbed by the body.  This in turn can alter the animal’s pH causing clinical signs of incoordination and weakness.  Please be careful with where you let your dough rise and make sure it is out of your pet’s reach. 

If your pet has consumed any of these toxic foods, please call Green Meadows Veterinary Hospital at 614-846-9644 immediately as time is of the essence for evaluating your pet.