Many emergency vet visits arise from our pets eating something that us humans might enjoy – such as flowers or chocolate - but is toxic to them. Keep your cat or dog healthy and happy by making sure they don’t come in contact with the following substances:
Lilies are a common flower that people have in their homes, and they are often received as gifts. However, they do not belong in a household with a cat. Every part of lilies can be deadly to cats, including the flower, leaf and pollen. It causes acute liver failure, so it’s best not to take the risk of having any type of lily in your home. Other flowers that need to be kept away from cats include aloe, azaleas, chrysanthemums, mistletoe, poinsettia, tulips and rhododendron.
Sugar-free candies and gum often contain xylitol, which can cause sudden surges in insulin levels in dogs, followed by a dramatic drop in blood sugar. In high doses this can cause liver failure, so it’s best to keep the candy in a sealed container that is out of a pet’s reach.
While we may love chocolate, even a small amount can be very dangerous to our pets – dogs in particular. That’s because chocolate contains the natural chemical Theobromine, which is metabolised very slowly in dogs. This chemical can cause rapid heart rate, seizures and even respiratory failure, which can lead to death.
Cats should also be kept safe from chocolate, although they are not as badly affected as dogs.
Other foods that can be hazardous to cats or dogs include alcohol, caffeine, onions, garlic, chives, grapes and raisins, some nuts, avocado (this means guacamole too!), bread dough and even apple seeds. However, these are just some of the more common substances that can harm your pets. The Pet Poison List goes into more detail.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, call your vet right away. Every moment counts when your pet’s health is at risk.