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Poisonous Edibles

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  • Poisonous Edibles

    Plants and Foods Toxic to Pets
    Here is a quick reference guide to the more common house and garden plants and foods (and other substances) that are toxic to most all animals. If you have these plants or foods, you need not dispose of them--just keep them away from your pets. Although it is impossible to list all possible poisons, these guidelines may help you begin to remove or place out of reach most potential problems.

    This list is NOT ALL INCLUSIVE and may not include items poisonous to Hamsters/Guinea Pigs/Iguanas/etc

    * Indicates that a substance is especially dangerous and can be fatal.


    Foods which are toxic and poisonous to pets:
    Alcohol (all alcoholic beverages, ethanol, methanol, isopropyl)
    Almonds*
    Apples seeds
    Apricots*
    Avocado*
    Broccoli (in large amounts)
    Cherry pits
    Chocolate (all types)*
    Chinaberry trees
    Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
    Figs
    Garlic*
    Grapes
    Hops (used in home brewing)
    Macadamia Nuts
    Milk
    Mouldy/spoiled foods
    Mushrooms
    Nutmeg
    Onions*
    Peaches*
    Pear seeds
    Plum seed/pit
    Potato (leaves & stem, peelings, and unripe green potatoes)
    Raisins
    Rhubarb leaves*
    Sugar Free items with Xylitol (see below)***
    Tomatoes (leaves & stem, and green tomatoes)
    Walnut hulls
    Yeast dough


    Plants which are toxic and/or poisonous to pets:
    Almonds*
    Amaryllis bulb*
    Andromeda
    Anthuriaum*
    Apple seeds (contain cyanide)
    Apricot*
    Arrowgrass
    Autumn crocus (Colchicum Autumnale)*
    Avocado (leaves, seeds, stem, skin)* (fatal to birds)
    Azalea (entire rhododendron family)
    Begonia*
    Bird of Paradise
    Bittersweet
    Bleeding heart*
    Boxwood
    Bracken fern
    Buckeye
    Buttercup (Ranunculus)
    Caffeine
    Caladium*
    Calla lily*
    Castor bean or castor oil plant* (can be fatal if chewed)
    Cherry pits (contain cyanide)
    Cherry Chinese sacred or heavenly bamboo*
    Chocolate Choke cherry, unripe berries*
    Chrysanthemum (a natural source of pyrethrins)
    Clematis
    Crocus bulb
    Croton (Codiaeum sp.)
    Crown of Thorns
    Daffodil
    Daphne
    Delphinium, larkspur, monkshood*
    Dieffenbachia
    Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)*
    Elderberry, unripe berries*
    Elephant Ear
    English ivy (All Hedera species of ivy)
    Fig (Ficus)
    Four-o'clocks (Mirabilis)
    Foxglove (Digitalis)*
    Garlic*
    Grapes/raisins
    Hemlock
    Hemp
    Hyacinth bulbs
    Hydrangea*
    Holly berries
    Iris corms
    Jack-in-the-pulpit*
    Jasmine
    Jerusalem Cherry, Winter Cherry (Solanum pseudocarpum)
    Jimsonweed* (Datur stramonium, D. metaloides, D. arborea)
    Kalanchoe*
    Lantana*
    Larkspur
    Laurel
    Lily (bulbs of most species)
    Lily (Easter Lily, Tiger Lily)
    Lily-of-the-Valley*
    Locoweed
    Lupine species
    Marigold
    Marijuana or hemp (Cannabis)
    Milkweed*
    Mistletoe berries*
    Monkshood
    Morning Glory*
    Mostera, aka Split-Leaf Philodendron or Swiss Cheese Plant
    Mountain laurel
    Mushrooms & Toadstools (various)
    Narcissus, daffodil
    Nettles
    Nightshade (various species)
    Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
    Oak* (remove bark for use as a bird perch)
    Oleander*
    Onions*
    Peaches*
    Pear seeds
    Pencil cactus/plant* (Euphorbia sp.)
    Periwinkle (Vinca rosea)
    Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)
    Philodendron (all species)*
    Plum pit/seed
    Poinsettia (many hybrids, avoid them all)
    Poison Ivy
    Potato (leaves & stem, peelings, unripe green potatoes)
    Precatory Beans (Crabs Eye, Rosary Pea, Jequirity Bean) Used in jewelry. Extremely toxic when seedcoat is broken, as it is when the seeds are strung
    Privet
    Rhodedendron
    Rhubarb leaves*
    Rosary Pea (Arbus sp.) (can be fatal if chewed)
    Scheffelera (umbrella plant)*
    Shamrock (Oxalis sp.)*
    Skunk Cabbage
    Snow-on-the-Mountain
    Spurge (Euphorbia sp.)
    Tobacco
    Tomatoes (leaves & stem, green tomatoes)
    Tulip
    Walnut hulls
    Water Arum
    Wisteria
    Yew*


    Other substances that are very harmful include (but are not limited to):
    Acetaminophen
    Acetone
    Antifreeze
    Aspirin
    Bleach
    Boric Acid
    Brake Fluid
    Carbon Monoxide
    Carbuerator Fluid
    Cigarettes and other nicotine products and smoke
    Cleaning Fluids
    Cosmetics
    Crayons (dangerous for birds)
    Deoderant
    Deodorizers
    Detergents
    Diet Pills
    Disinfectants
    Drain Cleaners
    Dyes
    Fungicides
    Furniture Polish
    Gasoline
    Hair Coloring
    Herbicides
    Insecticides
    Kerosine
    Laundry supplies & fabric softener
    Laxatives
    Lead
    Liquor
    Lye
    Matches
    Mercury
    Metal Polish
    Mineral Spirits
    Mothballs
    Nail Polish & Nail Polish Remover
    Paint
    Paint Remover
    Permananet Solution
    Phenol
    Photo Developer
    Rodent poison
    Rubbing Alcohol
    Rust (dangerous for birds)
    Shoe Polish
    Sleeping Pills
    Slug/Snail Bait
    Soap
    Sugar Free foods (see below)***
    Suntan Lotion
    Tar
    Turpentine
    Window Cleaners
    Wood preservatives and shellac
    Fumes dangerous to birds: smoke-filled air, insecticide spray, deodorizers, spray cleaners, fumes from fresh paint, gas, and overheated Teflon (very deadly).



    Toxins Explained

    Chocolate/Caffeine
    : Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include Staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death. Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell. Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

    Onions/Garlic: Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet's red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. Symptoms include Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine. The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness. While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.

    Grapes/Raisins: As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog/cat ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

    Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

    Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. Cooked bones splinter EVEN MORE.

    Milk and other dairy products: Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

    Raw Eggs: Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

    ***Sugar Free foods with Xylitol: Veterinarians warn that a commonly used sweetener might cause liver failure in dogs, and perhaps even kill them. Researchers said for dogs, ingesting even a small amount of xylitol, found in many sugar-free foods, can trigger significant insulin release, which drops their blood sugar and can be fatal. Their report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association appears to strengthen the suspected link between the sugar substitute xylitol, thought to make dogs sick, and possible liver failure. Xylitol, a naturally occurring product, is found in many sugar-free chewing gums, candies, baked goods and toothpastes. Researchers Sharon Gwaltney-Brant and Eric Dunayer with staff at a poison unit of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana, Illinois, gathered information on eight dogs treated between 2003 and 2005 after eating products containing xylitol. Each dog became ill, and five died or had to be put down because of liver failure, possibly from ingesting xylitol. One dog who had to be euthanized had eaten four large, chocolate-frosted muffins containing about 1 pound of xylitol. "People don't think sugar-free gum can kill their dog. I didn't before I got into this. But this is something people should be aware of," Gwaltney-Brant, who co-authored the study with Dunayer, said in a statement. Gwaltney-Brant said for dogs, ingesting even a small amount of xylitol can trigger significant insulin release, which drops their blood sugar and can be fatal. "A 22-pound dog who consumes one gram of xylitol should be treated," she said, adding that further studies were needed to definitely establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

    NOTE: Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic, raisins/grapes and macadamia nuts, such foods should not be given at all. Be sure that your pets can't get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
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