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Hermanus Animal Welfare | Foods you should not feed your Pet

What you should and should not feed your pet

Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours of eating but can start a few hours after intake. Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production, weakness and drunken gait. Only give raw meaty large bones to dogs, that they can gnaw and chew on, such as the bones at the head of the hip joints . These they cannot break open - just grind down. ..it is good for puppies too to have these so they get nutrients from the bones and develop their jaw and neck muscles. Please ask your butcher for the large beef bones.

Grapes & Raisins

Can cause irreversible damage to kidneys possibly resulting in death.


Can cause a form of hemolytic anemia called Heinz body anemia, a condition that causes the destruction of red blood cells. Kidney damage may follow. Signs are secondary to anemia such as pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other signs are vomiting, diarrhea and bloody urine.


Chocolate and cocoa contain a chemical called Theo bromide that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. Pure baking chocolate is most potent, while milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. Signs include tremors, excitement, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rate, drunken gait, hypothermia and coma.

Sugar and Sweets

Feeding dogs sugar and sweets also upsets the natural micro-flora in the stomach killing off good bacteria and encouraging bad bacteria, and giving digestive problems.

Caffeinated items

Caffeine is quite similar to the toxin found in chocolate. It can damage the heart, lungs and central nervous system. Signs include restlessness, hyper activity and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, drunken gait, increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions.

Macadamia nuts

While not fatal it can cause your dog to experience severe illness. Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/muscle pain and joint swelling.


Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener found in gum and candy. In dogs it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin which causes low blood pressure. It can also cause severe liver damage. Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes and include weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.

Alcohol & yeast dough

Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol - a seriously toxic chemical compound that causes central nervous and respiratory depression. Uncooked yeast also produces ethanol. Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rapture of the stomach or intestines. Even small amounts of ethanol can be toxic. Signs include sedation, lethargy, weakness and hypothermia (cold body temperature) Ethanol is absorbed rapidly into the system so its important to seek medical attention quickly.

Fruit pips & Seeds

Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide. Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma and skin irritations. However seeds such as sunflower and sesame seeds can be sprinkled on foods and also a few almonds are fine.

Moldy & Rotten foods

Any food that seems past its prime should be kept out of reach. Be especially careful to keep your dog away from trash cans. Botulism often from garbage cans can cause paralysis, slow heart rate, constipation and urine retention. Rotten food produces ethanol with the same. Effects as alcohol ingestion. Moldy foods contain toxins that may cause muscle tremors, convulsions and drunkenness.