Fourteen surprising things that can poison your pet

Onions, chocolate, grapes, and nuts can all cause problems

sick dog in a veterinary clinic

You love your pet and want to give them a treat - but some foods are poisonous, and could even be life-threatening. Here are 14 things your four-legged friend should never eat...

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1. Onions, garlic, shallots and leeks

Veggies in the Allium family can cause serious damage to your dog or cat's red blood cells, causing them to burst. Weakness and an upset stomach are signs that your pet may have ingested these foods. Symptoms of onion or garlic toxicity can also include lethargy, a fast heart beat and respiratory rates, pale gums, and even collapse.

2. Chocolate
The cocoa beans in chocolate contain a chemical that's toxic in small animals. Dark chocolate is particularly dangerous as it contains large quantities of the stimulant theobromine. Symptoms usually begin within 4 - 24 hours of your pet eating chocolate, and can include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, high temperature and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and tremors.

3. Raisins and grapes
Ingesting grapes and raisins have been known to result in kidney failure in some dogs. Eating just a small amount of these foods can prove toxic. Vomiting and diarrhoea typically begin within 24 hours of eating them, with kidney failure occurring a few days later.

4. Macadamia nuts
Just a few of these nuts can cause seizures, depression, vomiting and trouble walking in dogs. Symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of ingestion and can continue for around 12 to 48 hours.

5. Sugarless gum
An artificial sweetener found in many sugarless gums causes dogs' and cats' blood sugar to drop quickly. It can also lead to seizures and liver damage. Symptoms can appear anywhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours after exposure, and quick treatment is necessary or it may prove fatal to your pet.

6. Fruit pits
Pits from peaches, cherries, and more are choking hazards and could get stuck in your pet's intestines. They also contain a compound that can lead to difficulty breathing, excess salivation, shock, seizures, and coma in dogs and cats.

7. Mouldy food
Mouldy food can be toxic and cause neurological problems, like trembling, in pets. Watch out for vomiting, agitation, stumbling, tremors, and seizures.

8. Coffee
Caffeine can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in pets. Or, it can overstimulate the heart and lead to death.

9. Avocado
The high fat content is bad for pets.

10. Acetaminophen
The Tylenol ingredient can be fatal for dogs and cats. They lack the necessary enzymes to break it down, leading to blood cell and tissue damage.

11. Aspirin
Side effects of a pet swallowing aspirin include anaemia, bleeding disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and kidney failure.

12. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
While vets do prescribe these for pets, the dose is smaller than for humans. Too much can cause life-threatening ulcers and bleeding disorders and reduce blood flow to organs.

13. Plants
To be safe, make sure your pets don't chew on plants and bouquets of flowers in your home. Dangerous plants include lilies, azaleas, and palms.

14. Marijuana
Eating cannabis may lead to a trip to the vet for your pet. Look for incontinence, weakness, lethargy, stumbling, low heart rate, dilated pupils, and vomiting.