St Patty’s Day and Pets

Embrace the luck o’ the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day with all things green. However, while you may want to wear it to keep from getting pinched, be mindful if you share green foods with your four-legged friends, as many can be toxic. To learn which are potentially fatal to your pet, here are the top 10 green foods you should avoid for a paw-sitively magical Paddy’s Day!

Avoided Foods:

Avocado: If consumed in large quantities, avocados are known to be poisonous to dogs. Why? Avocados contain a chemical compound called Persin. While generally harmless to humans (who aren’t allergic), the fatal toxins are found in the leaves, seed, bark, and actual fruit as well.

Grapes / Raisins: The knowledge that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs is becoming increasingly common among pet owners, and for good reason! They are toxic. The side effects to these toxins can lead to irreversible kidney damage, kidney failure, and result in fatality.

Chives: As part of the garlic and onion family, chives are also poisonous to both cats and dogs. If consumed, this type of poisoning, known as Heinz body anemia, can damage the red blood cells used to transport oxygen to the organs. A poisonous reaction can occur from raw, cooked, or dried chives, onions, and garlic. Because researchers are still uncertain as to the quantity that may cause this type of hemolytic anemia, it is recommended to avoid all foods that contain chives or similar onion variants.

Beer and Hops: The toxicity found in hops is present both before and after brewing. Like humans, alcohol toxicity has the same effect on your pet’s health but takes much less to harm them. Even a small amount of hops can trigger a reaction, but the smaller your pet, the higher the risk. This is also true for liquor, wine, and foods with alcohol. Consumption may cause coordination and breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems, coma, and even death.

Potatoes: Potatoes are Irish, right? While this one might come as a surprise, considering potatoes are often found as a main ingredient in premium dog food brands, avoid the potato — or, rather, green versions of it. Unripened and raw potatoes are toxic to dogs. Symptoms of potato toxicity in pets often includes nausea, vomiting, seizures and heart irregularities.

Apples: While apples are generally safe for pets, apple seeds contain cyanide which is extremely toxic to dogs. In many cases, this would require consuming a large quantity of apple seeds to begin displaying signs of illness. But in our experience, most dogs will eat just about anything! If you are giving your pets an apple a day, remove the core to keep the doctor away.

Stems and Leaves of:
Tomatoes: While red tomatoes can be a heart healthy snack for dogs, the actual plant itself contains toxic properties and should not be consumed. The stems, leaves, and unripened, green tomatoes can cause a series of gastrointestinal problems. While it may take a large quantity to upset your pooch, it’s best to avoid the tomato garden.

Rhubarb: This colorful veggie should never be given to either dogs, cats, or horses. The leafy greens and stems of rhubarb are known to significantly reduce the calcium levels upon ingestion and can result in renal failure, and other medical complications.

Apricots: Also toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, apricots contain a particularly poisonous chemical compound called cyanide, found in the leaves, stems, and seeds. Consuming can result in respiratory failure and even death.

Cherries: Similar to apricots, cherries also contain cyanide in their leaves, stems, and seeds. While it is safe for your pet to eat the pulp of the fruit, the plant and pit should never be eaten. The most common side effects are dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock, and death.

Looking for acceptable green foods to feed your pets? You’re in luck, because not all green foods are bad. You can give them: green beans, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, celery, broccoli, and asparagus.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your friends at Longwood Veterinary Center!