Can cats eat grapes?

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Food poisonous for dogs and cats

What is good for people can be very toxic for four-legged friends!

When feeding human food to our four-legged friends, care must be taken, because some - even very healthy food for us - can be poisonous for our animals.

The reasons for this are different metabolic pathways in humans and animals or a lack of enzymes. To put it simply: Ingredients that we humans can easily “digest” cannot be broken down by our four-legged friends, so that poisoning can occur.

A "harmless" example for us humans would be lactose or milk sugar intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks up and breaks down milk sugar in such a way that we can digest it without any problems. If the lactose cannot be digested, it can lead to flatulence, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. So what is actually tasty and healthy doesn't have to be good for you!

Dogs are about three times more likely to be poisoned than cats, which can be traced back to their different eating behavior: While dogs are often very greedily gobbling down everything that can be eaten, cats inspect very carefully what lies in front of them and prefer to do without an unusual smell or taste the snack.

Here are the most common food poisonings:

Some types of avocado contain persin, which is toxic to many animals (e.g. dogs, cats, rabbits, birds) both in the pulp and in the core.

Person causes severe heart muscle damage that is irreversible.

After consuming Persin - in birds, sharpening the beak on an avocado seed may be enough - there is shortness of breath and coughing, and the pulse and heart rate rise. As the disease progresses, edema forms in the subcutaneous tissue, especially on the neck and lower abdomen, until it finally leads to ascites. X-rays show an enlargement of the heart.

Persin poisoning is often fatal as there is no specific treatment.

It has only recently been known that the consumption of macadamina nuts can be very dangerous for our four-legged friends. A relatively small amount is enough to cause symptoms such as stiffness, trouble walking and paralysis. In a dog weighing 15 kg, 4 macadamia nuts can lead to poisoning.

The poisoning can also manifest itself through vomiting, apathetic behavior, tremors and hypothermia - it can lead to liver damage.

It is not yet known which ingredient of the nuts is responsible for the poisoning.

Chocolate and all foods containing cocoa

The theobromine contained in chocolate is toxic to our dogs and cats because they are unable to break it down.

This is how the theobromine accumulates in the body and leads to poisoning. Symptoms are severe panting, vomiting, diarrhea, greatly increased heart rate, convulsions, paralysis, impaired consciousness and even death.

Theobromine is fatal for dogs above 100mg per kilogram of body weight. Depending on the cocoa content, a bar of milk chocolate is enough to poison a Pekingese or a cat. With a medium-sized dog (10-15kg), one bar of dark chocolate (higher cocoa content!) Or three bars of milk chocolate can end tragically. There is no specific treatment.

The sugar substitute xylitol is found in many human foods. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) warns against feeding dogs or cats with foods containing xylitol, as xylitol can increase the body's own insulin production to such an extent that it leads to a life-threatening drop in blood sugar levels.

Affected animals react about 30 minutes after consuming large amounts of xylitol-containing sweets with loss of coordination, weaknesses and cramps. Xylitol is also suspected of causing liver damage.

The ASPCA and the British Institute of Veterinary Toxicology independently warn against the consumption of grapes and raisins by dogs or cats.

Dogs (luckily cats don't like grapes and raisins that much) have shown a noticeable number of severe symptoms of poisoning after eating grapes: stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases there was even kidney failure.

When analyzing the data, researchers found strange poisoning in 19 dogs (ten in the US and nine in the UK). All dogs had eaten different amounts of grapes or raisins - delicacies that would actually be classified as harmless. The grapes belonged to different varieties and were not excessively contaminated with sprays, other chemicals or heavy metals.

The symptoms of the dogs were the same: a few hours after eating the fruit, the animals vomited and lost their appetite. Diarrhea and abdominal pain develop in some dogs. After 24 hours, the most severely affected dogs showed symptoms of kidney failure. They became very calm to lethargic and could not urinate or urinate very little. During blood tests, the treating veterinarians found that the kidney values ​​were dramatically increased and that the patient was hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood). Of the ten American dogs, only five survived.

It is currently not known which ingredient in the grape causes the poisoning. The dose that turns grape consumption into poison for the dog is also not yet known. The American researchers estimate that the equivalent of 116g of grapes per kilogram of dog's body weight can lead to symptoms of poisoning (i.e. around 232g of grapes for a 20kg dog). In the UK, scientists determine that around 14g raisins / kg dog resulted in a death in a Labrador Retriever. With raisins, a much smaller amount is enough to cause severe symptoms of intoxication.

If you suspect grape poisoning, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent kidney failure. The poison in the intestine can possibly be bound with activated charcoal. In the case of severe poisoning, the dog should be hospitalized by the veterinarian and given infusions for at least 48 hours while monitoring the blood values.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked and dried)

Onions, garlic, chives and other plants of the Allium plant genus contain N-propydisulfide, which is poisonous for dogs and cats. These are sulfur compounds that destroy the vital red blood cells (erythroytes) (= hemolysis). Symptoms of this hemolysis are pale mucous membranes, anemia (anemia), forced breathing and shortness of breath, tremors and a flat pulse. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur. The urine turns reddish brown as the erythrocytes are destroyed.

Even a medium-sized onion can seriously damage a small dog or cat. Treatment can only be given symptomatically.

As a rule, cats are not into the taste of onions, garlic, etc. - but in an "emergency" it can happen that chives are used as grass or cat grass.

Another dangerous food for our four-legged friends is raw pork - including wild boar! Here, however, the danger is not due to poisoning, but rather to a virus: Raw pork can be infected with the Aujeszky virus, which is generally harmless to pigs and humans, but it can cause dangerous Aujeszky disease in our dogs and cats can that ends fatally.

The animals become infected by eating raw or undercooked pork. The course of the disease is usually acute. In the beginning, infected dogs and cats usually only show changed behavior - appear restless and aggressive. Or it shows exactly the opposite behavior and the animals become noticeably limp and lackluster.

As the disease progresses, vomiting, diarrhea and profuse salivation occur. The pulse is extremely fast, and in some cases a fever occurs.

A particularly characteristic symptom of Aujeszky's disease is pronounced itching, especially on the ears and nose

In the final stages of the disease, neurological disorders such as paralysis and cramps appear.

Since there is no treatment option, the affected animals die within a few days. Since the initial symptoms in particular are similar to those of rabies, the viral infection is also known as "pseudo-rabies".

In general: If you suspect poisoning, go to the vet immediately!

Initially, you can prevent the worst through targeted vomiting, later, depending on the poison, toxin binders in the intestine can become effective.

In any case, symptomatic treatment must be given.

(Article by Dr. Anja Hesse in the magazine "Leben mit Tiere, Issue 4/2016")