Sun, Feb 06, 2011 - Page 9 News List

Healthy Lunar New Year holiday eating tips for pets: Foods to avoid feeding your dogs and cats (Part One)
過年圍爐,加菜小心! 可以餵家中寵物人吃的食物嗎?(一)

Compiled and translated by Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times 台北時報林亞蒂彙整編譯

Photo: Amber Chang, Taipei Times

As people celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, no New Year’s Eve family reunion would be complete without traditional dishes, such as glutinous rice cake, Buddha Jumps Over the Wall stew, “laba” rice porridge, mullet roe, scallop, abalone, daylily, tufted hairgrass, and others. These tasty dishes are tempting but may be high in calories and fat, and most importantly, they may not be sui-table for your four-legged family members.,


According to an article titled “Can I feed my pets human foods?” written by Taipei City Animal Protection Office Director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) and published in the first issue of Pet, Vet & Me in December last year, Yen gives a list of foods, based on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) recommendations, that are fine for humans but can pose great health risks to our canine and feline friends. The list includes caffeine, alcohol, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, yeast dough, raw or undercooked meat, eggs, bones, xylitol, onions, garlic, chives, milk, salt, and others. If you find your pets ingesting these foods, please record the amount swallowed and contact a veterinarian for medical treatment.


The article lists 11 categories of foods that pet owners should avoid feeding their pets.


1. Chocolate, coffee, caffeine


Chocolate, coffee, and other caffeinated pro-ducts contain methylxanthine, which is derived from cacao beans. Methylxanthines can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, excitement, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, convulsions, epilepsy, and other symptoms in pets. One hundred percent pure dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. According to statistics compiled abroad, most cases of chocolate poisoning happen during holiday seasons, or a few days later, as that is when chocolate happens to be around more. As a result, chocolates may be sneaked and eaten by pets or fed to the pets by their owners who may not be aware that chocolates can poison their pets. The purer a chocolate is, the more poisonous it is to your pets. For every kilogram a dog weighs, only 100mg to 200mg of caffeine or theobromine can be lethal. If your pets get chocolate poisoning, you should induce vomiting and seek veterinary treatment immediately.


2. Alcohol 酒精

Some pet owners may think it is fun to watch pets get drunk by giving them alcoholic drinks. In fact, this is a kind of animal cruelty, since the body structures of dogs and cats are different from that of humans. Pet owners should never give alcohol to their pets because their tiny bodies can’t handle the alcohol in the same way humans can. Alcohol poisoning in pets can lead to liver failure or even death. Even small amounts of alcohol should be avoided.

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