Please welcome our special guest blogger, Adrienne Carlson from over at Veterinarian Technician Schools Online. Her blog is full of informative, thorough information for pet owners, and I encourage you to check it out. Today she helps us become aware of foods that may not be healthy for our pets.

Adrienne, take it away…!

25 Common Foods That Can Be Toxic for Your Pet

Your pet’s health is fragile. Sure, pets were once wild animals, but don’t forget that your pet isn’t the same as a human. Although it may think otherwise.

Knowing what can harm your pet is the first step in illness and disease prevention. By avoiding harmful substances and foods, your pet will live a longer, healthier life, and your wallet will thank you too for avoiding veterinary bills that could have been prevented with a little caution and care. These 25 common household foods can be lethal to your furry or feathered buddy. Many of these examples are foods that a typical pet owner would never think twice about giving their dog, cat, hamster or bird, but your pets can suffer greatly from things we humans love to eat on a regular basis. As a pet owner, your best bet is to stick with veterinary approved foods specifically made for your pet.

1. Fatty Meats like Ham – Fatty and greasy meats that people eat like ham or beef can seriously damage a dog’s pancreas and cause pancreatitis. Actually a high fat diet of anything is very bad for dogs and can lead to this serious and costly illness. Most dogs will recover from severe pancreatitis, but other complications can develop like diabetes. Avoid giving your pooch table scraps no matter how sad their eyes may be.

2. Walnuts – Walnuts and their hulls are particularly poisonous to dogs and horses. Even laying on black walnuts can cause respiratory distress, stomach upset and laminitis, or the inability to move around. Dogs are more susceptible to black walnut poisoning after ingesting the hulls or shells of the nut. Dogs poisoned by walnuts will often vomit and have diarrhea.

3. Coffee and Espresso Beans – Coffee and espresso beans, as well as the grounds of both, can have strong side effects on dogs if ingested because of the caffeine in the beans. Dogs can experience excessive hyperactivity, restlessness, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, seizures and tremors. Too much caffeine can also be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has eaten coffee beans or coffee grounds, look for signs of vomiting or diarrhea.

4. Teas and Sodas – Teas and sodas are also bad for dogs because of the caffeine in them. Don’t let your dog eat the tea leaves either.

5. Salt – Salt can seriously dehydrate dogs and cause gastrointestinal irritation. Depending on how much salt a dog ingests, the symptoms may be more or less severe. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, excessive thirst, sluggishness and disorientation.

6. Potato, Tomato and Rhubarb Leaves, Vines and Stems – The leaves, stems and other green parts of these roots and vegetables are highly toxic to most pets including birds. The leaves, stems and vines of these plants contain oxalates, which can harm the digestive, nervous and urinary tract. Symptoms of oxalate toxicity are dilated pupils, heart arrhythmias, irregular heart beat and tremors.

7. Liver – A diet of too much liver can lead to vitamin A toxicity. Liver flavored pet food and treats are fine to give to your furry friends though.

8. Peaches – Peach pits contain small amounts of cyanide that can be toxic to all pets.

9. Pears – Pear cores also contain trace amounts of cyanide. Avoid giving your pets pears, peaches and plums.

10. Plums – Another pit that contains trace amounts of cyanide. These revelations may almost makes you want to give up the fruits yourself, but the cyanide levels contained in plums, peaches and pears are not harmful to humans.

11. Fruit Pits like Cherry Pits or Apricot Pits and Apple Cores – Other fruit pits and cores like the kinds from cherries, apricots and apples also contain cyanide which is harmful to pets of all kinds. The fruit of apples are fine to give to pets, but be sure to core the fruit thoroughly first.

12. Broccoli – In large amounts, broccoli can possibly be bad for pets. Gastrointestinal upset is common in livestock that are fed broccoli in excess of 10 to 25 percent of the animal’s diet. The same could be true for pets like dogs and cats, but since most people do not give their pets a diet consisting of 25 percent broccoli, the same conditions have not been recorded in great detail. Broccoli contains isothiocyanate, the tummy upset culprit. To be on the safe side, don’t give your pets the green stuff.

13. Milk or Dairy Products – Just like humans, pets especially dogs can be lactose intolerant. Some cats and dogs will be able to digest dairy products with no problem, while others will get bad stomach aches. The ability to digest dairy products depends on a person or pet’s ability to produce an enzyme called lactase, which is used in the break down of lactose. Giving your pet a lick of your ice cream cone won’t kill it, but if your pet happens to be lactose intolerant you may be responsible for your pet’s tummy ache later.

14. Tuna – Tuna seems like a natural choice to give your feline friend, but it can be toxic. Feeding a cat too much canned tuna can result in Steatitis or yellow fat disease, a painful inflammatory condition caused by a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids. Feeding your cat excessive amounts of canned or packaged tuna can also lead to mercury poisoning.

There are others foods on the list, such as chocolate, chicken bones and raisins. For the complete list of 25 foods, please visit Veterinary Technician Schools Online.

For more information on pet health and toxicity, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center .