A new survey from Webbox has suggests that over 7 million (60 percent) pet owners in the UK are giving their companions human foods that are toxic when consumed by dogs and cats.
The research, commissioned by pet food manufacturer Webbox, suggested that 1.4 million pet owners could be feeding their cats milk or cream as a treat.
Cats are often lactose intolerant, therefore strong dairy products such as milk and cream should always be avoided, otherwise it can result in gastrointestinal upset. If a cat goes crazy for cream, pet friendly alternatives can be purchased to ensure their safety.
Chocolate is a popular toxic treat. One in five of the 965 UK pet owners surveyed admitted feeding their dogs the snack. Chocolate contains theobromine, an ingredient that has high levels of toxicity when consumed by dogs.
Owners should always resist the urge to feed their pets foods that they find tasty. Fruits such as grapes and raisins, can be fatal if consumed in large quantities.
Alison Price, BVetMed BSc (Hons) MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon, said: “Grape and raisin toxicity can cause acute kidney injury and renal failure in dogs and cats. If your pet has ingested even small amounts of grapes or raisins please contact your veterinary surgeon immediately.”
Jennifer Dean, Nutritionist for Webbox, added: “Pets are increasingly treated as members of the family, but this does not mean that they can share the family meals.
“Owners need to be aware that some common human foods are toxic to pets, and even those that are not poisonous can cause harm in terms of providing extra calories that lead to weight gain and obesity.
“Pet food is specially designed to provide all of the nutrients they need, and there are a large variety of pet treats available. So instead of sharing your dinner with your pet, why not give them their dinner at the same time, or give them a healthy treat?”
Webbox have created “Purrfect Treat or Barking Mad”, an online quiz that provides pet owners with vet-approved advice on what foods they can give their pets and what foods should always be avoided.
To take part in “Purrfect Treat or Baking Mad?”, please visit https://www.webbox.co.uk/