Many people who have pets know that many common human foods are dangerous for their animals. Did you know that pets like dogs and cats can be at risk from eating anything that has mold on it?
Which mouldy foods are harmful to my dog or cat?
Toxins known as tremorgenic mycotoxins may be present in compost and other organic materials that have been exposed to mold.
Molds produce these toxins and can be found in a wide variety of spoiled foods and organic materials, including moldy cheese, blue cheese, other spoiled dairy products, moldy bread, moldy fallen fruits and nuts, food waste, and rubbish.
Tremorgenic mycotoxins are of particular concern for dogs that dig through trash cans or dumpsters in search of scraps to eat.
Curios pets, such as dogs and cats, can get into trouble when they investigate garbage, compost, silage, or even just a few dropped apples or walnuts.
Aflatoxin is another type of toxin that can be produced by mold. Aspergillus molds, which can grow on plants or plant products, are the source of aflatoxins.
Moldy maize, nuts like peanuts (groundnuts), and barley are common places to find aflatoxins. Foods contaminated with aflatoxin pose a risk to dogs.
In the United Kingdom, tremorgenic mycotoxins are far more common than aflatoxins when it comes to pet poisoning.
Pets should avoid eating any moldy food or plant material because it could be extremely harmful to their health.
What signs would I see if my dog or cat has eaten mouldy food or plants?
Animals can become ill rapidly, usually within an hour, if they consume moldy food or plant material containing tremorgenic mycotoxins.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shakiness, agitation, hyperactivity, a high core temperature, and heavy breathing.
Convulsions can occur in extreme circumstances. There have been reported deaths in cats and dogs, and the effects could last for days. It’s critical to get veterinary care right away. Better results are likely if treatment begins immediately.
It is difficult to determine the level of mycotoxins in mouldy foods without conducting specialized laboratory testing.
So, even if your pet eats a tiny bit of moldy food or if the food only looks slightly moldy to you, it could still make them sick.
The symptoms brought on by aflatoxins are distinct from those brought on by tremorgenic mycotoxins. Their primary effect is liver damage, and symptoms may not appear for several days after eating food contaminated with aflatoxin.
Jaundice (a yellowing of the mucous membranes, skin, and whites of the eyes) is another possible symptom. Ingestion of aflatoxin can cause fatal liver damage in dogs.
Seek emergency veterinary care if your pet gets into moldy food or plant material or rummages through the trash. Get your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic ASAP if you notice any symptoms.
Animal PoisonLine’s top tips about mouldy food:
Never give your dog stale or moldy food.
Throw away spoiled food as soon as possible.
Keep used trash bags out of the reach of children and pets, and close trash can lids tightly.
Keep pets out of compost bins. Think about investing in a reliable compost bin.
Never induce vomiting at home if you suspect your pet has ingested a poison; doing so could have disastrous consequences.