Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats

Some foods that may sound healthy and delicious to you, could actually be dangerous for your pets. The nutrition experts at The Humane Society of the United States have put together a list of the top foods that are poisonous for dogs and cats and why they’re poisonous. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. Affiliate Disclosure


Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats

We’ll go over each of the foods that are poisonous for dogs and cats in this article, plus you can receive a printable list to keep and share with fellow pet lovers.

fresh dog food deliveredChocolate and Caffeine.  Sadly, I have personal experience with this one.  When I was a teenager, my boyfriend bought me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  Our poodle, Pepi, found it while we were out and ate a LOT of it.  He vomited a large amount back up, but after that he was never right.  It wasn’t long after that he first went blind, then developed severe kidney disease.

We ended up having to put him down.  I don’t know for sure that eating the chocolate was the sole cause, but I’m guessing it certainly could’ve been.  It was until years after that I learned about chocolate being toxic for dogs.  Had I known that when I was a teenager, I could likely have prevented this tragedy. 🙁

Ingesting these products can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.

Alcohol.  I think anyone who gives alcohol to a dog or cat is a complete idiot.  Honestly, it’s infuriating.  Why anyone would think this is funny is beyond me.  Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Not funny!

Avocado.  I just found this one out recently.  I know I’ve given my dachshund avocado in the past.  Thank God I now know better! Turns out, the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Eating avocado may even be fatal for some dogs and cats.

Macadamia Nuts.  Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies, and can cause problems for dogs. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. This is a tricky one because it could be in something and you don’t know it.  Seems the easiest way to avoid the ingestion of macadamia nuts is to avoid any baked goods.

Grapes & Raisins.  Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure.

Yeast Dough.  Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

Foods That are Poisonous for Dogs and CatsFoods That are Poisonous for Dogs and CatsRaw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones.  Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems.

Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

Xylitol.  Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Onions, Garlic, Chives.  These can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and CatsMilk.  Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset. Yes, this is true of cats too.  Do they like it? Yes. Do they lap it up? Yes.  Does it likely make them sick?  Yes!  The make milk alternatives for kitties…try those instead. You can purchase a popular one HERE.

Salt.  Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Don’t share the potato chips with the dog!

Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and CatsFor More Information

For more information on keeping your pet safe from consuming harmful foods, see How to Keep the Dog Out of The GarbageAnd please, if you have any additional information, you’d like to share that could be helpful to prevent our beloved pets from getting sick, please comment below!  Debra

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Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats

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8 thoughts on “Foods That Are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats”

  1. You are truly gifted – It is clear to see your passion for caring for animals is authentic. Your info was excellently presented. I enjoyed that you stated your source in the first paragraph and it was likely the most credible source- the Humane Society. Homerun! Then you your youtube thumbnail was captivating and shocking having a husky putting it jaws on the head of a cat… wow that must convert really well to get viewership. I am most impressed by how you then immediately go into a bullet point list, right upfront.  I love that the actual “word content” comes after scrolling down. From the first 2 seconds of viewing your article you masterfully summarize your article. It reminds me of reading “cliff’s notes” in high school. I was always thankful when they cut to the chase.  Then I was enamored by your left sidebar. Wow do you really maximize that real estate! The navigation is clear and concise and then the invites to your Youtube channel right at top and then scroll down to just the right amount of banner ads/ options for me to click all day.   I know this comment is more of a review but I just couldn’t help but try to encourage you as to such a great job you are doing!  As a fellow business owner – I LOVE your website and give it 5 out of 5 stars.  How did you get that pop up to work in the bottom left corner asking people to give via Paypal?  Is that a paypal plug in?   

    1. Wow, Allan, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!  You’ve really made my day!  I’ve been working on this website since 2015 and I’m so very proud of it.  I give 10% of my commissions to animal charities – I love that my website helps animals.  The pop-up for donations is a plugin called Boxilla.  🙂  Thanks again!  Debra

  2. hellooo dear, wow what ana amzing post you have here, i believe these post really is a life saver, i cant help but say i have been feeding my cat the wrong foood the hole time, oh my gsh, i already saved these post so as to come back for future referencing, i a really gratefull with such an amazing post you have shared with us so far, your site really is full of such an amazing post, i must say i have been saving each of your pages to learn alt from these article, it really has been an interesting content, cant wait to show my fiends, ill surely share your contents on my social media pag

  3. hello dear,

    I must say that I’m so lucky to stumble upon such an intriguing and informative post on foods that are poisonous for dogs and cats.. as a dog owner I really do take any information relating to the welfare of my dog so serious as I wouldn’t like anything to happen to him, reading this your article is indeed a fact I would never say i didnt appreciate…

    thanks for sharing such an awesome tips.. I look forward to sharing it

  4. I didn’t know about garlic, onions, grapes and avocados until someone told me yesterday. Thanks for confirming these. My puppy will be healthier for longer. Thank you.

  5. i had my cat die of onion not to long ago his name was wimpy he loved the tomato sauce in a ravioli can but we dident know it had onions in it
    he was my good boy his sister never ate anything harmful to her though so she is safe

    1. Hi Lexy, I’m so sorry about Wimpy. I was well into my 40’s before I realized there were foods that were poisonous for dogs and cats. I wish I would’ve known sooner. But the good news is we know now – and we can share the information with others. Debra

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