A Comprehensive Guide of Toxic Pet Foods

19 May 2022

How many times did your mother scold you for feeding your pet from the table?...

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How many times did your mother scold you for feeding your pet from the table? Offering a pet “people food” isn’t just about promoting bad pet manners, in some cases, it can actually be a matter of life and death. So here is a guide to the toxic pet foods you should never allow your pets to get a hold of. Read more about all dog toxins.

The three Cs of toxic pet foods

No matter what type of pet you have, never allow them to have access to chocolate, coffee or caffeine. These three “Big Cs” contain something known as methylxanthines, a component of the cacao seed. This chemical causes everything from vomiting and diarrhea, to excessive thirst, to seizures and even death. So always be aware of the three Cs of toxic pet foods.


Pets should never be given alcoholic beverages or food that contains alcohol. Young people sometimes find it amusing to give alcohol to animals, but it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems, tremors, coma, and in some cases, death.


We often see Avocados as a superfood, but for a pet’s diet they are anything but super. Every part of an avocado – from the leaves of the tree –  to the fruit itself contains a substance called Persin that is poisonous to dogs, birds, and rodents. Persin causes breathing difficulties, can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, and often results in death.


All grapes, including raisins, can lead to irreversible and, in many cases, kidney failure in canines. Even a single grape or raisin can be extremely poisonous. If a dog ingests a grape and begins to vomit, he should be taken to an emergency vet as soon as possible.

toxic pet foods

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are another extremely poisonous food for dogs. Just a few can lead to serious illness or even death. If a dog eats of a macadamia nut, watch for tremors, vomiting, elevated heart rate and paralysis in the hind legs. A dog that has ingested a macadamia nut should be taken immediately to an emergency veterinary facility.

Yeast dough

Anyone who has ever made bread knows that yeast expands, causing the bread to rise. The same thing can happen in the digestive tract of a pet, and in small animals, that expansion can cause internal organs to rupture. Pets can safely eat fully cooked yeast products, but should steer clear of the dough.

Pitted fruits

Humans know not to eat seeds and pits, but animals do not. Pits are a choking hazard and can lead to intestinal obstruction. Never allow a pet to ingest a peach pit, plum pit, or the core of an apple, as they contain cyanide. Always slice fruit before giving it to a pet, and be sure the seeds are thrown away in a trash receptacle that is not accessible to the animal.


Too much salt isn’t good for anybody, but in small animals it can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition known as sodium ion poisoning. Always keep salt out of reach of pets.

Dairy products

Dogs and cats love milk, ice cream, and even cheese, but dairy products should be avoided.  Animals are only equipped to digest the milk of their own species, and lactose intolerance can lead to severe stomach upset. For pets that love dairy, shop for specially-made pet products that provide them with the same taste as milk, without the danger.

Animal bones

Bones can be a great way for pets to pass the time, but not all bones are safe. Bones that are cooked can splinter, and small bones (like chicken bones) can be swallowed whole. Those pieces can obstruct the intestines or even cause internal lacerations.

Toxic pet foods – in case of an emergency

Pets explore their worlds through touch, smell and taste. If a food object appeals to them, they will immediately gobble it up. While some people food is perfectly safe, there are many toxic table scraps that pets should avoid.  No matter how cautious a pet owner may be, animals will find a way to get into something they should have. To be safe, keep the numbers of the animal’s primary vet, the local emergency vet, and the Animal Poison Control Center Hotline number (888-426-4435) posted on the refrigerator in case of an emergency. If you believe your pet has eaten something toxic, call for help immediately.

Written by Amber Kingsley

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