14 Common Foods that Can Kill Your Pet

14 Common Foods that Can Kill Your Pet
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Lots of people have pets and they treat them as an integral part of their family, but while there are foods that are safe and delicious for us, they might be dangerous for our pets. Some of them may just cause a stomach upset, but some of them can be fatal. Below you will find a list of common people foods to avoid feeding your pets. While no matter how cautious you are, your pet may still eat something it shouldn’t. If you suspect your pet has a food poisoning, contact your local vet or the closest emergency clinic.

Find here the top common foods to avoid feeding your pet:

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is used by diabetics and others who suffer from blood sugar issues. It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. It is added to some chewing gums, candies, baked goods and other oral care products such as toothpastes to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.

Although it is considered harmless for humans, don’t leave xylitol out around your pets as even small amounts can be fatal for dogs. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination, while advanced signs include low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and death.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can be found in many food items such as coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, sodas and energy drinks. If caffeine is consumed in large amounts, it can cause dogs and cats seizures, tremors, rapid heart bit and breathing and restlessness.

3. Chocolate

Many people love chocolate, and I’ve written in the past about the health benefits of dark chocolate, but chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats, and dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate due to its higher levels of cocoa. When chocolate is consumed by pets, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, abnormal heartbeats, seizures, kidney failure and death. The toxic effect of this substance depends on the weight of the pet, so little pets are at higher risk, and in the amount of cocoa in the product.

4. Grapes & Raisins

It is unknown why grapes and raisins can cause health problems in some animals, but ingesting them can cause kidney failure which can be life threatening. It is best to avoid them completely.

5. Alcohol

Ingesting even a small amount of alcohol can cause dogs various problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, decreased coordination and even death, depending of the amount of alcohol consumed. It can affect the liver and brain in same way it affects humans. The smaller the dog, the greater the effect.

6. Onions and Garlic

People have been using garlic as a medicinal herb for a very long time, but eating high amounts of garlic and onions, raw, powdered or cooked, can cause dogs and cats gastrointestinal problem that can cause life-threatening anemia and damage to red blood cells. Cats are more at risk but it can also affect dogs if large amount is consumed.

7. Nuts, especially Macadamia nuts

While eating nuts is good for us, most nuts are bad for dogs, especially Macadamia nuts. Eating macadamia nuts, or products containing them. They can cause your dog vomiting, tremors, weakness and high body temperature. Other nuts are not easily digested and can give your dog an upset stomach.

8. Avocados, persimmons, peaches and plums

Eating large amounts of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The seeds from persimmons can affect the intestines, and the pits from peach and plum contain cyanide which is toxic for both humans and dogs.

9. Yeast Dough

When you bake bread, the dough needs to rise. Ingesting yeast dough can affect your pet’s digestive system and cause excess gas and abdominal pain. Also when the yeast ferments, it produces alcohol which is also bad for dogs. After the dough is cooked and you have a bread, pets can have small pieces of bread as treats.

10. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Fish and Eggs

This may be a controversial recommendation: according to webMD website, raw meat, fish and eggs may cause food poisoning to pets due to bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Raw eggs also contain an enzyme which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Also some raw fish can contain a parasite that can cause your pet vomiting, fever and big lymph nodes and can even be fatal for them. I know that many people feed their pets with these kinds of foods and wild dogs and cats don’t cook their raw meet before eating it, but I guess this recommendation is more for domestic rather than wild dog or cat. In any case, I got a lot of comments from people who feed their pets with raw meet. This is your choice, however you need to be aware of the risks, and if you choose to feed your pet with raw meat, you can reduce the risks by:

  • Purchasing meat from a trusted source.
  • Using the meat immediately, or freezing it in individual serving-sized packets for future use.
  • Using safe food handling techniques (clean and sterilize all equipment).

11. Fat Trimmings and Bones

Another controversial recommendation from webMD website relates to the remains of your foods that may include meat fat and bones. Fat trimmed from meat, whether cooked or uncooked, can cause inflammation of the pancreas in dogs. Bones are dangerous for pets as they can cause your pet to choke on it, and sharp parts of them can injure the digestive tract. However I got a lot of comments from people who choose to feed their pets with the above foods. In any case, this is your choice as this is your pet, but you should be aware of the recommendation.

12. Milk and dairy products

Dairy products can cause upset stomach and diarrhea for pets because they don’t have a large amount of the enzyme lactase which breaks down lactose in dairy products.

13. Salt

Eating large amounts of salt can cause poisoning in pets. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, high body temperature and even death.

14. Sugar

Sugar is not toxic but too much sugar can affect pets as it affects humans, and can lead to dental problems, behavioral issues, obesity and even diabetes.

What about spoiled food?

This is an old argument. Some people argue that it is OK to feed your pet food that has “gone bad.”  They claim that dogs/cats eat dead and spoiled things in the wild.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, spoiled food is not a good choice for our pets. It may have bacterial contamination (salmonella, e. coli) which can be life threatening. Dogs/cats in the wild may not have a choice on what to eat, but yours do.

Feeding your pet the right food and keeping an eye for unusual symptoms that may indicate a food poisoning will enable you and your pet to enjoy each other’s company for many years to come.

If your per suffers from fleas, you may want to refer to my article how to naturally get rid of fleas from your home, garden and pets:

How to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home, Garden and Pets

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42 Responses to 14 Common Foods that Can Kill Your Pet

  1. The amounts of chocolate that can kill a pet are sometiems really small as well; I’m talking about under less than 100g of chocolate for smaller sized dogs.

    • Randi Thornton says:

      CHOCOLATE BEING TOXIC FOR DOGS IS A MYTH!! ITS NOT TRUE!!! my black lab had chocolate all the time and he lived a long healthy life!

      • Jenny says:

        I can’t argue with you, but in all the places I’ve researched they strongly don’t recommend to give chocolate to dogs. You can feel free to feed your dog with chocolate but it’s on your own risk.

      • J. says:

        Cocoa is very toxic for dogs, this is no myth. Chocolate is made from cocoa and may have high or low contents of it. The more it contains the more likely there will be an adverse reaction. The size of the dog also makes a difference–a larger dog is less likely to have a reaction than a smaller dog.

        Cocoa contains both caffeine and theobromine. It can cause elevated heart rate, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, fevor, muscle spasms, even seizures. I have seen in person a dog have a horrible reaction to chocolate, thankfully it did survive but it was a horrible experience for all involved.

        Some dogs do have a higher tolerance for chocolate than others. Your dog may have been one of these exceptions, or it may have be the chocolate you gave was lower in cocoa content (such as milk chocolate) or a combination of factors.

      • Y.N. says:

        I had a lab that ate a whole cookie sheet of choc. chip cookies & it had no effect on him, I heard somewhere that its dangerous IF its ALOT of DARK CHOCOLATE. But can not remember where I heard that.

      • ashok says:

        our dog lived for 17 years and ate at least 10 chocolate every day
        It was his favourite

      • kelley Fecteau says:

        Dark chocolate is deadly…your dog probably had milk chocolate…..

      • Katherine says:

        Excuse me.
        Its true that chocolate is bad for dogs.
        My friends decided to give her dog one single square of milk chocolate,

        And a few hours later,
        The dog had to be rushed to the vet,
        And sadly passed away!

        all because it had one single square of chocolate!

        It was a really happy and fit dog too.

    • lori says:

      My English mastiff gets the ham bones, pork bones and brisket fat when ever we cook nothing had happened to her she’s been eating this since she was ten weeks old and she is a very healthy 175lb 6 year old girl

    • Jessica says:

      My vet told us that our dog (a Dalmatian) would have to eat a whole brownie size pan of dark chocolate for problems to arise. It really comes down to size of the pet and amount of Cocoa ingested.

      • kim says:

        Yes caffeine isn’t good for animals. The big problem is large amounts to an animal that has never had it before. My cat steals my tea if I leave it unattended. I have a dog and because I have kids I made sure that I introduced my dog to chocolate. I started with a single chipit once a week for about 2 months now it’s about 5 chipits worth of chocolate a week.

  2. Simon says:

    Fat and Bones ? Eh ? So a hunting dog would avoid these parts on a fresh kill ? I think your advice here is a bit off the mark. maybe for highly sensitised town lap dogs but any normal fit dog consumes bones and fat along with all the rest as core part of its diet both in the wild and as a pet. To suggest otherwise is very surprising. Husky’s and other working dogs will often be fed on raw carcasses which they will consume entire. Boned, skin, organs and all.

    • Jenny says:

      The recommendation applies to domestic dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis in dogs, and there were cases of dogs choking on bones, or bone splinters damaging the digestive system.

    • Rhonda says:

      I don’t agree with the fat or bones except for chicken bones. My grandpa said never feed them chicken bones at all….

  3. Christine Giuda says:

    Then why are there pet foods that specifically have avocados in them. As well, my ShihTzu since I started adding Greek yogurt to his homemade food is regrowing hair on his chest and under arm area. He also doesn’t have the yeast smell anymore.

  4. My westie poo refuses to eat any kind of dog food and is now refusing all food what’s wrong?!

    • Jenny says:

      I don’t know. I think you should consult with your vet.

    • Randi Thornton says:

      Don’t waste your money on the vet my grandmas dog did the same thing try hand feeding him if he don’t eat it just leave it in his bowl and let him know its there dogs WILL NOT starve themselves I promise!

  5. Mary Bissell says:

    Thanks for the list! I have a question- does “nuts” include peanuts? They’re in some dog treats. Garlic is in some dog food, too, but I already knew to avoid that one. I’ve seen dog treats that are made to resemble chocolate desserts. I think that’s such a bad idea.

    • Jenny says:

      I’ve seen references in several places that you can give peanuts to dogs. This is a surprise given that a lot of the nuts are quite dangerous for the dogs, but actually peanuts are not nuts. They belong to the legume family. Peanuts aren’t necessarily toxic but that have been linked to health problems in pets. Just like humans, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to peanuts. For those dogs, eating peanuts can be very dangerous. Also peanuts contain a small amount of oxalates, which can cause problems for the dogs having untreated kidney or gall bladder problems. Read this article to get more in depth information – http://bunkblog.net/foods-safe-for-dogs/can-dogs-eat-peanuts

  6. Randi Thornton says:

    This is a load of crap. I gave my black lab chocolate all the time and he lived 19+ years!!! Cats can have milk I gave my cat milk when he was a kitten and he’s as healthy as a horse!! Raw beef is good for a cats teeth and fur! Also I gave my black lab bones (no chicken bones) and he lived a happy and healthy life! Whoever wrote this needs to get their facts straight!!!

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Randi, I cannot argue with what you are telling me about your pets, and there will always be people who feed their pets with all sorts of things and their pets still live long life, but I’ve done a thorough research and stand behind what I’ve written. You can give your pets whatever you want to eat, but it’s on your own risk.

  7. tina says:

    Any info about almonds? Our blue heeler (1yr old) loves almonds. However he only gets 5 or 6 and is an outside/working dog. Thanks!

    • Jenny says:

      While not toxic, almonds are not easily digested and can give your dog an upset stomach and create gastric intestinal distress. Just make sure your dog doesn’t eat a lot of them.

      • Chandra says:

        I’m sorry but I have to disagree with almonds being bad for dog or my boss that has been working with animals for 42 years wouldn’t have let me give the dogs at the shelter them just saying

  8. Annelize Bender says:

    Our labrador gets garlic capsules every day. She has not ever had ticks or fleas and has n healthy shiny coat.

  9. Christine Giuda says:

    Then why is there a dog food out there that contains avocados. Also I make my own dog food and he gets a scoop of greek yogurt mixed in his food. It has decreased the yeast infections in his ears and on his skin. On occasion he gets chopped avocado on his food as well. Neither has ever caused him any problem, not even a change in his stool.
    He is an 11 yo ShihTzu.

  10. Patti says:

    Our dog ate a whole box of chocolates and she was just fine, a little diarrhea but that was it.

  11. Haime says:

    Help me, my dog won’t eat or drink water. He’s not excited for life he used to, simple walk, me or any family member walking in the house, no bark, wag tail, he won’t come to bed. We took him to the vet, the vet doesn’t know what’s going on. What can I do to give him his life back? He’s only 4 years old. Help please.

  12. Amezin says:

    I don’t believe in some of the recommendation. My dogs used to eat garlic meat and rice and they never been sick and lived pass 15 years. The garlic kept the fleas away as well.

  13. Urooj Shams says:

    I used to feed my cat on raw chicken & liver,and he died of diarrhea when five months old .

  14. T. Myong says:

    Is it safe to feed dog with soyabean product and cooked rice? Please reply!

    • Jenny says:

      I have seen many references in the web that cooked rice is fine for dogs. As for soybean – many soybean products are genetically modified, and I’ve also seen references that soy is known as a big culprit in dog food allergies, so I would be more careful about it.

  15. sara says:

    My cat, Kit, loves string cheese. I never give her a lot but she can still handle it. Just saying

  16. Arlene says:

    Any vet we have ever had said DONOT give a dog chocolate. It isn’t good for humans or dogs,

  17. Donna says:

    My beagle has been known to eat many things and nothing ever bothered him until he ate an entire cooked loaf of sourdough bread he removed from the kitchen counter. We had to rush him to the Vet to have them induce vomiting, since then we have had to work hard to find foods he could eat. We can no longer give him food or treats that have grains, gluten or anything of that sort in them, as he kept throwing them up. Even the Vet’s office wasn’t sure what to do, so I just started reading labels and cutting out the flours/grains and gluten until we found what works. It’s been a long road but we’ve finally got him food and treats without all the stuff in them that he can eat. This is a dog who has eaten chocolate, grapes, foil, and many other things but nothing got him like this. Maybe this info will help someone else and let them know there is home for their pups if they do something like this.

  18. Kris B. says:

    My Shihtzu loves nuts. It is her favorite treat. I don’t give her many but she does love them.

  19. Ellen R. says:

    I think good common sense should be used when feeding dogs human foods. Just like humans there are some foods they can tolerate and some they cannot. They also have allergies just the same as humans do. Each dog is different. I noticed the dogs wh ate chocolate in these comments and had no problems were larger dogs. The ones who were rushed to the vet were smaller breeds. Milk chocolate is not going to be as harmful as darker chocolates. There are some nuts that most dogs can eat. My Pekingese throws up almonds and we almost lost here when she had a couple bits of a cookie with almond extract in it. It too 3 or 4 days for her to get over it. She loves bananas, but our Pit spits them out. Most dairy products are not good for animals, but yogurt goes through a chemical change when it changes into yogurt. Even most humans who cannot tolerate milk products can eat yogurt.

  20. Maria Grafton says:

    I say, why take a chance on feeding things that are on the list. A dog does NOT need chocolate! There are plenty of safe and healthy treats out there for dogs! My old dog that we had years ago needed medicine on his food to digest it. So he did not get much else than his own food. If anything he got bites of cooked roast or beef cubes. We did have the knowledge about chocolate being bad for him. I do remember sharing grapes with him occasionally. But they were few and far between. Back then (he lived to be 15 1/2 and passed away 14 years ago) we did not have all of the info out there like it is today. But I now have a Lab and this time around, I look up things all of the time. Even down to giving him fruit, I double checked first before I shared my banana with him, and so on… So I became aware early on of the do’s and don’ts of human foods. I would rather be safer than sorry when it comes to my babies.

  21. Chandra says:

    Also dog food if not natural is bad for dogs and cats but everyone besides me and other smart people that actually care what mess they feed there dogs and cats is feeding there dogs and cats that nasty crap

  22. Melissa says:

    Near as I can figure, fully cooked onions and garlic have no effect on a dog, HOWEVER I lost my 6 month puppy because he was sneaking onions from my farm market’s take home basket out the back door…

  23. Adrian says:

    My kitten Squeaky, was abandoned at 1 week. He was plump and full when I took him in. I was giving him kitty milk for a two weeks. One particular day, I fed him, and he went and laid down (he has always been rambunctious from day one), then I fixed me a plate (Northern white beans, smoked neck bones, and cornbread) and came to my room to eat, and he came galloping from the crack of the pillows where he sleeps, all bug eyed and licking his lips. I was shocked. I decided that maybe it’s time to feed him the solid kitten food, so I opened the can and placed it in front of him…he swiftly sniffed it then came over to me trying to get at my soul food. I was floored, cause he was serious so, I let him sniff it then he licked the side of the dish with resin, and he wanted more (but I didn’t give him more). My step grandmother (rest her soul) fed her cat fresh raw tuna ever single day, I watched her flake it up with a paring knife, and he lived for a mighty long time, but I’ve tried every canned cat food and all but the kitten food gives him severe diarrhea…I just put him back on the kitten food. There are only 2 kinds Turkey and whitefish…and he does not like the whitefish. He will eat kitten turkey from now on. I just worried because he won’t drink water.

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