Poisonous to Dogs and Cats: Unsafe Food List

Last Modified on Jul 19, 2013

As pet owners we often like to share with our pet all of the things that we ourselves enjoy in life, including food. However, there are a couple of reasons that you should always be very careful when considering introducing special treats to your pet. The first reason is that the food you want to share may not be a particularly healthy food item and therefore you should think twice about allowing your pet to acquire a taste for something they shouldn't have. Secondly and most importantly, although you may very well enjoy a particular food yourself, it might actually be very poisonous for your pet.

The following is a list of foods that your pet should avoid as they are all poisonous to some degree.

Note: Two detoxifying formulas sent by our readers follow this list.

Alcoholic Beverages: Any type of alcohol can be poisonous to your pet and aside from intoxication, can cause a coma or even death.

Apple Seeds: Can have varied effects on pets.

Apricot Pits: Can cause respiratory difficulties such as breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Cherry Pits: Can cause respiratory difficulties such as breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Candy containing the sweetener Xylitol:Can cause liver damage and even death.

Chocolate: Although pets should never have any type of chocolate, milk chocolate is not nearly as dangerous for animals as semi-sweet or unsweetened bakers chocolate. Chocolate poisoning can cause irregular heart rate and rhythm, restlessness, hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, panting, muscle tremors, abdominal pain, bloody urine, increased body temperature, seizures, coma and possibly even death.

Coffee: Can result in increased breathing and heart rate, restlessness and affects the central nervous system.

Grapes: Large amounts of grapes can be poisonous to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage.

Hops: May cause panting, elevated temperature, increased heart rate, seizures and possibly death.

Macadamia Nuts: Can cause vomiting, lethargy, hyperthermia, abdominal pain, stiff joints, lameness and tremors.

Moldy Foods: Can have varied effects on pets including vomiting and diarrhea.

Mushrooms: Different types of mushrooms can have varied effects on pets such as, depression, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, tearing, hallucinations, defecation, liver failure, seizures, drooling, urination, kidney failure, heart damage, hyperactivity and in some cases, death.

Mustard Seeds: Can have varied effects on pets.

Onions and Onion Powder: Can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Peach Pits: Can cause respiratory difficulties such as breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Potato Leaves and Stems: Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Raisins: Large amounts of raisins can be poisonous to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage.

See Snopes Report for Confirmation: http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/raisins.asp

Rhubarb Leaves: Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Salt: In large quantities can cause electrolyte imbalances.

Tea: Can have varied effects in pets.

Tomato Leaves and Stems: Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Walnuts: Can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as respiratory issues such as sneezing, breathing and coughing.

Yeast Dough: Can be dangerous as it will expand and result in gas, pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

NOTE: If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, contact the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. This is a 24 hour a day hotline. (Note that in some cases a consultation fee may be charged to your credit card.)

by Dawn Forster for Earth Clinic, LLC

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User Reviews



Additional Foods   0  0   

Posted by Kbreck24 (Pleasant Prairie, Wi) on 07/20/2011

GARLIC as well as onions, yeast, raisins, grapes, chocolate, coffee, alcohol and macadamia nuts are EXTREMELY POISONOUS to dogs and can cause death... Paralysis in the case of macadamia nuts. Check it out on www.nationalgeographic.com under 'canine taboos'.

Posted by Sarah
Los Angeles, Ca
02/10/2012
Hi does anyone know what to do and what are the symptoms of vitamin poisoning in dogs? My 5 lb chihuahua started having neurological symptoms a small seizure and extreme disorientation at a hotel while here on vaca. We took her to ER the get thinks maybe she got some narcotic or toxin off the ground (we r in Vegas staying at hotel that hosts frequent parties) but I think my doggie got into my vitamin chews... Found dome wrappers. They were sweetened maybe w/ Erebus but no evidence of xylitol. Contained acai, zinc, b vitamins, vit c, goji... And some others. The dr refuses to believe that poisoning is from vitamins but I think it is. Does anyone know? She's at hospital tonight but want to be able to do anything I can for her... Worried the DR, even for the $1500 they are charging, is overlooking the cause. If anyone knows anything please email me at press_Sk(at)sbcglobal. Net. Thanks am praying for her- she's my everything.
Posted by Sarah
Los Angeles , Ca
02/14/2012
My dog almost died last weekend because she got in my purse and ate a couple fruit-flavored vitamin chews! It had b vitamins, c, zinc, and goji and acai berries concentrate. She had motor skill loss and hallucination type symptoms. W rushed her to ER and they saved her. They kept dating thru didn't think it was the vitamins bc they couldn't find any info on goji or acai- no info ag the poison control center... But I'm sure that's what it was! Acai contains theobromine same toxin as chocolate.
Posted by Ria
Doha, Qatar
05/26/2012
According to my daughter: always keep vitamin K in the house. In case of intoxication give the dog a high doses of vitamine K.

Posted by Cheryl (Santa Cruz, CA) on 02/07/2008

[WARNING!]  I read the suggestions about garlic for worms, and i used it on my dog and found no cure and no side effects. But, I was reading an old National Geographic magazine (Oct. 2007) and I came across a list of harmful food for dogs and one of them is garlic. It reads "Garlic breaks down a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia and possible kidney failure from leaking hemoglobin". And for those of you who are curious.. the list reads on:

1.alcohal-depresses brain function and cause coma.
2.coffee- caffeine in a cup of coffee is a methylxanthine compound that can increase a dog's heart rate and trigger seizures.
3. macadamia nuts- just a couple can cause tremors, and even temporary paralysis in dog's hind legs
4.onions- damages is hemoglubin culmulative, so small tastes over time can be worse than wolfing down the whole bulb.
5. grapes (and that includes raisins)- can cause renal failure.
.. this probably isnt everthing so I hope you read up first before giving your pet something new.

EC: Please read the overwhelmingly positive reviews on garlic for dogs here: http://www.earthclinic.com/pets/garlic_for_dogs.html#GARLICFORDOGS

Posted by Allison
Houston, Tx
12/22/2009
I came home about 6 p.m. in the evening and discovered my little terrier dog, who weighed 12 pounds, had got into my stash of dark chocolate (about 4 ozs left)and ate it all up. By the time I realized what has happened, it could of been anywhere between 2 hours to 2 days she could have done this. Although I suspect it was more like a few hours. Right away, I gave her 1 capsule of milk thistle seed (150 mg of 30:1 extract 80% total flavanoid) hidden inside a small amount of canned cat food. A few more spoonful of the canned cat food was given to help move the capsule down to her stomach in case it got lodged in the throat. I then used a syringe with NEEDLE REMOVED to feed her some water to help dissolve the milk thistle. I had read somewhere before that high doses of Milk Thistle was used to help detox ingestion of poisonous mushrooms in humans. I highly recommend keeping some milk thistle on hand for other poisoning as well. If you have a larger dog, weighing 50-100 lbs, I think 2-3 capsules of milk thistle would work better. But don't go crazy with it as animal livers are different than humans' and they breakdown chemicals differently.

3 hours later, I then gave my dog 2 capsules of 280 mg of activated charcoal (560 Mg total). DO NOT USE CHARCOAL BRISQUETTE FOR BARBECUE!!! THEY CONTAIN KEROSENE? OR LIGHTER FLUID TO HELP WITH THE BURNING AND IS TOXIC TO INGEST OR EAT. The dosage of charcoal on the lable for humans is 2 capsules for minor problems. Since this is an emergency situation, if you have a large animal weighing 100 pounds, I would use no more than 4 capsules at one time as you want to use enough to absorb the toxic material but not enough to kill the animal, I had bought mine over the internet for myself in case of food poisoning. activated Charcoals is an absorbant agent to help capture unwanted materials and gas to carry them out of the digestive system. They DO INTERFERE with absorbing other medications so TAKE THEM APART from others meds which is why I gave her the milk thistles 3 hours before and not together.

These charcoals were disguised inside canned cat food followed with more water to help dissolve the capsules quickly once inside the stomach.

I also have on hand liquid bentonite clay (oral form used for detox, not the cosmetic kind for face mask) so I gave my dog 1 tablespoon of it plus plenty of water (6-8 tablespoon) to wash it down. this was given 30 minutes after the charcoal.

I stayed up with her til about 2 a.m. and before I went to sleep, I gave her another capsule of milk thistle along with about (160 mg of magnesium citrate to help counteract anticipated muscle twitching and seisure)Magnesium is supposed to help relax the muscles but too much will cause diarrhea. I forgot to mention that in between, I allow her to eat as much of her regular food as she wants hoping to dilute the toxin in her system. my baby did not vomit at all or excessively urinate, or have diarrhea. She did exibit some hyperactivity and her temperature was a little higher than normal(a sign of chocolate poisoning), so I try to kept her from overheating. I keep taking her outside incase she needed to go bathroom as frequency is a sign of poisoning. But she only went normally.

Next morning, my baby looked normal: no soiling of any kind (urine or feces.) I took her outside for bathroom (she still exhibited a little hyperactivity)and bought her back in to give her another dose of 2 charcoal capsules with canned cat food. As she did not looked distressed, I decided not to take her to the vet. later on in the afternoon, I gave her one more capsule of milk thistle and that was it.

The critical period for chocolate toxicity is 24 to 36 hours after ingestion. Symptoms usually appear within a few hours after ingestion. With the amount and the type of chocolate ingested for the size (12 pounds )of my baby, it really was a fatal dose. My baby was saved by milk thistle, charcoal, and magnesium. I was lucky I didn't have to take her to the vets. But if she had shown more distress, I would have. It was also recommended that the pet be induced vomiting using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water a few spoonful. google "chocolate poisoning in dogs" for how-to. I didn't induce vomiting in my case because I suspect a few hours has already passed since ingestion and the chocolate was already on the way to her intestine and not in the stomach. Thus the immediate dose of milk thistle. Lesson learned is that chocolates must be stored in child proof containers where dogs And cats cannot have access. This scared me so bad that I won't be having any chocolate in the house for a long time in the future.

Avocado   1  0   

Posted by Tylor (Topanga, CA) on 10/01/2008

[WARNING!]  My cat was about 6 weeks old and I fed her some mashed avocado that I was using to prepare guacamole. About 45 minutes later she began acting very lethargic and inactive. Keep in mind, she's a crazy ninja kitty. So the lack of energy was a shock. I called an animal poison control and was told that avo fruit can cause digestive problems in cats & dogs, mainly because of high fat/oil content. There is a toxin concentrated in the skin/pit of avocado, that is also present in a more complex form in the fruit. Apparently dogs & cats have a mild sensitivity to the toxin in the fruit. The skin and pits however are dangerous (i.e. animal chews through skin for fruit.) Horses, goats, cows, etc.. are even more sensitive to the toxin and can even sicken from exposure to fruit.

Posted by Paulo
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10/02/2008
Be very careful when giving cats anything that is not from animal products. Cats have evolved to eat meat exclusively, so plants, fruits and vegetables can often be toxic to them. My vet once told me that this is the reason why over the counter medicine for humans are toxic for cats: they are all plant based.
Posted by Robin
Gippsland, Vic. Australia
05/29/2012
2 Posts
I agree, stick with Meat for Cats & Dogs, maybe a bit of Rice, Pasta, carrot, which are all Acid PH Forming. Avocado is a Very High Salicylate which are poisonous to Cats & prob. Dogs also. Causes Respiratory or Metabolic Alkalosis, immediately, and an obvious stressful decline. It's a Vet emergency to return their blood PH to an Acid state, or at home give Meat or a Can of Petfood. After a couple of days of mystery breathing difficulty, my Cat (after Avocado) started gagging like trying to "reach" & they may not want to eat so I keep an empty Wormer plunger handy. Google Salicylate Foods High/Mod/Low. Stick with Low for Animals.

Posted by Kathleen (Grand Rapids, MI) on 01/07/2008

I was told that avacados are not good for dogs is that true?

Posted by Allen Murray
Irvine, CA
04/21/2009
[YEA]   I see that someone asked if avocados are toxic to dogs.

My response is a resounding no based on my experience. Back when I was in middle school and high school I had a boxer who was free to roam the neighborhood because that was in the days before fences around swimming pools. On occasion my mother would find avocados buried in her flower beds and large potted plants. For a whild we had a crew of workers doing major landscape work at our house. The foreman reported that he saw my dog routinely go to a neighbors house and jump up and pull avocados off low branches. The dog would then bring them home and bury them for a while. Later the workers noticed the dog digging up avocados he had burried and eat them. They said they even saw him eat as many as seven in one day. Of course, we wondered why there would be some evenings when he was not hungry. It is no wonder that he was not hungry after eating several avocados. Through it all my dog was a very healthy dog. For this reason I do not believe that avocados are toxic to dogs.

Essential Oils   0  0   

Posted by S (Wichita, Ks ) on 09/27/2011

I wanted to add some other oils that are toxic to cats :

* Peppermint
* Lemon Oil
* Lavender Oil
* Melaleuca Oill
* Cinnamon Bark Oil
* Wintergreen Oil
* Thyme Oil
* Birch Oil
* Other oils containing phenol

Posted by Sheila
Post Falls, Iaho
12/20/2011
2 Posts
What about coconut oil for cats?
Posted by Gemini Dreamweapon
Chicago, Il
09/11/2012
5 Posts
FYI Coconut Oil is not an essential oil.

To address your q: I do regularly give a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil to my cat. She loves and craves EVCO.

Too much can cause soft stools and can throw off the pH of the intestines, so give in moderation and with breaks if needed. If you see your cat excessively licking the behind that's an indication that there's GI/intestinal pH imbalance, impacted anal glands, or parasites so keep an eye out for potential discomfort.

I feed her raw pheasant medallions. They do high pressure pasturization unfortunately now, but I originally started her on the EVCO to ward off parasites from the raw meat. Even though it's not necessary any longer she and I both love it*

Gum   0  0   

Posted by Georgia ( North East, MD USA) on 02/22/2009

[WARNING!]  Our 3 year old Yorkie was laying by my husband one night and suddenly turned on his back and his legs went in all different directions - he shook miserably - the short version is he had 3 seizures within an hour - we took him to the ER, spent over $900 (we refused some of the "ideas") but his blood sugar was 32 when we finally got him to ER. Doc said it was a poison from him getting hold of a piece of Trident gum (my husband left lay on table beside his seat). Apparently the artificial sweeteners can cause such a severe metabolic change as to cause this type of reaction. He should have died, but we prayed for him - I believe God saved his life, but taught us the hard lesson about being very careful where we lay any food and/or snack.

EC: It is nearly impossible to find gum these days that doesn't contain either artificial sweeteners or xylitol, both of which are deadly to dogs!

Posted by Susan
Washington, Dc
03/10/2010
Small amounts of Xylitol are highly toxic. Because it can cause permanent damage or death quickly, it is probably best to seek vet assistance. Also, Xylitol is now sold in powdered form in supermarkets under the brand name Ideal, and in health food stores by various brands. When buying any artificial sweetener or sugar-free item, read the ingredients!
Posted by Laricci1
Newport Beach, Ca
03/06/2012
Splenda is NOT toxic to dogs, but I wouldn't feed my dog an artificial sweetener, as a rule.

Noni Juice to Cure Poisoning   1  0   

Posted by Dlm (Northland, New Zealand) on 05/29/2013

[YEA]  I had a local lady tell us about her dog who ate some poisoned possum. The dog got very sick and its fur starting coming out and it stopped eating and drinking. The vet had tried everything to save the dog, but eventually told her to take the dog home as it was expected to die that evening.

Her sister told her to try squirting Noni Juice down its throat. She decided to try it. She gave her dog 3 lots of Noni Juice during the night.

The next day it jumped off the bed and started eating the cats food. Since then and with more Noni juice it has made a full recovery.

After hearing this we put a few drops of Noni Juice in our cats water. Normally when you pat one of our cats you can feel the spine, but since giving them Noni Juice it feels really nice and soft again.

We now put a few drops of Noni Juice in our Water and have noticed a big improvement already.

The dog and cat experiences tell me that it does do something, no matter what tests have been done. Maybe they need to do more?

Remedies to Cure Poisoning in Dogs   2  0   

Posted by Wayne (palm springs, california) on 01/27/2008

[YEA]  Hydrogen peroxide. For a dog that has ingested a poisonous substance where vomiting will be the solution to expel the toxin, put 1 tsp' [3%] HP in the mouth. Take the dog OUTSIDE and throw a pinch of salt in its mouth. The entire contents of the stomach will be immediately expelled.

Posted by Sharik
Arcata, California
10/26/2009
I have both charcoal tablets and capsules on hand in my "emergency chest" for toxic ingestion problems. The pet should be taken to the vet, but this could slow down the toxic process until you get there. Don't forget to tell the vet what you have given your pet so that he/she doesn't use something that fights with it.

Posted by Angela (Leitchfeld, kentucky) on 06/13/2007

[YEA]  re: curing poisioning and stomach toxins: I had a full size male doberman pinscher, was poisoned with antifreeze. Tried to take him to the vet, and would not take him said there was nothing they could do. Well being he was my baby i didn't give up. Someone told me to cook bacon, take the grease, a raw egg, and a lemon lime soda, mix it together and force him to eat it, granted he threw up alot, it was bright neon green, but i kept feeding it to him until it was no longer green, then feed him pedialight for dehydration, he lived and is fine today, it seems to force any toxin that is in their system out.

Posted by Monajean
Bonita Springs, Fl, United States
01/05/2011
I cannot believe the vet would not treat your dog, they should use charcoal and pump the stomache. You were very courageous to do what you did and save your dog!!!

Watermelon   0  0   

Posted by Linda (Wallingford, CT) on 06/22/2009

Is watermelon harmful to dogs? Specifically a 12 lb. Yorkie. My friend gave her dog watermelon and he bled from his rectum. He is fine now, but that was a scare for her. Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Linda Fernandes

Posted by Kaysey
Cushing, Ok, Usa
08/21/2009
Linda, an answer to your question about watermelon. Dogs can eat watermelon, I feed mine frozen seedless watermelon for a summer treat. As for seeded watermelon, I'm not 100% sure the seeds are ok for dogs to eat. Most likely the reason the dog was bleeding from it's rectum, was because the seeds were hard for the dog to get out.

Xylitol Warning in Pets   0  0   

Posted by Kay (USA) on 05/16/2008

[WARNING!]  Hi, I posted this before but I don't think it went through so here it is again. A few weeks ago on the news I was shocked to hear that two pet ferrets had died only hours after eating one piece of sugar free chewing gum. There is a sugar substitute in the gum called Xylitol that caused the deaths of these pets, it is said to be even more dangerous then chocolate for dogs, cats, ferrets and all animals. It is found in Gum, Candy, Toothpaste and other things. I felt the need to share this as it may save your pets life. Please put your gum and candy out of reach. Google it for yourself, there is so much information on the Dangers of Xylitol in Pets.

Posted by Patricia
Decatur, Ar
03/21/2010
[WARNING!]   This is ABOLUTELY true. Xylitol will definitely poison your pets. My labrador who was around 50 pounds at the time went into seizures and then a coma after ingesting mints with Xylitol in them. She was immediately taken to our vet. If it hadn't been for his quick response, she would have died. This product is so harmful to animals it should not be in the house at all. I didn't know it was harmful at all until this happened! I check every mint label now before I buy it. Of course, I think it should be taken off the market. Xylitol is worse than any other product our pets can get into. I have never see such a sudden reaction. Pet lovers please beware!
Posted by Vicky
Summerland, California Usa
04/30/2011
There is a chemical similar to the XYLITOL found in the onion dehydration process's which are also toxic to your pet. We did not know that processed gravy for ground sirloin had dehydrated onions and freeze dried mushrooms in it. When we gave it to our dog in increments he seemed fine but a few hours later had seizures and was swimming on the ground trying to stand up. We thought he was playing around but when we realized it was serious we zoomed him to the Emergency Vet.

After we telephoned the establishment that we purchased the sirloin from they said that we should have never fed our dog what we consume. They gave us an ingredient breakdown of the gravy and there it was, everything a canine should not consume. We felt bad and never fed our dog anything from there restaurant again.

When we went back to order our food the people behind the counter put a sign up on our order that read 86'd and we asked how come they were rude. The people said because you complained to Corporate and we decided not to serve you anymore either. As we walked out I insisted on going back to ask why and they kept on saying that we were poisoned once and they did not have to serve us. We also got sick but I never ordered a mushroom gravy sirloin burger again. I actually don't eat meat anymore and the dogs eat Avoderm and lamb and rice from Trader Joes & Petco. The lesson was an expensive one to learn and I wish I had a list of poisonous foods to dogs before that happened. I certainly think that people should not be ingesting those types of foods either. Fast Foods are poisonous.

Posted by Hillbilleter
Pike Co., Ky
12/29/2011
I'm still stuck on why you would complain to the restaurant's corporate office for something you did at home. Every vet will tell you NOT to feed your pet any people food. You did, you learned your lesson. Yet, you wanted to tell the restaurant's corporate office that you nearly killed your pet.

I'm sorry your pet got ill, but the restaurant did not sell you pet food. You chose to use people food as pet food. I'm not sorry you're persona non grata at the poor restaurant at whom you threw a tantrum.

Posted by Sam
Little Rock, Ak
06/16/2012
As for every vet telling people not to feed their pets human food that is simply not true as long as you prepare the food correctly and don't add stuff that could make them sick. It is perfectly OK to feed human food to your pets. Me and my wife have been doing this now for over three years with no problems. My parents have been feeding there 20 year old mutt girl human food since they got her and the vet says for her age she is in great health. Also there is an added bonus to preparing your pets food- you know it has not been made in China like most pet foods are nowadays.







 



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