10 Foods You Should Never Give Your Cat or Dog

Editorís note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on August†22,†2015. Enjoy!

A number of dogs around the country are not happy with their dinner these days. And thatís due to repeated scares about pet food safety. From euthanasia drugs to wires, some of the reported ingredients are downright scary.

Obviously we donít want to feed our pets anything that could threaten their health, so†letís use this opportunity to take a look at ten foods that you should never give your cat or dog.

1. Alcohol

All alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can have†disastrous effects on the human liver and brain — and the effects are amplified for our pets. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

2. Avocado

This fruit contains Persin, a toxic component which has adverse effects on the heart and lungs of our pets. It can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Caffeine

I love my morning coffee — and, indeed, tea and coffee are known for their†beneficial effects on human†health. But the same is not true for our pets. These products all contain methylxanthines, and when ingested by pets, this†can chemical can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.

4. Chocolate

You probably already know this one, but you should never share a bite of your favorite chocolate bar with your pet. The theobromine in chocolate can cause irregular heart beats in dogs and cats, which could prove fatal. Donít even let your dog lick the chocolate frosting on that cake.

5. Grapes and Raisins

Itís unclear why†grapes and raisins create problems for pets, but these fruits can lead to†kidney failure in dogs and cats. Donít leave any†lying around!

6. Milk

As a child, I watched my mother give†our cat Timmy a bowl of milk every day, so this one came as†a total surprise to me. Mom made a big mistake: Cats do not possess significant amounts of lactase — the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk — which means that milk and other milk-based products may give†them diarrhea or cause other digestive upset.

7. Onions and Garlic

You may love to cook with a perfect combination of these two ingredients, but onions and garlic are highly toxic to animals. Onions, in particular, have a destructive effect on your petís red blood cells, which can lead to anemia, breathing troubles and weakness.

8. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs, Bones

Some people may consider raw bones to be a natural food for dogs, but they definitely pose a choking hazard. Raw meat and raw eggs also may contain Salmonella and E.coli bacteria, which can affect your petís health. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that restricts the absorption of biotin — a B vitamin — leading to skin and coat problems.

9. Salt

Too much salt produces excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium poisoning. Donít let your pet have any of those salty chips, or you may find that she experiences†vomiting, diarrhea, tremors or an elevated body temperature.

10. Xylitol

Candy, chewing gum and baked goods may contain a sweetener called Xylitol, which can cause insulin release in most species, potentially leading to liver failure. The increase in insulin triggers a sudden fall in blood glucose level, potentially causing†seizures and/or loss of coordination.

Of course, even if you know what to avoid feeding your cats or dogs, they do have minds of their own, and accidents can happen. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these foods, note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.


Fred Campbell
Fred Campbell2 hours ago

Thanks for the advice.

Pat P
Pat P3 hours ago

Raw cat food from a reputable company is a more natural diet. Dry kibble is NOT, nor are most grocery store products of the PF industry. Tuna, or other fish is not good for pets, except occasionally. Ancestors of cats came from the desert--not the sea.
There are some horrible ingredients in many things fed our pets. If it is unfit for human consumption, why would people think it is suitable for our pets?--euthanized cats/dogs, diseased animals, road kill are some of the illegal ingredients allowed in many cheap pet products, but against Federal law.
Our pets are dying of diseases, not found in the wild--often due to terrible diets.
Just because an animal doesn't immediately die, does not mean that what they are fed is helping them thrive. Often, it is gradually shortening their lives.

David C
David C5 hours ago

about 20 years ago my grand-father in -law accidentally shared a drink with our then sheepdog, never saw a happier pup the rest of the day

David C
David C5 hours ago

sounds good, but our cat doesn't care as long as she gets to share tuna,salmon, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream

Muff-Anne York-Haley
Muff-Anne Y5 hours ago

Same with dogs!

Cruel Justice
Cruel J5 hours ago

The sanctuary cats are all on a special UTI food, so I don't have to worry about what not to feed them.

Suzette Leleu
Suzette Leleu5 hours ago

Cooked bones are dangerous to dogs. They should not be fed to them under any circumstances. They can splinter and rupture the intestines. Please carefully research your articles before submitting them.

Lenore K
Lenore K5 hours ago


HEIKKI R5 hours ago


Sandra Hetherington

I agree with all except #8. For thousands of years dogs (wolves) have never felt the need to cook their meat or eggs. A raw meat diet is the healthiest diet you can give your dog. My Stella gets a couple of raw eggs a week and her coat is so shiny some people have even commented on it. Never any skin problems either. I'm a big fan of mixed breed dogs as I find them generally more healthy and they tend to live longer too. Maybe some purebred dogs might be a bit more sensitive to some things, but my mixed breeds have no problems with raw meat, bones (no chicken or pork chop bones) and eggs.