10 Foods Poisonous to Pets

We all know that pets aren’t supposed to have people food. But let’s face it, sometimes, it happens…something falls on the floor when you’re cooking dinner, and Buddy is quickly there, vacuuming up the crumbs, or Felix steals something off the plate when you aren’t looking…

There are some healthy “people foods” for pets (only small amounts– not replacements for pet food). But there are also many foods that can be dangerous to our feline friends and canine companions.

It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week (March 14th-20th), so in an attempt to spread awareness, here is a handy list of the top 10 common foods that are toxic to your pet. If your pet happens to get a hold of any of these substances, call the ASPCA hotline at (888) 426-4435. Also, look for the ASPCA’s list of 17 most common toxic poisonous plants listed below.

Grapes and Raisins

These can be toxic to dogs and cause kidney failure. Researchers say there are still many unknowns about the toxicity of grapes and raisins, including whether only certain types of dogs are affected, but it is advised not to feed grapes or raisins to dogs in any amount.


While many pet owners say they feed their pets avocados with no problems, studies have shown that their leaves, fruit, seeds and bark can contain a toxin called Persin. According to the ASPCA, the Guatemalan variety, which is commonly found in stores, contains the most toxicity.

Yeast Dough

Dough that is not cooked and contains yeast can rise in your pet’s stomach, causing pain, and can potentially cause the intestines to rupture. This risk diminishes once the dough is cooked.

Onions, Onion Powder, Chives and Garlic

These all can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. All forms of onion can cause problems including dehydrated onions, raw and cooked onions. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, but it can be toxic to both.

Foods with a High Salt or Fat Content

Excessive fats can cause upset stomach and potentially inflame the pancreas causing pancreatitis. Salty foods can pose a risk for the development of sodium ion toxicosis, according to the ASPCA. Be aware that if your pet gets into food with a high fat or salt content, she could experience stomach problems including diarrhea and vomiting.

Left-Over Bones

Left-over bones pose a choking hazard to pets, and they can also splinter and puncture your pet’s gut or intestine. Additionally, do not feed your pet undercooked meat or eggs, as they can contain harmful bacteria.

Sugarless Candies (products sweetened with xylitol)

This compound can cause liver damage and even death in some more vulnerable dogs. Xylitol is in many products including gum, candy, sugar-free cookies and toothpaste.

Macadamia Nuts

These nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms generally last up to two days, and usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion.

Alcohol, Chocolate, Coffee

According to the ASPCA, the substances in chocolate, coffee, and caffeine, methlxanthines, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and potentially death in pets. The higher the cocoa percentage, the more dangerous the chocolate is, making dark chocolate more toxic than milk or white chocolate. All these products can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death.


17 Most Common Poisonous Plants

1. Lilies
2. Marijuana
3. Sago Palm
4. Tulip/Narcissus bulbs
5. Azalea/Rhododendron
6. Oleander
7. Castor Bean
8. Cyclamen
9. Kalanchoe
10. Yew
11. Amaryllis
12. Autumn Crocus
13. Chrysanthemum
14. English Ivy
15. Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
16. Pothos
17. Schefflera

What do you do if your pet ate something poisonous?

If your animal is having seizures or losing consciousness, bring him or her to your veterinarian or emergency vet center.

If your pet is not showing symptoms, but ingested something potentially toxic, call the ASPCA hotline at (888) 426-4435. Have the following information available: the species, breed, age, sex, weight, and information about the product exposure. It is best to have the package of the product available for reference.

Related Links:

Pet Poison Prevention
Pet Poisoning
Poison Safety Kit for Pets


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Kay M.
Kay M.20 days ago

GOOD AFTERNOON and thank you for this article- great information- also I enjoyed reading the over 831 comments from the care 2 members ..Sincerely KAY M.

Summerannie M.
Summerannie M.26 days ago


Peter Blattner
Peter Blattner28 days ago

The remains, which will be left with the harvest of grapes, on the ground, are very dangerous for almost all dog breeds. Nevertheless the wine growers leave, over and over again big bunch of this grape waste, on the ground without thinking. Also here in several Swiss wine-areas, many wine growers pretty much grapes planted, and unfortunately several dogs die each year because they had eaten this dangerous poison. The bad thing is that unfortunately many dogs, like to mutch this grape waste, unfortunately to a (frequently fatal ending) price!

Doris Khong
Doris Khong2 months ago

Thanks so much for this informative article. I have noted and will share with pet lovers.

Fi T.
Fi T.7 months ago

Watch out what to eat, for our furry friends and ourselves

Ahlam Zaid
Ahlam Zaid9 months ago

Thanx for the info .

Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly9 months ago


Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper9 months ago


Brendan Q.
Brendan Q.12 months ago

My partner and I have built an Android app "Can Dogs Eat" that is a comprehensive quick reference guide to what human foods and drinks are dangerous or safe for dogs to eat that dog owners can have on hand anywhere, anytime. Used in over 10 countries!

The idea for the app was prompted by a scary experience earlier this year when a friend's puppy wolfed down a bowl of macadamia nuts before any of us could react (Charlie Brown the Chocolate Lab made a full recovery after an expensive emergency trip to the vet to induce vomiting).

It has a huge database containing common food and drink products (currently over 470+) and allows you to simply search for a specific product or alternatively, scroll or swipe through the alphabetical list.

We would be so grateful for your support to help us get this project off the ground.

You can download from the Google PlayStore using this link:

We also made a Facebook page which you can like:

Follow us on Twitter:

The Apple version for iPhone and iPad users is on the way and will be available from the iTunes store soon. We also are building a Windows Phone version and a website.

Like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter to be notified of announcements :)

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H.about a year ago

No, I am not scrolling through 3 pages to be told things I probably already know - and that's not a risk to my pets - I'm away from home so often it wouldn't be fair for me to have a pet.

I'm glad the article mentions salt - especially poisonous to birds, so please don't put salted peanut on the bird table.

If horses get colic it can kill them. Two things people might think of giving horses the other side of a fence are grass clippings - they swallow them too fast and colic, and wheat - I believe it swells inside their stomachs - horses have small stomachs.

I can imagine Joe Bloggs, who thinks he is being kind to horses he doesn't know, saying: "But they are enjoying it!" Yes, they are like kids in a sweetshop!