11 Dangerous Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pets

(If your dog or cat consumes any of these foods and begins to experience negative side effects, please call your veterinarian immediately).

With Valentine’s Day chocolate hitting its glorious 50% sales at stores everywhere, it is important to note that, while delicious for us, some foods just simply should not be consumed by our pets. Everything from toxicity to choking hazards can pose threats to our furry friends, so as you stock up on sweets, make sure you keep them (and these other foods) out of the reach of your four-legged companions.

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“Sleepy Dog, Disgruntled Cat No. 1” by Dixie Wells

Dangerous to Dogs

While some dogs seem to have a stomach of steel (yes, I’m looking at you, Luna), their lovable curiosity can get the better of them at times. That is why it is up to us to make sure that they never come into contact with these foods.

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“Chocolate Mint Cupcakes” by Dixie Belle Cupcake Cafe

1. Chocolate
Probably the most well-known danger food to canines, chocolate is known to cause toxic reactions and sometimes even death in dogs who consume too much of it. It isn’t exactly the chocolate itself that can harm our pets, but a compound called theobromine. Since humans can metabolize his compound quickly, we don’t notice any negative effects. Dogs, however, are incapable of processing it at quick enough levels, so it can lead to poisoning if they eat too much. If your dog ingests chocolate, it is important to know how much he or she ate as well as the weight of the animal. From there, call your veterinarian who will tell you the proper way to handle the situation based on this information.

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“Grapes” by Mauro Cateb

2. Grapes and Raisins
Since they are such healthy foods for humans, it’s easy to think that grapes and raisins can be good for Fido. However, even one or two grapes can give your doggie an upset stomach. Just a small amount of grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. In larger amounts, these fruits can even cause your dog to go into kidney failure. It’s best to just ignore the begging eyes of your pooch and save the grapes for yourself. They’re expensive, anyway.

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“Bones” by Joy

3. Cooked Chicken Bones
Everyone knows the saying, “Give the dog a bone”. However, the type of bones you actually give your dog is imperative to their well-being. While raw bones can be beneficial for those who feed a meat-based diet, as a general rule, you should never, ever give a dog chicken bones. These tiny bones splinter easily, especially when cooked. It can cause choking and, as the bony shards break off, can cause irritation to the esophagus and intestine. Some side effects include vomiting, but the more severe effects stem from internal bleeding, organ punctures, and even death.

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“Onions” by Salvatore G2

4. Garlic & Onions
Two lesser-known danger foods, garlic and onions, should not be given to pets. In large amounts, these foods can cause hemolytic anemia in both cats and dogs. Garlic contains a chemical called thiosulphate, which these animals cannot process well. In fact, extreme amounts of garlic can cause the red blood cells in your pet’s body to burst. Onions, which are another species of Allium plant (along with leeks, chives, and shallots) can cause the same kinds of damage. Even though garlic is harmful to dogs, it is extremely, extremely dangerous for cats. Consuming these foods can cause major side effects such as vomiting, lethargy, pale gums, and lack of muscle control.

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“Candy” by Kevin Tao

5. Anything containing Xylitol
Xylitol is used in a variety of edibles, including gum, candy, and toothpaste. This sugar alcohol is dangerous to dogs and can cause hypoglycemia. When consumed, the xylitol triggers an extreme response from the canine’s pancreas, inducing a rapid insulin release and causing their blood sugar to drop. If left untreated, dogs who have ingested even a little bit of xylitol can collapse into seizures and even die after liver failure.

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“Macadamia_Bolivia” by CIAT

6. Macadamia Nuts
The only species to be known to have a reaction to macadamia nuts, dogs should never be fed this food. Even a handful of the nuts can cause negative (though nonfatal) consequences for your dog. After eating macadamia nuts, dogs are known to suffer from vomiting, depression, and muscle weakness within 12 hours. Some even experience violent tremors.


Dangerous to Cats

Cats, though a lot pickier than dogs in regards to what they eat, can still suffer from foods if they are given the chance to eat them. Keep your feline pal safe by avoiding these five consumables.

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“The Tawny Cat II” by Brian Leon

7. Milk
We can thank Disney for the false perpetuation that milk is good for cats. Though it is common to see people leave a saucer of milk down for their kitties, it really is not something you should do. Though non-fatal, milk can still cause issues for most cats. In fact, the majority of our feline friends are lactose-intolerant. Ingestion can cause much discomfort for the animal, including bloating, digestive issues and diarrhea. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to clean up a diarrhea-filled litter box, so skip the dairy and give them cat-approved ‘milk’ instead.

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Photo by Kimery Davis

8. Alcohol
It should really be a no-brainer that cats and dogs, both, should not consume alcohol. Alcohol itself has exactly the same effects on animals that it does on humans, causing depression, liver damage, and kidney damage. As well as having the general effects of alcohol on their systems, cats can be put into a coma with just a few teaspoons of strong liquor. A couple more, and they could die. Though dogs can obviously metabolize alcohol at a faster rate than cats, it is still potentially deadly and should always, always be avoided.

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“Raw Egg in Metal Bowl” by Steve Johnson

9. Raw Eggs, Meat, and Fish
Cats should also never eat raw eggs, and neither should humans. Because of the chances of contracting nasty bacteria like e. coli and salmonella, eggs should always be cooked when consumed. Another more rare condition can cause the egg whites in raw eggs to effect with your purry friend’s ability to absorb Vitamin B. Side effects include skin and coat problems that are bound to be uncomfortable for the cat. As for raw fish, it destroys thiamine, which is important for your cat’s health. Without the correct amount of thiamine in their system, cats can suffer from neurological disorders and even a coma.

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“Coffee” by JEN

10. Caffeine
I can’t deny that caffeine was a vital part in me getting this blog post finished. However, Fido and Fluffy should not consume it. Both dogs and cats suffer consequences of caffeine consumption, including symptoms like rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, and muscle tremors. If drank or eaten in large doses, it can lead to caffeine poisoning. Since there is no antidote for this condition, caffeine poisoning in animals oftentimes ends in death. So next time you are chugging coffee, make sure to set your mug where your cat can’t drink from it.

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“Taking a moment to breathe” by Quinn Dombrowski

11. Tuna
Probably the most surprising item on the list is tuna. I have to admit that I fell victim to the myth that cats should eat tuna. When Apollo was a kitten, I thought it would make a nice treat for him. After he scarfed it down, he refused to eat his regular food for nearly a week. I had to entice him back into eating solids again by adding soft food into his diet. Though he has recovered from his addiction, he still harasses me every time he hears the can opener. Simply put, cats who eat tuna on a regular basis can literally become addicted to it, refusing to eat their normal food and suffering from essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If eaten for an extended amount of time, tuna can even cause mercury poisoning.


There is a reason that dogs and cats have treats and snacks that are specially designed for them. With so many potentially dangerous foods and drinks out there, it is important to keep your meals on your own plate and secure your pantries and counters. Stick to their normal foods with the occasional pet-friendly treat, and your four-legged friends will thank you.

-Kristen

Was this list shocking to you? What is your favorite go-to snack for your pooch or kitten? Let us know by commenting!

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