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Toxic foods for cats & dogs

Toxic foods for cats & dogs

We’ve all seen the faces of desperation from our furry friends as we eat our dinner. They want what we’re having and it’s often hard to resist giving them a scrap from our plates, but our food can be toxic for cats and dogs.

We know it can be hard to ignore those hopeful puppy dog eyes as you eat your lunch, but did you know treating pets to certain human foods can be dangerous? Treating your pet is fine, as long as you’re choosing healthy treat options and aren’t treating them too often. ‘Treats’ from your dinner plate shouldn’t be shared with them, not only because over-feeding your pet can result in them gaining weight and put them at risk of obesity, but because some ingredients can lead to serious health issues. Below is an overview of what human foods dogs and cats can’t eat.

Dangerous ingredients: what dogs & cats can’t eat


Certain fruits

Sultanas, grapes, raisins and currants are all toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to kidney failure. Further, the seeds of fruits such as mango, peaches and plums may become lodged in the intestines if ingested.

Tip 1: Keep pets out of the kitchen


A slice of chocolate cake is undeniably delicious, but it can spell disaster for our pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic for pets and can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures. In some cases, ingesting it can be fatal. If your pet has consumed chocolate and you’re concerned for their health, contact your local Animates Vetcare clinic immediately.

Avocado and other stone fruit

Avocados contains persin, an organic compound that is considered mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, the stone in avocados and other stone fruit poses a big risk of causing obstruction in the stomach or intestines if swallowed.

Christmas meals

Many of the traditional foods we cook for Christmas like gravy, stuffing and turkey skin are unhealthy for dogs. The main concern for pets who overindulge in Christmas goodies is that they are high in fat. Read our article on Christmas hazards for more foods and seasonal hazards to keep an eye out for over the Christmas period. 

Tip 2: Never leave human food where pets can reach

Cooked bones

Cooked bones should also be avoided. When they are no longer in a raw state, bones are likely to splinter and can cause constipation and even pierce your pet’s intestinal tract. However, dogs can eat raw bones and they may provide many benefits for your pet.

Fatty foods

Make sure you avoid fatty treats such as bacon and hot chips. Even in small amounts, they can cause gastrointestinal upsets and pancreatitis. This is a condition where the pancreas becomes severely inflamed and causes pain and discomfort. It can quickly become life-threatening.

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are among the top human foods to avoid giving your pet, as they are poisonous to cats & dogs.

Onion and garlic

Things that contain onion and garlic are another group of toxic foods for cats and dogs. Onion and garlic both are poisonous to our pets and if ingested in excess can cause their body’s red blood cells to break down.

Tip 3: Keep a toxic food list as a handy reminder


Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in some products such as chewing gum, lollies, mints, and toothpaste and is extremely toxic for cats & dogs. It can cause hypoglycemia with symptoms including weakness, vomiting and seizures which can show within 15-30 minutes of consumption.

Raw yeast dough

If you bake yeast bread from scratch, it is essential that you keep all raw bread dough away from your pets. The dark, warm environment of the stomach acts as an oven and encourages the dough to continue rising. This can result in a bowel obstruction or a bloated/distended stomach.


Dogs and cats are susceptible to adverse effects from even the smallest amounts of alcohol, and in large quantities, it can be fatal.


Because our pets weigh so much less than we do, dogs and cats have a much lower tolerance for caffeine than us. It only takes a relatively small amount of caffeine to cause a big problem, potentially leading to hospitalization or even death.

Tip 4: Ensure your pets can't get into your garbage bin

Garbage and compost

Any food posing a danger for pets does so after being tossed in the trash too, perhaps even more so when it becomes mouldy. Some pets, especially dogs, will rummage in the garbage any chance they get, and so it’s worth investing in a sturdy garbage can and compost bin that prevents pets from knocking over and eating anything they shouldn’t!

Food allergies and intolerances

Along with the toxic side effects of some foods for pets, it is also important to understand that some cats & dogs will have food intolerances and food allergies. If you notice any signs of gastrointestinal upsets, such as vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive flatulence or skin irritations, your pet may need a specific diet. Book an appointment with your local Animates Vetcare clinic for a professional diagnosis of the issue.

Our pets have very different nutritional needs to us and some of the foods we love can cause serious health issues or even be toxic foods for cats and dogs. Instead of feeding your pet table scraps, check out our nutrition guides for cats and dogs to discover the right diet for your pet that will deliver all their required daily nutrients.

If your pet eats something that they shouldn’t, contact your local Animates Vetcare clinic or emergency vet as soon as possible. A quick response can make all the difference.