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Toxic Foods You May Be Giving Your Pets

{Photo credit: With A Red Bird On My Shoulder}

We’ve all been there; the doorbell’s ringing, the baby’s crying, dinner is burning in the oven and the dog is sitting on the table licking the breakfast plates clean. (Yes, it’s 6 PM and they’re still there.) It might come up as the opener to a joke you tell your neighbor while gathering the mail the next morning. “Well, at least I didn’t have to do the dishes!”

While you may think your beloved pet is lending you a helping hand, letting him sneak some table scraps now and then might actually be doing him harm. A number of human food items are quite toxic to cats and dogs.  Before you slip some leftovers in your dog’s bowl tonight or turn your back at the sight of your toddler dropping niblets into your kitty’s mouth from her high chair, take a look at this list of the most toxic foods and be sure to keep them away from your fury pals.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic in all forms (raw, cooked, powder and salt) are toxic to both cats and dogs. Aside from gastrointestinal upsets, a small amount can potentially cause Heinz bodies to develop in the red blood cells, usually leading to anemia. The larger the amount ingested, the quicker anemia can develop and become fatal.

{Photo credit: With A Red Bird On My Shoulder}


Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in both cats and dogs.

Raw Potatoes and Unripe Tomatoes

Green, unripe tomatoes and any raw Solanaceae plant (potatoes, eggplant, paprika and chili pepper) contain the chemical, Glycoalkanoid Solanine. If eaten raw, your pet may experience extreme gastrointestinal issues.


All parts of the avocado from the leaves to the seeds contain Pesin. Pesin consumption can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

{Photo credit: With A Red Bird On My Shoulder}

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine

Chocolate, coffee and caffeine contain methylxanthines, which, if ingested, can cause a number of complications in dogs and cats from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and death. Baking chocolate contains the highest amount of methylxanthines, making it the most toxic.

Macadamia Nuts

Ingesting Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, tremors and hypothermia in dogs.


Xylitol is a sweetener commonly used in products like gum, candy and toothpaste. Xylitol consumption can lead to liver failure and hypoglycemia in pets.

Aside from the most toxic foods listed above, some others to avoid are milk, excess salt, raw or undercooked meats and eggs and alcohol. Remember, many of these foods are used as ingredients in other foods. Always check the ingredients before giving anything to your pet.

If you think your pet may have ingested any of these foods, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (800) 426-4435.






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Danielle is a Pittsburgh native who has been warming her “black and gold” blood in sunny Northern California for the past 6 years. On any given day, you can find her arranging ridiculous photo shoots of her one-year-old son Graeme and cat Gizmo, or working on any one of her 27,000 writing projects. She enjoys daydreaming about becoming a famous actress and starting a handful of different businesses with her husband over glasses of wine in the evenings. Someday, she hopes to travel the country in an RV with her family… but she needs to sell that novel first. You can follow her journeys through her blog With A Red Bird On My Shoulder

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    As a veterinarian (and a mom), I think you did a wonderful job on this article. Enjoying the new site!


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