Foods and other Substances
that are Hazardous to Your Pet's Health

Toxic foods can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances, diarrhea, rapid breathing, seizures leading to death as well as sudden death. Also, avoid feeding or exposing your pet to rich fatty foods and alcohol in any amount.

foods that are toxic to your pet Chocolate, containing theobromine, is toxic to your pet, so keep all forms of chocolate well away from them, even so-called white chocolate. The most dangerous kinds of chocolate, though, are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate, which when ingested can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.

Other highly poisonous foods to many pets include:

foods that are toxic to your pet grapes and raisins - small amounts (4 or 5 of either) can lead to irreversible kidney damage in most dogs.
foods that are toxic to your pet apple seeds, apricot pits, cherry pits, peach pits, plum pits - many fruit pits and seeds pose a dual hazard to your pet: 1. bowel or gastrointestinal tract obstruction from the object, itself; and, 2. most contain cyanide leading to poisoning and associated effects of dilated pupils, apprehension, hyperventilation, shock, vomiting, panting, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma, skin irritation and death.
foods that are toxic to your pet Avocados - the entire plant: leaves, fruit, seeds and bark - contains Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, and also trigger difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart, or pancreatitis.
foods that are toxic to your pet walnuts and macadamia nuts - a small handful of these nuts can lead to vomiting, muscle and joint pain, swelling and lethargy.
foods that are toxic to your pet raw bread dough - yeast dough contains ethanol (see below) so, when consumed by a dog can result in lethargy, weakness and low body temperature. Immediate medical attention should be sought.
foods that are toxic to your pet Ethanol and alcohol - can cause rapid damage to your pet's respiratory and central nervous systems and adversely affect their brain and kidneys in the long-term. Two teaspoons of whisky can cause a coma in a 5-pound cat, and 3 teaspoons could kill it.
foods that are toxic to your pet Onions, garlic and chives, in any form - raw, cooked, powdered also found in some baby foods - a small amount of these foods breaks down a cat's red blood cells, causing anemia, weight loss, lethargy and more, while chives are more noted for producing gastrointestinal upset.
foods that are toxic to your pet milk and dairy - most adult cats are lactose intolerant.
foods that are toxic to your pet moldy foods - including moldly cheese and blue cheese. Click on the photo to see a larger size image and you will see just how subtle the mold appears on this ground hamburger. Look for the faint blue areas.
foods that are toxic to your pet mushroom plants
foods that are toxic to your pet coffee, tea, and particularly energy drinks, or any product containing caffeine, such as cocoa and colas - a large dose of caffeine is usually fatal to cats, while small amounts of caffeine can lead to restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and tremors.
foods that are toxic to your pet raw eggs - most noted for harbouring salmonella or E. coli bacteria. Also, the avidin found in egg whites can prevent your cat's absorption of vitamin B, leading to skin problems and fur loss.
foods that are toxic to your pet raw fish - an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, which is an essential B vitamin for your cat and a lack of thiamine can cause serious neurological problems, leading to convulsions and coma.
foods that are toxic to your pet Rhubarb - ingesting rhubarb leaves leads to oxalic acid poisoning which can lead to kidney failure and death. The cooked rhubarb stem is safe to eat, but is very high fibre and may cause indigestion, intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
foods that are toxic to your pet Spinach - BE ALERT!!! Spinach is turning up in commercial pet foods but has one of the highest calcium oxalate levels of any food and cooking does little to diminish the oxalates. Spinach can cause oxalate crystal formation in the urinary tract and kidneys in cats. Calcium oxalate stones are extraordinarily painful and once formed in the kidneys, cannot be removed without surgery. Spinach, raw or cooked, should be completely avoided in cats and has been shown to cause such major damage it can result in hospitalization and in some circumstances, death.
foods that are toxic to your pet Spices, herbs and mustard seeds - mace, nutmeg, paprika and turmeric can be toxic, even fatal in high doses - symptoms include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death. Turmeric can burn the stomach lining and entire GI tract of a cat.
foods that are toxic to your pet Human medications - prescription and over-the-counter, particularly products containing ibuprofen (Aleve and others), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin).
trimmed beef fat Fat trimmings and bones - from cooked and uncooked meat can cause pancreatitis and cooked bones can promote choking in dogs.
raw sugar on a table Sugar - can lead to obesity, dental problems and possibly diabetes.

Candy, in general, is toxic to pets in addition to posing a high risk for choking.

Pumpkin and corn are non-toxic but can induce gastro-intestinal upset if ingested in large quantities and may even result in an intestinal blockage, a life-threatening event.

Dyes or colours, if they are to be applied to your pet, must be veterinarian-approved and rated as safe, non-toxic vegetable dyes and are best left to the experts to apply.

Xylitol containing productsHowever, Xylitol, a naturally occurring plant-based alcohol and an artificial sweetener widely used to sweeten many candies mints, chewing gums and other foods and drugs, is fast-becoming one of the most hazardous additives to foods that can sicken and cause the death of your beloved pet. Because of its rapid rise in usage across many food groups I have dedicated an article specifically to its dangers and where it may be found. Please read my article titled Xylitol and Your Pet.

Post the ASPCA Poison Control Centre Hotline 1-(888)-426-4435 close to your telephone. If you have to call the hotline the service will be billed to your credit card by the New York State ASPCA. I recently had to use this service for one of my cats that jumped into our freshly Lysol-prepped toilet. Our local veterinary emergency clinic advised that I would have to contact this poison control centre before they would take my pet for observation or treatment. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control Centre website.

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