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Foods to avoid

Reasons to avoid


Alcoholic beverages

Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.

Apples, Cherries, Peaches and similar fruit

The seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans. Unlike humans, dogs do not know to stop eating at the core/pit and easily ingest them. The fruit is safe, the leaves and roots are not.


The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.

Baby food

Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources

Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. NEVER, EVER feed COOKED bones!

Cat food

Generally too high in protein and fats.

Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine

Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.

Citrus oil extracts

Can cause vomiting.

Cocoa Bean Mulch

Not a food, but ever present around homes. Symptoms occur with the ingestion of 45 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight. Theobromine deaths have been reported after ingestion of 52 mg per pound of body weight. Cocoa bean mulch contains 0.19%-2.98% theobromine (54 - 847 mg/oz).


Not a food, but common in the home. Can cause vomiting. lack of appetite, depression, seizures, collapse, diarrhoea, burns to mouth.


Should not be used in pets with immune system disorders such as lymphoma, autoimmune disease, or suppressed immune systems.

Fat trimmings

Can cause pancreatitis.


Affects the blood's ability to clot. If it is given with aspirin or 'blood thinners' such as Coumadin, severe bleeding could result.


Can cause increased blood pressure.

Grapes and raisins

Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.


Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.

Human vitamin supplements containing iron

Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.


May have an adverse effect in animals with autoimmune thyroid disease.

Liver (large amounts)

Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.

Macadamia nuts

Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.

Ma huang

From the Ephedra plant can cause agitation, hallucinations, rapid heart rates and seizures.


Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.


Affects the central nervous system and can interfere with other drugs. It should not be given to animals with heart, kidney or liver disease; immunosuppression; or a history of anxiety or seizures.

Milk and other dairy products

Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhoea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets. Cottage cheese and yoghurt appear to be more stomach friendly. 

Mouldy or spoiled food, garbage

Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhoea and can also affect other organs.


Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.


Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)

Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.


Can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and gastrointestinal tract - not recommended for either cats or dogs.


Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Pits from peaches and plums

Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.


Won't make them sick, but is a significant choking hazard. 

Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems

Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock.

Raw egg whites

Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw fish

Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.


If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.


Italian and curly parsley and coriander are considered to be non-toxic and edible, but may cause stomach irritation. Mace, paprika and turmeric should be avoided completely.

St. John's Wort

May prolong or increase the effects of certain narcotic drugs and anesthetics.


Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a "string foreign body."

Sugary foods

Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.

Table scraps (in large amounts)

Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.


Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.


Ripe tomatoes are not toxic, however the green parts of the tomato plant are considered toxic.

Yeast dough

Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.


The effects of many natural remedies on pregnant animals and their developing offspring are, in many cases, unknown.

If you are thinking about giving a nutraceutical or herbal supplement to your pet, discuss it first with your veterinarian. If your pet is already on one of these therapies, inform your veterinarian. It may influence prescribing of other medications, the results of certain laboratory tests, or timing of surgery. In human medicine, the American Society of Anaesthesiologists has recommended that patients stop taking all natural remedies at least two weeks before surgery.


:: Poisonous Plants :: Non-Poisonous Plants :: Poisoned! :: Foods to Avoid ::
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