|8 people foods that
are toxic to pets
Most pet owners have heard chocolate is poisonous to pets, but do they know that other
common foods may also be toxic for dogs and cats? Every day Pet Poison Helpline receives many
calls about pets getting into people food. Here are eight of the most harmful.
What they’re in: Uncooked grapes, raisins, and currants are likely more
toxic than cooked fruit.
Don’t forget about raisins in cereals, trail mixes, baked goods, and snack
Threat to pets: These fruits can cause acute kidney failure in dogs and
may cause kidney failure in cats and ferrets as well.
While not all dogs and cats will develop kidney failure, it’s impossible to
know which pets will be sensitive to these fruits. Therefore, all pets—
especially dogs—that ingest grapes, raisins, or currants should be
monitored closely and treated appropriately.
If a small dog or cat eats just a small number of grapes or raisins, this is considered
|To help you protect
your Pet, we have added
Topics can be found in
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Grapes, raisins, and currants
What it's in: Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, tea
bags, soda, energy drinks, and diet pills.
Theobromine—a cousin chemical to caffeine—is also found in chocolate (see
Threat to pets: Pets are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people.
While a couple laps of coffee, tea, or soda won’t poison most pets, the ingestion of
moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags, or one to two diet pills can easily be
fatal in small animals.
What it's in: When it comes to chocolate, dark equals dangerous. That’s because
the darker the chocolate, the larger the amount of theobromine—a cousin chemical to
Thus, baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and gourmet dark
chocolates are more toxic than milk chocolate. White chocolate has very little
theobromine and will not cause poisoning in pets.
Threat to pets: The dose ingested determines the danger. Pets that ingest a few
M&Ms or a bite of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate
For milk chocolate, any ingestion of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight
may put dogs and cats at risk. Ingestions of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of
body weight of dark or semi-sweet chocolate may cause poisoning.
Almost all ingestions of baker’s chocolate can result in poisoning and are considered
Very young pets, geriatric pets, and animals with underlying disease are at a higher
risk for poisoning than healthy, adult dogs and cats.
Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis
(inflammation of the pancreas) after eating chocolate or baked goods containing
What it's in: Xylitol is a common sugar-substitute used in sugar-free chewing gum,
breath mints, candies, and baked goods. It’s also found in some smoking-cessation
products like nicotine gum.
Xylitol can be purchased in bulk for cooking at home, and because of its dental
plaque fighting properties, nontoxic amounts can be found in some pet oral-care
Threat to pets: Xylitol may cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and can
cause liver damage to dogs.
Cats and people do not experience this problem.
The typical dose needed to cause poisoning is at least 0.05 grams per pound of
body weight. The average piece of chewing gum or breath mint contains between
0.22 to 1.0 gram of xylitol. Thus, a 10-pound dog would only have to eat one piece of
gum to achieve a potentially toxic dose.
The amount of xylitol typically found in most pet oral-care products is very small and,
when used properly, these products aren’t expected to cause poisoning unless a dog
ingests a very large amount.
What they’re in: The small amount of garlic sometimes found in dog treats is unlikely
to be harmful to dogs. However, if cats or dogs ingest a tasty pan of sautéed onions,
garlic, or leeks, poisoning may result.
The ingestion of large amounts of garlic pills or powder may also cause poisoning.
Garlic was once thought of as a “home remedy” for flea infestations; however, it has
been shown to be ineffective and is not recommended by Pet Poison Helpline.
Threat to pets: These vegetables can cause red blood cell destruction (specifically,
Heinz body formation) and result in anemia.
Ingestion of onions or garlic greater than 0.5 percent of a dog’s body weight is
potentially toxic. For example, this equates to a 30-pound dog ingesting about 2.5
ounces of onion or garlic.
Cats and Japanese breeds of dogs (Akita, Shiba Inu) are even more sensitive to the
effects of these plants.
Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks
What it's in: Uncooked homemade and store-bought bread dough that contains
Threat to pets: The dark, warm environment of a pet’s stomach acts as an oven and
encourages the dough to continue rising. This can result in a bowel obstruction or a
bloated or distended stomach. The stomach may then twist, leading to a gastric
dilitation and volvulus (GDV).
This is a life-threatening situation that requires emergency abdominal surgery and
treatment for shock.
As the yeast ferments in the stomach, it releases alcohol, which may lead to alcohol
poisoning (see alcohol).
What it's in: Alcoholic drinks aside, alcohol can be found in some surprising places.
Rum-soaked cakes or candies and dressings containing alcohol may be poisonous
Alcohol is also a major byproduct of ingested yeast-bread dough (see yeast-bread
Threat to pets: Even small amounts of alcohol, especially when ingested by small
pets, can cause life-threatening toxicity.
What they’re in: Butter, oils, meat drippings, grease, chocolate, and meat scraps.
Threat to pets: Fatty foods may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
when ingested, especially by dogs.
Certain breeds, miniature Schnauzers in particular, are more likely to develop
pancreatitis than other breeds.
Pet Poison Helpline is
a service available 24
hours, seven days a week
for pet owners and
veterinary team members
who require assistance
treating a potentially
poisoned pet and can
provide treatment advice
for poisoning cases of all
species, including dogs,
cats, birds, small
mammals, large animals,
and exotic species.
As the most cost-effective
option for animal poison
control care, Pet Poison
Helpline’s fee of $35 per
incident includes follow-
up consultation for the
duration of the poisoning
It is available in North
America by calling
can be found online at
With all the potentially toxic people foods out there, it’s helpful to know which are safe
for cats and dogs. Here are some Pet Poison Helpline-approved foods, which are
both safe and low-calorie options for pets
• Green beans
• Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn
• Sweet potatoes
• Ice chips (Freeze cubes of diluted beef or chicken broth for a real frozen treat.)
Pet-safe people food