11 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pet
Some human food can be dangerous to your pets. Educate yourself on foods to avoid so your pet stays healthy and happy.
The “feed me”lookrodimov/Shutterstock
When you’re having a tasty snack and your pet looks up at you with those eyes, it can be tempting to toss them a bite. We love our pets and we like to show them how much we love them by giving them special treats, but not all foods are safe. Some human foods are dangerous for our pets, resulting in stomach upset, seizures, even death. Here’s a list of common human foods that you should never feed your pet. (Pssst… here are 15 ways you can tell if your cat is mad at you, too.)
Grapes and raisinstitov dmitriy/Shutterstock
Grapes and raisins might be healthy for humans but can make dogs and cats very sick. Pets can develop severe kidney damage after eating grapes or raisins, which can lead to kidney failure and even death. Not every dog or cat will experience kidney problems, but since there’s no way of knowing if your pet will get sick, it’s best to avoid grapes and raisins altogether.
Artificial sweetenersClaudio Divizia/Shutterstock
Xylitol, a popular artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free candy and gum, is extremely dangerous for dogs and cats, causing a spike in insulin and a severe drop in blood glucose. If not treated immediately, pets will develop hypoglycemic seizures and go into shock. Symptoms begin suddenly and will result in death without medical intervention. Check out the 50 secrets your pet doesn’t want you to know.
Even though you may find natural health sources that claim garlic, a member of the allium family, is safe for pets or that the benefits outweigh the risks, ingestion of garlic can be deadly to dogs and cats. It results in the formation of particles called Heinz bodies on red blood cells, causing the liver to see these otherwise normal red blood cells as damaged then filter them out of circulation. This results in low red blood cell count—anemia—which can cause lethargy, difficulty breathing, and death.
While most likely safe for dogs and cats, avocados are toxic to birds and large animals like cows. The compound persin causes difficulty breathing, swelling, anorexia in pet birds, and mastitis and digestive problems in goats, sheep, cattle, and horses.
A compound in chocolate called theobromine is toxic to dogs and cats. It can cause hyperactivity, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, even death. Theobromine is more plentiful in darker chocolate but even milk and white chocolate are dangerous.
Coffee, tea, sodaBukhta Yurii/Shutterstock
Dogs and cats are more sensitive to caffeine than we are, so even small amounts can make them excitable and jittery. Large doses of caffeine can cause heart arrhythmia, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma. Drinks, snacks, and medicine containing caffeine should be kept away from pets. Check out the 26 secrets your pet store won’t tell you—but you should know.
High-fat foodsBW Folsom/Shutterstock
While delicious, fatty foods like bacon and ham are dangerous for dogs and cats who aren’t accustomed to eating high-fat foods. Ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea and also pancreatitis, an extremely painful digestive condition that requires hospitalization and intensive treatment.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, cooked bones are dangerous treats for pets. They splinter easily and can puncture delicate gastrointestinal tissue, leading to a life-threatening condition called peritonitis that occurs when intestinal contents leak into the abdominal cavity. The only treatment is surgery.
Fruit with pitslanych/Shutterstock
Peaches, plums, nectarines, and other pitted fruits are dangerous on two fronts. Not only are the pits the perfect size to become lodged in the intestines, causing an obstruction, but pits also contain the poison cyanide. Don’t miss these 12 other foods that are toxic to dogs.
When your pets—especially dogs—head for the rhubarb plant, watch out: The leaves can cause a drop in blood calcium levels. Your pet will salivate, have tremors, lose her appetite, be lethargic, and could end up with kidney failure.
This is a problem for dogs: Macadamia nut toxicity results in vomiting, weakness, tremors, fever, and lethargy. Veterinarians aren’t exactly sure what the mechanism of the toxicity is, but it isn’t fatal. Next, learn the 50 things your veterinarian really wants you to know.