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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.

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hand of woman holding a bowl with food for dog which waiting mealrodimov/Shutterstock

The “feed me”look

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.

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delicious Raisins as background Grape Raisin texture.titov dmitriy/Shutterstock

Grapes and raisins

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. Find out what your dog should be eating with these dog food brands vets buy for their own pets.

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Detail of white sugar crystals from sugar beetClaudio Divizia/Shutterstock

Artificial sweeteners

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.

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A Collection of Freshly Picked Garlic Bulbs.daseaford/Shutterstock

Garlic

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. Beware of these scary signs your “healthy” dog could actually be sick.

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Avocado also refers to the Avocado tree's fruit, which is botanically a large berry containing a single seed. Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients.haireena/Shutterstock

Avocados

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.

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chocolate barmargouillat photo/Shutterstock

Chocolate

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.

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Coffee beans coffee beansBukhta Yurii/Shutterstock

Coffee, tea, soda

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. Luckily, though, there are plenty of human foods that are good for your dog!

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A very close view of honey ham slices.BW Folsom/Shutterstock

High-fat foods

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. Cat owners, learn why you actually shouldn’t be giving your cat milk to drink.

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Creatively lit dual montage of cooked pork ribs in BBQ sauce with spices with separate image of the ribs after being eaten. Copy space.Simon Booth/Shutterstock

Bones

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.

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bright nectarines in the marketlanych/Shutterstock

Fruit with pits

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, making them some of the surprising foods that are toxic to dogs

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Red Rhubarb stalksdoolmsch/Shutterstock

Rhubarb

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.

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Macadamia nut organicdokurose/Shutterstock

Macadamia nuts

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. As for what you should be feeding your dog, this is the very best diet for dogs, according to vets.