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Food that dogs and cats cannot eat

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

We treat our dogs and cats like they are our kids and we want to feed them what we eat. But our metabolism is not the same as theirs. For this reason, some foods are safe for humans to eat but may be toxic and potentially deadly for our fur kids.

What dogs cannot eat

  • Grapes and Raisins: Never feed grapes or raisins to your dog. These contain toxic compounds that are harmful to them. They have the potential to lead to rapid kidney failure and death. Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can make your dog sick, so it’s important to avoid giving them to your dog altogether.

  • Chocolate: We all know that dogs should never eat chocolate. The reason is that chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, two stimulants that dogs cannot metabolize. If your dog eats chocolate, he might have these symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. These symptoms may lead to more serious complications, such as internal bleeding, muscle tremors, seizures and death. Even darker and less sweet chocolates are bad for them and can be more poisonous than the sweetened kind. Please never feed your dog any type of chocolate.

  • Macadamia Nuts: These type of nuts contain an unknown toxin that may lead to vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, hyperthermia and depression when dogs consume them, even in tiny amounts. These nuts may elevate your dog's triglyceride levels because of the high fat content and cause pancreatitis.

  • Onions: We think that onions are harmless to our dogs but it is actually the opposite. Onions contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that is very toxic to dogs. This compound can damage their red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen through the body. This could lead to anemia. The symptoms of anemia in dogs are lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite and fainting. In severe cases, dogs may need a blood transfusion. Even the leaves, juice and onion powder are toxic.

  • Avocado: this fruit should never be consumed by dogs. Avocados contain a toxin called persin, which is very poisonous to them. This could lead to an accumulation of fluids in their lungs and chest, causing breathing difficulties, oxygen deprivation and even death. This toxin is found in all parts of the avocado (fruit, pit, leaves and bark). Always keep avocados away from your dog.

  • Garlic: This herb contains chemicals called thiosulfates, which are toxic to dogs. These chemicals may damage your dog’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. It's consumption may lead to symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. If dogs consume high amounts of garlic, they may need a blood transfusion. Never feed your dog garlic, even in small amounts.

  • Xylitol: Is a sugar-free sweetener added to some foods. It's nearly as sweet as sugar (sucrose), but has fewer calories. Xylitol can be found in candy, ice cream, chewing gum, chocolate, baked goods, jam, jellies, nut butter and toothpaste. When dogs consume xylitol, it may lead to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels and symptoms like muscle weakness and seizures. The effects of this sweetener can lead to more serious complications, such as liver damage and even death.

  • Nutmeg: This ground spice contains myristicin, a compound that is toxic to dogs when consumed in large amounts. It may cause disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, stomach pain and seizures. Avoid any baked goods or desserts that contain nutmeg and keep nutmeg out of your dog's reach.

  • Raw Yeast Dough: Yeast cells produce alcohol as they ferment, which may lead to alcohol poisoning and death if your dog consumes it . If your dog eats raw yeast dough, he may experience severe bloating, as the dough expands in their stomachs. This can cause difficulty breathing and weakness. Dogs may attempt to vomit up the bread dough, but the glutinous nature of the mass will make this difficult. As the condition progresses, the fermenting yeast cells will produce ethanol and the blood alcohol level will rise to toxic levels. Like other forms of alcohol poisoning, raw yeast dough can cause inebriation, lack of coordination, and central nervous system depression. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and make it more likely for a dog to survive, but severe cases can still be fatal. In some cases, the raw yeast dough may need to be surgically removed.

  • Cooked bones: Never feed your dog cooked bones. The leftovers from your dinner or the ones that you purchased. They are easy to break into sharp shards that can do a lot of damage when they pass through the gastrointestinal tract.

What cats cannot eat

  • Tuna: I thought that cats could eat tuna, but I was wrong. We know that fish is a good source of proteins, but not canned tuna. This can harm your cat. Once in a while, cats can eat canned tuna in very small quantities but not on a regular basis. Fish is actually not a natural diet for cats. They love the smell and taste of fish but this is because fish is also meat. Feeding canned tuna to your cat can cause severe malnutrition. It can lead to neurological symptoms like seizures, and loss of equilibrium. This includes raw tuna. Raw tuna contains high levels of mercury, which is not suitable for cats or for humans. It can lead to mercury poisoning. Tuna doesn’t provide all the nutrients that a cat needs. Excess tuna can cause Vitamin E, sodium, copper and calcium deficiency, which can cause inflammation. This can be extremely painful for cats. This health condition is called Yellow Fat Disease. Don't feed canned or raw tuna to your cat.

  • Onions, Garlic, Chives: Raw onion, Onion powder, cooked, or dehydrated can break down a cat's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Onion in a large or small quantity can cause poisoning. Same with garlic and chives, they can cause major health problems including death.

  • Milk and Other Dairy Products: When we were kids we always saw kitties drinking milk in the TV cartoons. The reality is that cats cannot process milk or dairy products. Most cats are lactose-intolerant and the result can be digestive upset with diarrhea.

  • Alcohol: Any type of alcohol is not good for your cat or dog (Beer, wine, spirits or foods containing alcohol). Alcohol has the same effect on a cat's liver and brain ashumans. An example: just two teaspoons of vodka can cause a coma in a 5-pound cat, and one more teaspoon could kill it. The higher the proof, the worse the symptoms. So never give your pet any kind of alcohol.

  • Grapes and Raisins: We think that giving grapes as a treat to our cats is harmless. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats and dogs. A small amount can make a cat ill. The symptoms are vomiting and hyperactivity. Sometimes cats don't show any symptoms but it is better to not give them any grapes and probably keep them out of your cat reach.

  • Fat and bones: These may be dangerous for cats. Fat, cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. And a cat can choke on a bone. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or cut the inside of your cat's digestive system.

  • Raw Eggs: One of the problems with giving your cat raw eggs is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. The second problem is the avidin (protein of the white part of the egg). This protein could interfere with the absorption of the B vitamin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your cat's coat.

  • Raw Meat and Fish: Raw meat and raw fish can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. In addition, an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, which is an essential B vitamin for your cat. A lack of thiamine can cause serious neurological problems and lead to convulsions and coma.

  • Dog Food: Maybe a tiny bit of dog food won't hurt your cat. Dog food has similar ingredients as cat food, but cat food is formulated specially for your cat. Dog food is not a substitute for cat food. They do have many of the same ingredients, but cat food is specially formulated for their needs, which include more protein as well as certain vitamins and fatty acids. A dog food diet can cause your cat to be severely malnourished.

  • Liver: You can give your cat a small amount of liver, but eating too much liver can cause vitamin A toxicity. This can affect your cat's bones. Some of the symptoms are deformed bones, bone growths on the elbows and spine, and osteoporosis. Vitamin A toxicity can also cause death.

What you can do if your pet eats something they shouldn't

Always keep the numbers of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 888- 426-4435

* The information on this blog is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your vet.


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