Paws for thought: The human foods that will poison your pet

Oct 12, 2019
They may be delicious to humans but for dogs and cats there are some definite no-go foods that could leave them incredibly ill. Source: Getty

Pets love nothing more than to hoover up any dropped food or crumbs left behind when you’re enjoying a tasty meal – but there are some common and delicious human foods that could put their health at serious risk.

You have surely been met with those puppy dog eyes while munching away on a tasty treat but it’s not worth risking your pet’s life when you’re not positive what ingredients your meal has in it. So, before you give in and drop that bit of food on the ground for them to devour, make sure it’s not on the danger list.


It’s sweet and delicious but chocolate is an absolute no-go for dogs and cats. The tasty treat contains methylxanthines which are incredibly dangerous to pets and can cause serious problems.

Although easy enough for humans to digest, in dogs and cats methylxanthines may lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, excessive thirst and hyperactivity. Not to mention the potentially deadly symptoms such as an abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.

Dark chocolate is considered the worst for pets due to its high levels of methylxanthines, while white contains the least. However, it’s best to avoid chocolate altogether to keep your dog or cat happy and healthy.

Artificial sweetener (xylitol):

It’s not healthy for humans to consume too much artificial sweetener, but it’s even worse for pets who can’t digest it easily. From chewing gum to soft drinks, diet and sugar-free products should not be touched by dogs and cats if they contain Xylitol.

The sugar substitute can cause pets to go into hypoglycaemia – a condition that occurs when the blood glucose levels drop too low. This can subsequently lead to liver failure and blood clotting disorders.

Grapes and raisins

They’re healthy enough for humans but grapes and raisins should not be consumed in any form by dogs. There is actually a toxin in the products which carries a risk of causing severe liver damage and kidney failure.

So, when eating those cakes, biscuits and cereals including grapes and raisins, make sure not to drop any on the floor and certainly don’t use them as a treat for your four-legged friends.

Macadamia nuts:

They’re delicious on their own or in cookies and other sweet treats but unfortunately they are harmful to your furry friends. Consuming them can affect your pets’ muscles and nervous system, resulting in weakness, swollen limbs and panting.

Onions, garlic and chives:

Onions, garlic and chives are often included in dinners and lunches for humans to add an extra bit of flavour, but for pets they are incredibly dangerous to consume. It doesn’t matter if they’re dry, cooked into a meal or raw, with all three causing gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage for dogs and cats alike.

Even more concerning is that the symptoms may not even show immediately, with it sometimes taking a few days for the warning signs to present themselves. Things to look out for include vomiting, diarrhoea and an elevated heart rate.

Corn on the cob:

Smothered in butter, salt and pepper, corn on the cob is a mouthwatering addition to a main meal for humans and most likely something your pets would enjoy, but feeding it to the dog is a terrible idea. Although the corn kernels themselves can be easily digested, the cob itself can cause a blockage in your pet’s intestine. They could become dehydrated and the cob could damage the inside of the intestine causing bleeding.

Milk and dairy products:

Lactose intolerance is becoming a common problem in humans who are unable to digest dairy products properly. It can lead to severe bloating and abdominal pain as the body struggles to digest it.

In dogs and some cats, it’s even worse, leading to diarrhoea and digestive problems. While it’s tempting to treat them to a different drink, it’s not worth the risk, so best to stick with water.

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Were you aware that these foods could harm your pets? Do you know of any other foods that are poisonous to dogs and cats?

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