Danger Ahead! Avoid These Toxic Foods for Pets

Get our checklist of dangerous foods plus what symptoms they can cause in your dog or cat.

by PetIQ Veterinary Council
Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

IMPORTANT PET PARENT TIP: If you think your pet has eaten something potentially poisonous, whether it’s a plant or food, call your veterinarian or ASPCA pet poison control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Moldy Food

  • Moldy Food

    Moldy foods may contain tremorgenic mycotoxins (toxic fungus), which can cause a severe reaction in your pet. Throw away moldy foods as quickly as possible and keep pets from getting inside refrigerators and cabinets.

    What to Look For: Muscle tremors, ataxia (impaired balance or coordination due to brain, nerves, or muscle damage), and convulsions lasting for days.


  • Chocolate

    You may already know this, but it is an important one. All chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, and dark chocolate has the most.

    What to Look For: Vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, and seizures. In large amounts, it can potentially cause the death of your pet.

Xylitol (Sugar-free Foods)

  • Xylitol (Sugar-free Foods)

    This sugar substitute is used in candy, breath mints, toothpaste, and desserts. It’s highly toxic to dogs, and symptoms can start in as little as 20 minutes.

    What to Look For: Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy/weakness/ your pet collapses, and ataxia. If untreated, it can cause your pet to go into a coma, have potential liver failure or death.

Rising Bread Dough

  • Rising Bread Dough

    Yeast and sugars in raw bread dough that causes the bread to rise to give off ethanol as a by-product causing the dough to swell in your pet’s stomach.

    What to Look For: Abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting from the physical dough, impaired coordination, or depression from the ethanol.


  • Grapes/Raisins

    Never feed your dog or cat these fruits; they can cause irreversible kidney failure.

    What to Look For: Vomiting, lethargy, not eating (anorexia), diarrhea, drinking more water, increased urination or decrease in drinking water and urination.

Peaches, Plums & Persimmons

  • Peaches, Plums & Persimmons

    Peach and plum pits have cyanide, which is highly poisonous to both animals and humans. The seeds from persimmons can cause gastrointestinal (GI) problems in dogs.

    What to Look For: Salivation, rapid breathing to difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, increased heart rate, convulsions, or respiratory paralysis.

Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks & Shallots

  • Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks & Shallots

    No matter how you slice it, plants in the Alliaceae family are toxic, even in powder or cooked form.

    What to Look For: Weakness and lethargy due to anemia from red blood cell damage.

Macadamia Nuts

  • Macadamia Nuts

    If your pet is sensitive to nuts, you will start to see signs within 12 hours of eating a Macadamia nut.

    What to Look For: Possible weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, and hyperthermia.

Milk, Ice Cream, Cheese and Other Dairy Products

  • Milk, Ice Cream, Cheese and Other Dairy Products

    The myth is that cats love dairy. It’s true; however, their stomachs don’t agree. Most cats are lactose-intolerant, which means they can’t process dairy. Dogs can also develop an allergy to milk-based products.

    What to Look For: Diarrhea and vomiting.

Raw Meat and Eggs

  • Raw Meat and Eggs

    Raw eggs and meat run the risk of salmonella and E. coli exposure in them and us.

    What to Look For: Digestive upset.

Certain household plants can also be hazardous to our pets. Check out our list of poisonous plants here.

Share this Article:


Articles You May Also Like

Ticks: A Big Problem for You & Your Pet

Ticks: A Big Problem for You & Your Pet

Protecting your pets from ticks starts with understanding their lifecycle, which disease they can spread in less than 10 minutes, and what routine test your veterinarian can run to detect it.

read more