If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested
and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and
diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors,
seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pet.
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea,
decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors,
abnormal blood acidity, coma and death.
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds
and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion,
difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause
kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.
Macadamia nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in
dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down
lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell
damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is
consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic
confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods
or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets
large quantities of these foods.
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be
harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the
absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet
raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the
wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or
sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning
in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea,
depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. In other words, keep
those salty chips to yourself!
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and
toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The
increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include
vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures.
Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be
painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after
the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats.
However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s
daily caloric intake.