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If you have a dog, or any other pet for that matter, you’ve probably been warned to keep them away from certain foods. Your friends may say in passing, “Keep your dog away from that chocolate cake!” But what other foods are hazardous to your pets?

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Surprisingly enough, many natural foods that are nutritious for us are actually harmful to our pets. The following list may come as a shock, but these are the foods you need to make sure your pets steer clear of:


Who knew? And yes, that includes raisins and wine. This discovery has only been made in recent years, but grapes are highly toxic to some animals, so much so that as little as five or six grapes could kill a small dog! This is because grapes can cause kidney failure in some animals, including many common pets.

If your pet is reacting poorly to grapes, some warning signs include loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy, usually within 6 to 12 hours of ingestion. Kidney failure can occur as quickly as a day after eating grapes, but it could also take a few days.

When pets eat grapes, many vets will treat the toxicity by inducing vomiting in hopes of getting the grapes out, or even giving your pet activated charcoal, often used in poison control procedures for humans. Some vets will also hook pets up to IVs and keep them for observation, particularly focusing on their kidney function.

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Onions and Garlic

You may love onions and garlic, but your pets certainly won’t. The Allium species of plants, which include onions, garlic, and even leeks and chives, can be super toxic to some pets. They can all severely harm your pets’ red blood cells, quite literally causing them to burst. Cats are extremely sensitive to these foods, so keep your furry friends away from them. Even a little bit of onion powder can be toxic.

Signs that your pet has ingested these foods include diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, weakness, and difficulty breathing. Ingesting these foods can even cause death, so please keep your pets away from them!

Raw Dough 

Not that anyone would ever necessarily want to eat raw bread dough, but be sure to keep this away from your pets. When it begins its fermentation process, it produces ethanol, ingestion of which can essentially bring on alcohol poisoning in your pets. This can cause some really unfortunate side effects including seizures, incoordination, breathing problems, and even death.

The fermentation process also produces carbon dioxide, which can make your pet become so gassy that they bloat and go into shock, potentially causing death.

Macadamia Nuts 

A great source of protein for human beings, these delicious nuts can cause some harsh side effects in dogs. Though your pet won’t die from eating them, they could certainly get pretty sick and experience pain and/or swelling.


This naturally occurring sweetener can lower your pet’s blood sugar dramatically, which can cause them to collapse or even seize as quickly as an hour after eating it! Even just a few pieces of sugar-free gum containing Xylitol could cause a small dog to experience some pretty serious side effects. Xylitol could also lead to liver failure a day or two after ingesting it.


Avocados might taste great on toast, but keep them away from your pets! Avocados can cause some pretty serious damage when ingested by birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and other animals. If a bird eats an avocado, it could be at risk of severe cardiovascular damage or even death. Other symptoms for pets include swelling and head and neck problems.

Chocolate and Coffee

Keep your pets clear of caffeine in general, okay? Coffee, chocolate, and other caffeinated food and beverage products contain methylxanthines, which can cause many of your pets to vomit, experience diarrhea, pant, or become super thirsty and hyperactive. It can also lead to tremors, seizures, heart arrhythmia, or even death.


Little bits of liquorice may not be bad for your pet, but in large quantities, does pose some risks. Excess consumption of liquorice can cause liver damage, increase blood pressure, and weaken muscles. Liquorice can be especially dangerous to pet rats, as it can cause neurological poisoning. So, if you love eating black liquorice, keep your big bags of candy out of reach of your pets!

Final Thoughts 

It may seem strange that some foods that are great for our own bodies can harm our pets, but knowing this information is an important part of responsible pet ownership! It’s essential that we do our own research in order to figure out what helps or hinders our furry friends’ bodies.

For more information about pet health, check out the following CE articles:

Do Your Pets Need To Be Vaccinated? Here Are The Risks That Your Vet Doesn’t Really Know About

Are You Poisoning Your Pet? Things You Need To Know About The Pet Food Industry

Never Ignore These 10 Serious Symptoms From Your Dog

If Cancer Is Not The Problem, What Is It Actually Telling Us?

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