People Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Alcohol   Avocado   Chocolate/coffee   Caffeine   Grapes   Human medicines   Macadamia   Milk   Moldy food   Mushrooms   Onions, etc   Salt   Xylitol   Yeast

Your pet may like to share your food, but be careful - some of your food can be dangerous for your pet! Here are some of the most toxic foods for animals. If your pet consumes anything from this list call your vet immediately, or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.


Depending on how much alcohol your animal ingests, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, difficulty breathing, coma, and could cause death.


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are quite sensitive to avocado poisoning, which can cause congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart.

Chocolate and Coffee

These foods contain methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate, as it has higher levels of methylxanthines. The ASPCA advices dog owners not to use cocoa mulch in the yard, as it can be toxic if eaten.


Caffeine is highly toxic to pets, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and possibly death.

Grapes & Raisins

Consumption of grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, especially for pets with existing health problems.

Human medicines

Although some human medications are prescribed for pets by veterinarians, others can be highly toxic and possibly fatal. In particular, Acetaminophen (found in Tylenol and similar products) can be fatal to cats. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving human medication to a pet.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, and tremors in dogs.


Milk and other milk-based products can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset, as some adult pets do not have significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk.

Moldy or Spoiled Food

Toxins in food mold can cause severe tremors and seizures that can last for hours or even days. Symptoms of food poisoning are severe vomiting, diarrhea and shock.


Mushrooms can contain toxins, which may cause your pet to go into shock, and could cause death.

Onions, Chives, and Garlic

Onions, chives and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation in your pet, and could lead to red blood cell damage causing anemia. Cats are at the highest risk, but dogs are also at some risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Pet foods may contain very small quantities of these foods and can be considered safe, but larger amounts of onions, chives or garlic (all members of the Allium plant species) are not recommended.


Consumption of salt can cause excessive thirst and urination in pets, and in large enough quantities can cause electrolyte imbalances. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products such as candy, gum, baked goods, mouthwash and toothpaste. Xylitol can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure.

Yeast Dough

Ingestion of yeast dough can cause gas to accumulate in your pet's digestive system, which is painful and can cause a rupture of the stomach or intestines. Once the dough has been baked it is no longer dangerous, so your pet can have a small amount of bread as a treat, provided it is less than 5% of your pet's daily caloric intake.