The Animal Clinic of Bayonne Blog

Foods That Are Hazardous To Your Pets Health
November 15th, 2010

Some pet owners may not even realize that certain "human" foods can be highly toxic to their pets health - here is a complete list so you know exactly what to avoid.

Alcoholic Beverages

The problem with alcoholic beverages is they are often sweet which can attract both cats and dogs. These should never be offered to your pet - they can cause serious illnesses or can even be fatal.

Here are some of the signs/side effects your pet may have digested alcohol:

  • Uncoordinated
  • Excitement
  • Depression
  • Excessive urination
  • Breathing rate is slowed
  • Cardiac arrest and death


Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic principle known as Persin. The Guatemalan variety is the most toxic – but all have toxic potential. They cause vomiting/diarrhea - primarily gastrointestinal distress.


Chocolate contains theobromine - a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

Here are some of the signs/side effects your pet may have digested chocolate:

  • Initial excitation
  • Increased drinking and urinating
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Theobromine causes an increased heart rate and arrhythmia - Seizures can follow
  • Death is also possible

If you believe your pet has consumed chocolate you should immediately induce vomiting, give activated charcoal and go to the vet if depression and seizures begin. Bakers chocolate and high cocoa content chocolate is the most toxic. The toxic dose is 2 baking squares for a 10lb dog - Regular chocolate bars have little real chocolate and are seldom toxic.


Coffee contains dangerous components called xanthines which cause nervous system or urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation.

Fatty Foods

The primary concern here is severe gastrointestinal upset - and in some cases Pancreatitis. This can be fatal in some pets - and it is almost always triggered by a High Fat Meal such as gravy or bacon.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscles of dogs - this can lead to paralysis.

Moldy or Spoiled Foods

Many molds contain a type of toxin called an Aflatoxin. This is thought to be a common cause of compost toxicity. Signs include GI (Vomiting/Diarrhea), muscle tremors, in-coordination, elevated temperature, excessive salivation and liver damage. Avoid feeding anything moldy to your cat or dog.

Onions & Onion Powder

Onions contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop anemia - 1 onion can cause this - fortunately all dogs recover once they are stopped from ingesting onions.

Raisins and Grapes

As few as 6 grapes and raisins have caused acute kidney failure in some dogs. The toxic ingredient is not yet known. There is no treatement. Avoid feeding any grapes or raisins to your dogs.

Yeast Dough

The yeast dough/uncooked bread dough will rise in your pet’s stomach causing severe gastrointestinal distress (vomiting/diarrhea), bloating and signs of alcohol toxicity.


Xylitol is a artificial sweeter found in “SUGAR FREE” products, such as gum, candy etc.

Signs relate to a sudden drop in glucose (blood sugar), in-coordination, collapse and seizures.

Avoid feeding any gum/candy to your pets.

Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums

Ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic.

They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock.

Note – it’s the seeds and stems that contain the toxic component, not the fruit itself.

Potato Peelings and Green Looking Potatoes

Potatoes and other solanum species, including the tomato, are members of the nightshade family of plants.

These plants contain solanine and other toxic alkaloids which, if eaten in large enough amounts, can produce drooling, severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, confusion, behavioral changes, weakness, dilated pupils and slowed heart rate.


High levels of nutmeg can be toxic, even fatal. The toxic component is currently unknown. Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death.

Tomato Leaves & Stems (Green Parts)

The green parts of the tomato plant are considered toxic because they contain solanine, which has the potential to produce significant gastrointestinal and central nervous system effects.