15 Most Common Human Foods That Are Toxic to Pets

While sharing a meal with your furry friend can be a heartwarming experience, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers certain human foods pose to your pet’s health. Many items found in our kitchens may be harmless to us but can be toxic or harmful to our beloved pets. In this guide, we’ll explore 15 Most Common Human Foods that are Harmful for Pets, emphasising the importance of keeping these items out of their reach.


1. Chocolate:

Chocolate, particularly dark and baking chocolate, contains theobromine and caffeine, which can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingesting chocolate can lead to symptoms ranging from restlessness and increased heart rate to more severe issues such as seizures and, in extreme cases, death. Keep all chocolate products, including cocoa powder and chocolate-covered snacks, well out of your pet’s reach.


2. Grapes and Raisins:

Despite being healthy for humans, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. The exact compound responsible for this toxicity is unknown, so it’s best to avoid giving your pets any amount of grapes or raisins. Ingesting even a small quantity can lead to lethargy, vomiting, and kidney failure.

3. Onions and Garlic:

Onions and garlic, whether raw, cooked, or in powdered form, contain compounds that can damage a pet’s red blood cells and lead to anaemia. Cats are particularly susceptible to onion and garlic toxicity. Symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, and pale gums. Keep these ingredients out of your pet’s diet and avoid feeding them dishes that contain onion or garlic.

4. Xylitol:

Xylitol, a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, and certain baked goods, is highly toxic to dogs. Ingesting xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can result in seizures, loss of coordination, and even liver failure. Keep all products containing xylitol away from your pets.

5. Alcohol:

Alcohol, whether in the form of beverages, uncooked dough, or fermented products, is toxic to pets. Ingesting alcohol can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, and even respiratory failure. Always store alcoholic beverages securely, and be cautious about any food items that may contain alcohol.

6. Avocado:

While avocados are a nutritious treat for humans, they contain a substance called persin that can be harmful to some animals, particularly birds and large animals like horses. Ingesting persin may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and, in extreme cases, heart congestion. Keep avocados and guacamole away from your pets.

7. Caffeine:

Caffeine is found in various products, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some medications. Ingesting caffeine can lead to symptoms such as restlessness, increased heart rate, tremors, and, in severe cases, collapse. Ensure that your pets do not have access to any products containing caffeine.

8. Macadamia Nuts:

Macadamia nuts, whether raw or roasted, can cause weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. Ingesting even a small amount of macadamia nuts can lead to these symptoms, which usually manifest within 12 hours of consumption. Keep all products containing macadamia nuts, such as cookies and candies, away from your pets.

9. Alcohol-Containing Foods:

Certain foods, such as rum-soaked cakes or fruitcakes, may contain alcohol. The combination of alcohol and other toxic ingredients in these treats can pose a double threat to your pets. Avoid feeding your pets any foods that contain alcohol, even in small amounts.

10. Dairy Products:

While small amounts of plain dairy products may be tolerated by some pets, many are lactose intolerant. Feeding your pets dairy products can lead to digestive upset, including diarrhoea and stomach discomfort. If you want to treat your pet with dairy, choose lactose-free options or consult with your veterinarian.

11. Bones and Fat Trimmings:

Cooked bones, especially those from poultry or fish, can splinter and cause internal injuries or blockages. Fatty foods, like trimmings from meat, can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Avoid feeding your pets cooked bones or fatty scraps from your meals.

12. Nutmeg:

Nutmeg, often used as a spice in baked goods and holiday dishes, can be toxic to pets. Ingesting nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures, and central nervous system abnormalities. Keep foods containing nutmeg out of your pet’s reach.

13. Salt:

Excessive salt intake can lead to sodium ion poisoning in pets. Foods with high salt content, such as salty snacks and processed foods, should be avoided. Symptoms of salt poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, and, in severe cases, tremors or seizures. Always monitor your pet’s salt intake and avoid feeding them salty foods.

14. Citrus Fruits:

Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, contain compounds that can cause stomach upset in pets. Ingesting citrus fruits may lead to gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Keep citrus fruits and products containing citrus away from your pets.

15. Raw Meat and Fish:

While raw meat and fish are often part of a pet’s natural diet, there are risks associated with feeding them these items. Raw diets can carry the risk of bacterial contamination, such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can pose health hazards to both pets and their owners. Consult with your veterinarian before incorporating raw food into your pet’s diet.



Understanding which human foods are toxic to pets is crucial for their safety and well-being. While sharing the occasional treat with your furry friend can be a joyful experience, always prioritise their health and avoid offering foods that may pose risks. If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet poison control hotline immediately. By staying informed and vigilant, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your beloved companions.

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