Warning: These Common Household Foods Will Kill Your Pets

Dogs and cats are masters when it comes to the art of begging for human food. With stares and gentle nudges, they urge their owners to feed them scraps from the table or pieces of whatever food is on hand. While it might be tempting to cave in and feed a loved pet people food, stop and question whether it is safe to do so. Not everything that humans like you or I eat can be safely consumed by our pets. While not every food item is dangerous, there are many items that can cause an animal to get sick or even die. Our pets rely on us to keep them safe, and in this case, that means keeping them away from the household foods that can hurt them.


Photo by David Roseborough (Flickr)


It might seem “fun” or “cute” to give a pet a few drops of alcohol, but in actuality, it can cause them a great deal of harm. Consumption of any kind of alcohol can cause an animal to suffer from dehydration, diarrhea, or vomiting. In more severe cases, your pet might fall into a coma, or worse, it might die.


Before feeding anything to your pet, make certain that it doesn’t contain caffeine. Common caffeinated items around the house are coffee, tea, and soda. Make sure your pets are kept away from coffee grounds and tea bags that have been tossed out in the trash. Some of the symptoms of caffeine ingestion include vomiting, increased thirst, and an elevated heart rate. Extreme cases of caffeine ingestion can cause seizures, coma, and death.


Chocolate might be a treat for humans, but to your dog or cat, it’s toxic. That’s because it contains caffeine and a substance called theobromine that causes poisoning. Pets that eat chocolate in any form may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and respiratory problems. The severity of these conditions depends on the amount of chocolate that your pet eats, and in large quantities, chocolate can kill.


Over the past ten years, grapes have been recognized as a toxic substance for animals. Ingestion can, in severe cases, result in problems such as kidney damage or, in the worst cases, kidney failure. Most often, if an animal has ingested grapes or raisins, it will experience vomiting and more frequent urination. The degree of illness that can come from eating grapes or raisins depends on the specific animal, as not every pet will develop symptoms of poisoning. Contact a veterinarian as quickly as possible if you discover that your pet has been eating either food.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous for dogs. After eating this type of nut, the dog might experience vomiting, elevated heart rate and temperature, weakness, and even paralysis. If you think your dog might have eaten macadamia nuts, take it to the vet right away.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are found in a lot of the foods that people normally eat. While we can eat them safely, they are harmful for our dogs and are especially dangerous to cats. Pets that eat large quantities of these may experience diarrhea and/or vomiting. Allicin, which is a toxin found in onions and garlic, may damage or destroy your pet’s red blood cells.

Xylitol Sweetened Candy/Gum

Artificially sweetened candy or gum, particularly candy that’s made with xylitol, can cause a sudden and serious drop in your pet’s blood sugar. Xyliton is a sugar alcohol that is used to sweeten sugar-free foods. It may also cause liver failure or seizures and may even be fatal when eaten by animals. This sweetener can also be found in other sugar-free food items like cookies, for example.