Hazardous Human Foods Pets Should Avoid

We all like to give our pets some special treats every once in a while.  There are many foods that are obvious to avoid.  However, some foods are not that obvious.  Below is a list of common human foods to avoid.


Alcoholic beverages and food products made with alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, seizures and even death.  Take precautions to avoid exposing your pet to alcohol.


Avocados contain persin. Large quantities could cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs. Persin is in the leaves, seed and bark, as well as the fruit.  The avocado seed can cause an obstruction in the intestinal tract resulting in the need for surgery, it left untreated, could result in death.


Methylxanthines are found in these foods and when ingested by cats and dogs can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate especially baker’s chocolate has the highest potential for toxicity, while milk and white chocolate can still pose a risk.

Coconut and Coconut Oil:

Ingestion of small amounts are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Coconut water is high in potassium which can cause serious electrolyte imbalances that can be life threatening.  Best to avoid feeding to your pet.

Fat from meat, both cooked and uncooked:

This can cause a painful and potentially life threatening condition called pancreatitis in dogs.

Milk and milk-based products:

These can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems for your pet.They can also trigger food allergies, which can cause itchy skin. The enzyme lactase which aids in breaking down lactose is minimal in pets.

Macadamia Nuts:

Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.  As few as 6 roasted or raw macadamia nuts can make a dog sick.


Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.


Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death. It is best to avoid feeding chips, pretzels, ham or any other foods high in salt.

Yeast dough:

Bread dough needs to rise and it would do that in your pet’s stomach if they ate it. As it swells inside, the dough can stretch your dog’s abdomen and cause a lot of pain. When the yeast ferments the dough, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Onions, Garlic, Chives:

These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

Grapes and Raisins:

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure potentially leading to death. Ongoing research is being done to determine the exact cause of the toxicity.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones:

Bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli can be harmful to pets and humans.  This bacteria is contained in raw meat and eggs.   Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Choking, fractured teeth and intestinal obstruction are all possible consequences of feeding bones to your pet..

Corn on the Cob:

Corn cob is not easily digested and can pass from the stomach into the small intestine causing a life threatening intestinal obstruction.

Persimmons, Peaches  and Plums:

The seeds or pits are the issue with these fruits.  Seeds from persimmons can cause intestinal obstructions. This can also happen if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to people and dogs.