People Foods Can Be Dangerous for Pets

What may be innocuous foods for you may be highly toxic for your pet to consume. Before you slip them a snack, know what foods can be harmful—or even life-threatening—to your pet.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), here are some foods to keep out of reach and the adverse effects they can have:

  • Avocado: Cardiovascular damage and death in birds. May also be a problem for rabbits, donkeys, horses, and goats.
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener in gum, candy, toothpaste, etc.): Liver failure in most animals.
  • Chocolate: Vomiting and diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants: Kidney failure in some dogs.
  • Macadamia nuts: Weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.
  • Onions, garlic, and chives: Gastrointestinal irritation and possible red blood cell damage. Cats are more susceptible than dogs.

For more information about dangerous foods for your animals, visit the FDA’s website at and the ASPCA’s website at

Follow these food guidelines for your pet, but also understand that how food is processed varies from one animal to another—what may be toxic for one animal may be fine for another, even of the same species. Size of the animal and the amount of the food ingested are also factors; what may be deadly for a small dog may not cause problems for a large dog.

If you have questions, consult your veterinarian. Be sure to always check their license by going to the California Veterinary Medical Board’s website at

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