Toxic Foods For Dogs And Cats: A Guide

Estimated Reading Time: 4 min | Last Updated: June 10th, 2022

The struggle of saying no when our pets beg for food while we are eating is universal among pet parents. While it may be difficult to resist offering small morsels from our plates, it is the right thing to do. Not only do our pets have different nutritional requirements from us, but many human foods are not just harmful but toxic to them. What foods are toxic for dogs and cats? We’ve compiled a list of toxic foods for cats and dogs, as well as the signs and symptoms if they are ingested.

A-Z of toxic foods for dogs and cats

Below is a list of toxic foods for dogs and cats. This isn’t a full list, and it’s usually best to avoid giving your pet all human foods. If your pet does eat something and you’re unsure if it’s toxic, contact your veterinarian right away.



Glasses of beerAlcoholic beverages can be harmful to our pets if consumed in a large enough amount, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, impaired coordination, difficulties breathing, and tremors.


Avocados are foods toxic to dogsThe persin in avocado leaves and the skin is toxic to animals, especially birds. While cats and dogs aren’t as sensitive as other animals, it’s still something to be aware of. Also high in fat, avocados can contribute to pancreatitis in dogs.



Coffee and coffee beans are foods toxic to dogsDogs are particularly sensitive to caffeine. While a lap or two of coffee isn’t likely to hurt them, it may be fatal if consumed in excess. Vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, tremors, fast breathing, heart palpitations are all symptoms of caffeine poisoning.


Oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits are foods toxic to dogsCitric acid is present in all parts of citrus fruits (fruit, peel, seeds, leaves and stems), which can be harmful to dogs and cats. Your pet should only experience minor symptoms if a small amount is eaten. When a large quantity is ingested, though, it may cause nausea and vomiting. Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are all citrus fruits to keep away from your pet.


Group of chocolatesChocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs, and is a poisoning case we see often in our hospital. Caffeine and theobromine are chemicals found in chocolate that cause vomiting and diarrhoea on the mild side of the toxicity spectrum, as well as convulsions and heart arrhythmias on the severe end.


Garlic and chives

Chives and garlic are foods toxic to dogs and catsGarlic and chives, when eaten in small amounts, should not cause any issues. However, if ingested in large quantities they can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage.

Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants

Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants are foods toxic to dogsGrapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants contain a toxin that can induce severe liver damage and kidney failure in dogs. It doesn’t take eating many for dogs to become seriously ill. Vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, frequent urination, tiredness, abdominal discomfort, tremors, and seizures are all signs of poisoning. By the time clinical symptoms appear, the pet is already suffering from renal failure.


Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts in a white bowlMacadamias are toxic to dogs. It is still unknown what part of the macadamia causes harm, but lethargy, vomiting, tremors, abdominal discomfort, joint stiffness, and pale gums are among the signs of macadamia toxicity.

Milk and milk-based products

Milk, cheese and yoghurt are foods toxic to dogs and catsAs our cats and dogs are lactose intolerant, avoid giving them cow’s milk. Milk-based products can induce diarrhoea, constipation, and digestive upset.



Whole onions and chopped onions on wooden chopping boardOnions can be deadly to cats and dogs. They contain thiosulfate, a toxic substance poisonous to both cats and dogs. Haemolytic anaemia, when red blood cells burst throughout the body, occurs when this food is ingested.



Close up of salt in wooden measuring spoon and on tableWhen our pets consume too much salt, they can experience the same effects us humans do. When a pet eats too much salt, they may experience excessive thirst and urination, as well as sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of ingesting a large amount of salt include depression, diarrhoea, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), seizures, vomiting, and tremors.

Stone fruit

Cherries, plums, nectarines are foods toxic for dogs The stone in stone fruits is poisonous and can cause blockages if consumed.



Chewing gum contains xylitolXylitol is a sugar substitute that may be found in many foods, including sweet and savoury items, chewing gum, and peanut butter. It’s poisonous to dogs and can induce liver failure and seizures. If you are wanting to give your pet a delectable treat, double-check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.


Yeast dough

Close up of raw dough containing yeastIf our pets consume raw yeast dough, it can continue to expand and cause gas to build up in their digestive system. Not only will this be unpleasant and painful for them, it can also induce their stomach to bloat and possibly twist. Yeast also produces ethanol (a type of alcohol), which is toxic to dogs and cats.

If your pet has eaten food they shouldn’t have, or you suspect they have, contact your local veterinarian or Perth Vet Emergency right away. For more information about what is toxic to pets, visit our Pets and Poisons Guide.

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