7 Surprising Foods You Should NEVER Feed to Dogs or Cats

August 10, 2021

Whether you’ve just adopted an animal companion from your local shelter or you’ve been lucky enough to spend most of your life with your furry BFF, it’s every guardian’s responsibility to make sure that we’re providing the best life possible for the animals we share our homes with.

We make sure they get the right amount of exercise, nutritious food to fill their tummies, regular checkups at the vet’s, and, of course, all the love and affection that they deserve. But we also have to be careful not to feed our furry friends things that can potentially harm them—which is why we put together this handy list of the top seven foods that you should NEVER let dogs or cats eat:

1. Alcohol

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Even small amounts of alcohol can cause intoxication (especially in small animals) as well as a dangerous drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature; vomiting; seizures; respiratory failure; coma; and even death in more severe cases.

2. Bread dough

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The live yeast in bread dough may cause dogs’ and cats’ stomachs to expand, a painful condition known as “bloat” that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Yeast also produces alcohol after it begins to multiply, which can cause potentially fatal intoxication in dogs.

3. Chocolate

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Chocolate is tasty, but it’s not good for our furry friends. It contains caffeine and a chemical called “theobromine,” which are both harmful to dogs and cats and can even be fatal. So, make sure all your tasty vegan chocolates are stowed safely away.

4. Grapes and raisins

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Although the reason behind it is still unclear, dogs and even cats can experience terrible side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and even acute kidney failure, from eating even a small quantity of grapes or raisins.

5. Macadamia nuts

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Make sure you keep those macadamia-nut cookies out of Fido’s reach, since these nuts are known to cause neurological symptoms in dogs, including tremors and leg weakness.

6. Onions and garlic

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Onions, garlic, and other foods in the Allium family (think shallots and scallions) can damage our animal companions’ red blood cells, which can cause bloody urine and severe anemia, as well as gastroenteritis (stomach flu). Certain dog breeds are more susceptible, especially Japanese breeds, but any dog or cat can have a bad reaction to these foods.

7. Xylitol

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Xylitol is a chemical found in sugar-free products like gum and candy (as well as in toothpaste) that in dogs can cause a sudden life-threatening drop in blood-sugar levels or liver failure and death, especially with ingestion of larger amounts.

Avoid giving your animal companions any of these dangerous foods and instead offer them treats that are made specifically for them—or make your own! Of course, if your dog or cat exhibits any signs of illness after accidentally ingesting any of the foods listed above (or for any other reason), contact your veterinarian or an animal poison hotline as soon as possible.

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