Animal Clinic of Warren, PA.

162 Washington Valley Road Ext
Warren, NJ 07059


People Foods to Avoid Feeding to Your Pet


What pet owner can resist sharing their food with their big brown eyed pet so sweetly staring at you, sitting so nice and just waiting for a morsel of what you are eating to hit the floor.  Or your pet smells something good and waits for you to leave the room and helps themselves to the people food with or without your knowledge.  Although there are plenty of people foods that are not harmful to your pet there are plenty that are.   In some cases even the smallest amount can be toxic.  Below is a list of foods that may sound delicious to you but they're actually quite harmful to your pet.


Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

These products contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. 

Symptoms to look for:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • panting
  • excessive thirst and urination
  • hyperactivity
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • tremors, seizures and in some cases death
  • ***Baking chocolate contains the highest level of methylxanthines***
  • Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate
  • White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines             


Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol.

Symptoms to look for:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  •  decreased coordination
  • central nervous system depression
  • difficulty breathing
  • tremors
  • abnormal blood acidity
  • coma and in some cases death


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain a substance called Persin.

Symptoms to look for: (mainly in dogs)

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea 

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies.

Symptoms to look for: (mainly in dogs)

  • weakness
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • tremors


Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours 

Grapes & Raisins

The toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown. 

Signs to look for:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • weakness
  • no interest in food
  • increased drinking
  • abdominal pain
  • acute kidney failure within 48 hours and in some cases death

In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough

The problem is with the gas in the yeast dough.  Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet's digestive system.  This can be painful and cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. 


Once the yeast has fully risen and the dough has been baked, your pet can have small bits of bread as treats.  Keep in mind though that these treats should not constitute more than five percent to ten percent of your pet's daily caloric intake.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones

Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli.  In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. 

Raw bones can be very dangerous to your pet for several reasons:

  • Your pet might choke on the bones
  • sustain grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged somewhere
  • bone may become lodged in or puncture the digestive tract


This substance is used as a sweetener in products such as gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste.  It can cause insulin release which can lead to liver failure.  The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels).

Signs to look for:

  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • loss of coordination
  • seizures
  • elevated liver enzymes
  • liver failure can occur with a few days 

Onions, Garlic, Chives

These vegetables and herbs are commonly known as Allium plants.   They can cause gastrointestinal irritation and trigger changes in red blood cells that may cause a serious illness known as Heinz body anemia.  Cooking or dehydrating these foods doesn't eliminate the risk, so keep in mind that powders and products containing them 

 How is this diagnosed?

  • usually diagnosed through history
  • clinical signs
  • microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.


Cats are more susceptible but dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.