April 25, 2021 5 min read

You would be surprised to know how often pet dogs are taken to the vet because they ate something that they were not supposed to. There are many human-grade ingredients out there that can causefood toxicity in pets. Does that tiny bite of table scraps containfood that is dangerous to your pet’s health? We are covering this in detail with this blog:

  • Commonfood toxicity in pets
  • Food to avoid #1: Chocolate
  • Food to avoid #2: Grapes and Raisins
  • Food to avoid #3: Avocados
  • List of foods toxic to your pets
  • Foods that can be harmful over time
  • Keeping your pet happy

Common food toxicity in pets

Dogs are a bunch of curious animals and enjoy getting into a bit of trouble every now and then. They have an inquisitive personality that makes them sniff everything around them. If they are interested in what they have found, they may take a little nibble. Often this little nibble can lead to a trip to the vet because they have stumbled upon something tasty, but harmful to them. 

Cats, on the other hand, are far less likely to eat something they don’t recognise - particularly if it isn’t meat. Nevertheless, it does happen!

Most of the time, it’s us who are the reason behind our pets getting sick. They become an integral part of our family and at times it’s difficult not to feed them out of our plate (especially when it comes to whining and puppy eyes). But what we need to know is that, what’s healthy for us, need not be healthy for them. Here are the 3foods to avoid feeding your pet at any cost.

Common Toxic Food Products

Food to avoid #1: Chocolate

Food toxicity due to chocolate is the main reason why veterinarians often see dogs come to the clinic around holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is derived from roasted seeds of cocoa, which contains theobromine and caffeine. These are metabolised rapidly in humans, while in most animals they are metabolised very slowly and lead tofood poisoning in dogs and cats.

The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Some common symptoms in a dog or cat that has just eaten too much chocolate include seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea within 6-12 hours of eating. This can lead to very serious heart and neurological problems, or even death, if your pet is not rushed to the vet immediately.


Food to avoid #2: Grapes and Raisins

Dogs should never consume grapes in any form due to the risk of grape toxicosis. The toxin that causes health problems has not yet been discovered, but there are a number ofsubstances found in grapes that dogs cannot metabolise, so it is possible one of them may be the culprit. 

 Whilenot all dogs will suffer from grape toxicosis if they have a grape or raisin, many dogs will. It’s not known what the difference is, but eating just a single grape has been reported to result in acute kidney failure in dogs, so it isn’t worth the risk Symptoms from ingesting grapes and raisins can be seen in about 6-12 hours after eating and include abdominal pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration.

Interestingly, while there are some anecdotal indications of cats also experiencing kidney failure from ingesting grapes, it appears to be far less common than in dogs - perhaps because cats are far less likely to eat a grape or raisin!

Food to avoid #3: Avocados

This is a highly nutritious and delicious fruit to us humans but should be avoided by our pets. Avocado fruit skin, pits, leaves, and the entire plant aredangerous to dogs and to a lesser extent, cats. The skin of an avocado as well as the leaves and bark of the tree contain a compound called Persin that causes vomiting, and diarrhoea in both cats and dogs. Persin isn’t life-threatening for dogs or cats, they just won’t have a happy stomach. The real risk comes from the pit.

Avocado pits are not actually toxic for your pet, however, dogs don’t digest the pit very well. So if your furbaby manages to ingest an avocado pit, they are at a high risk of getting blocked  up and be in need of surgery to get that avocado pit back out. This is more likely to be a risk in larger dogs than smaller dogs and cats who can’t physically fit an avocado pit in their mouth.

On the flip side, if your pet excitedly ingests some of that avocado flesh you dropped on the floor, they will be fine as that green and yellow avocado pulp doesn’t contain anything dangerous to them. Just keep them clear of the skin and pit.

List of foods toxic to your pets

Fortunately,scientists have studied many human-grade foods and food ingredients to assess their toxicity in your dog or cat. Here are the key foods to avoid for your pet:

  • The Allium family, including onions, garlic, leek and chives.
  • Ethanol, a common cleaning ingredient and found in some fruits that are starting to turn bad (eg apples) as well as uncooked bread and pizza dough.
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants are found in many of our human snacks.
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Methylxanthines, including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline are found mostly in drinks and chocolate but increasingly in other human snacks too.
  • Xylitol you might know of as an artificial sweetener that is found in many ‘no sugar added’ products and low-calorie products
  • Hops is less common but for anyone experimenting with home brewing, keep it out of reach of your furbaby.

Keep in mind that some of these items might not be something you would eat or at least not eat on its own (e.g. xylitol), but they are common ingredients in human foods, especially packaged snacks, so always check the labels for these household food items that your pets should not consume.

Foods that can be harmful over time

Artificial colours and flavourings

Blue 2, Red 40 (a very common colouring agent), and Yellow 5 (tartrazine or E102) and 6 have all been proven to be extremely harmful to humans. These can cause a wide range of symptoms including allergies, behavioural problems and has been linked to several cancers.


Preservatives such as sulphur dioxide, sodium and potassium sulphite depletes B12. To counteract this pet foods containing these preservatives will try to add more B12 to supplement for the deficiency it causes. Usually this is not enough and can cause behavioural and nerve problems in your pets.

Keeping Our Pets Happy

Diet: Be aware of the types of food you are feeding your dog and whether they may be toxic. However, consult your local veterinary if you are unsure whether something may be toxic.

Treats: Dogs enjoy having the occasional treat, but we need to make sure that it does not cause harm to them. The Golden Bone Bakery 4 Flavour Mix—vegan dog treats taste amazing and your furry friend will love you for it.

Enrichment: Dogs are highly active and require enrichment to keep them happy. Treats are great, but chews and toys are providing great playtime for your dog which will make them very happy. Take them for walks and give them lots of attention too, they can’t get enough of it.

 “Always watch what your dog is eating. If you believe they have eaten a toxic food, consult your local veterinarian.”


Always watch what your pet is eating!

In conclusion, it is imperative to always watch what your dog or cat is eating. If you believe they have eaten toxic food, consult your local veterinarian immediately. 

For pet-safe treats for your loved one, check out our range ofdog treats andcat treats.


1. Cortinovis C, Caloni F. Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Front Vet Sci 2016;3:26.

2. Kovalkovicova N, Sutiakova I, Pistl J, Sutiak V. Some food toxic for pets. Interdiscip Toxicol 2009;2:169-176.