Poisonous Foods to Keep Away From Your Pet

March is Pet Poison Awareness Month. Cats and dogs have an
entirely different digestive system than ours and it is important to know what
foods to keep out of their reach. To keep you pet safe, we’re breaking down
some of the most toxic foods to keep away from your furry friends:


If your cat or dog ingests alcohol they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous
system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma
and possibly death. If you keep liquor or other alcoholic beverages in the
house it is a best practice to keep them in a cupboard or a location where your
pet cannot knock bottles or cans over.


Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs.  Just a
few ounces of chocolate can cause illness in a small dog including symptoms
such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid or irregular heart rate, restlessness, muscle
tremors, and seizures. In large quantities, death can occur within 24 hours so
it is important to get your pet to an emergency center if they have ingested chocolate.

Grapes and Raisins 

Although many fruits are safe for pet consumption, grapes are not one
of them. It is unknown why grapes are toxic to cats and dogs, but they can cause
sudden kidney failure in both cats and dogs. Signs of ingestion include
vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Garlic and Onions 

Both garlic and onions damage red blood cells in cats and dogs if consumed. They will rupture or lose
their ability to carry oxygen. It doesn’t matter whether the bulbs are cooked
or raw – both are potentially toxic. Experts advise pet owners to check for
garlic and onions in products such as baby food, which is sometimes given to sick

Products Containing Xylitol 

Xylitol is a sweetener
used in many products such as gum, candy, baked foods, and toothpaste. In most
species xylitol causes insulin release, leading to liver failure. Signs of toxicosis
include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and possible seizures. Liver
failure is possible within a few days.


Although the flesh of cherries contains
vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, cherries can give a dog an upset stomach. And
worse, the fruit’s pit, stem, and leaves contain cyanide, which is toxic to
dogs in large quantities. Ingested pits can also create intestinal blockages.
Dog owners should look out for constipation, decreased appetite, and vomiting.
However, not all berries are created equal. Blueberries are a great, safe treat
for your canine.

What to Do If Your Pets Consumes These Foods 

Playing it safe and checking in with your vet, an emergency
clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – (888) 426-4435
– is always the right decision. Also, you always want to be careful and keep
your pantries and refrigerators closed to avoid potential consumption.

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