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Common Foods That Are Toxic For Dogs And Cats

Many pet owner’s love to share their favourite foods and meals with their beloved furry friends. Dogs and cats are usually thrilled to participate in these meal time rituals. However, as a responsible pet owner, you need to be aware of particular food items that can be harmful to our canine and feline companions. Here’s a list of some of the most common foods that are toxic for both dogs and cats.


Alcohol contains ethanol which is extremely toxic for dog and cats. Exposure to seemingly harmless amounts can have very serious side effects on your pet. The effect alcohol has on your pet’s liver and brain is similar to the effect it has on humans but it takes a much smaller dose to do its damage. Just 2-3 teaspoons of a beverage with high concentration of alcohol such as whisky is enough to cause coma or even death in a small dog or a cat.


While small dose of coffee, tea or soda don’t contain enough caffeine to poison most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds and tea bags can have devastating effects in small dogs or cats including death. Common symptoms of caffeine poisoning including restlessness, rapid breathing, tremors and heart palpitations.


A favourite and irresistible treat among most humans, chocolate is considered toxic for dogs and cats. Chocolate contains methylxantine theobromine which is similar to caffeine. Its ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea hyperacidity, issues with normal heart beats, seizures and in some severe cases even death.

Garlic and Onion

We often forget that many of our meals contain these two popular ingredients and allow our pets a few bites or licks of our food. Onion and garlic both can cause a type of poisoning that results in damage to red bloods making then more likely to rupture. They can also cause stomach upset and mouth irritation. In terms of symptoms the most common are pale gums, increased breathing or drooling and vomiting or diarrhea.

Grapes and Raisins

Dogs and cats should also avoid grapes and raisins since they can lead to acute kidney failure. Most pets intoxicated by grapes or raisins will begin to experience vomiting and or diarrhea within 69-12 hours of ingestion. Other sign include lethargy abdominal pain, dehydration and tremors. In most severe cases kidney failure develops with 24-72 hours of the initial ingestion.

Moldy foods

We have all been there: reaching into the back of our refrigerators and pulling out a questionable food item that has passed its expiration date by a few days, weeks or even months. Moldy food can put your pet’s health at risk. They contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and mental confusion.


The most common ingredient used in sugar free gum is xylitol which is a non caloric sweetener. It is also found in some oral rinses, toothpastes and vitamins. Xylitol and most animals do not mix. It can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Dogs and cats will often display signs of disorientation, black tarry stool, tremor and seizures.

Macadamia nuts

Ingestion of these nuts has not been proven to be fatal in dog and cats, but can cause them to experience uncomfortable clinical signs including fever, joint stiffness, vomiting, tremors and difficulty walking, especially in their hind legs.

With this in mind go forth and enjoy your favourite foods, but remember which foods you should avoid sharing with your furry family members. Whenever in doubt, ask your veterinarian for healthy and safe food suggestions.

Dr Sharad Singh Yadav is the Chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital & Research Centre which is open 24 hours throughout the year and located in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. He may be contacted on tel: 4422855 or email: aphktm@gmail.com