Our furbabies love to eat just like their humans. Dogs usually use their puppy eyes and cute charm to sway their humans to feed them whatever it is they’re having. Cats are the opposite – they’re very picky eaters but still love to eat. So, when they begin to beg, remember that saying no could go a long way!

Pet parenting can be a little bit more complex because many human foods are considered toxic foods for pets. Effects of human foods can range from temporary illnesses to long-term diseases (and even death). This can make it even more challenging for pet parents who love to make homemade dog or cat food, but it will definitely pay off seeing furbabies happy! To help guide pet parents, here is a list of top human foods poisonous for pets.

Top 11 Human Foods that can Poison Pets

  1. Chocolate

How much chocolate will make a dog sick

It’s sad that your furbaby can’t have something as yummy as chocolate. Wonder why? Chocolate contains cocoa, which contains the compound theobromine. Unlike humans, dogs do not have a specific enzyme to break down theobromine, which can overstimulate the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Symptoms include: increase in blood pressure, vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pains, sever agitation, muscle tremors, increased urination, irregular heart rhythm, elevated body temperature, seizures and death. It can take up to 6-12 hours before symptoms manifest. The effect on your dog will vary depending on his size and how much theobromine was ingested. The longer you wait, the more harmful it is for your dog. The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine; so, when your pet start batting his lashes at you, begging for a piece of that scrumptious chocolate, ignore him. Chocolate is human food that’s bad for pets.

  1. Caffeine

My dog drank coffee

Like chocolate, caffeine also contains theobromine. This is a bad dog food ingredient. Caffeine comes in different forms: coffee, coffee grounds, tea, soda, diet drinks and diet pills. Both dogs and cats are more sensitive to caffeine than human, that if ingested, the effects will be similar to that of chocolate: vomiting, hyperactivity, restlessness, elevated heart rate, tremors, collapse, seizures death, etc. It takes anywhere in between 30 minutes to 12 hours for any symptom to manifest. The severity of caffeine toxicity depends on how much caffeine your pet has ingested, the type of caffeine, the size of your pet and the amount of caffeine in the item itself. If you pet loves coffee, make sure he doesn’t have any of it!  

  1. Leftover Bones & Fat Trimmings

Leftover Bones & Fat Trimmings

Some pet parents enjoy making homemade pet food that either contain table scraps or a new recipe they decided to whip up. This is fine for as long as there are no bones and fat trimmings in it. Left-over bones pose a choking hazard to pets, and they can also create obstructions, splinter and puncture your pet’s gut or intestine. Fats may lead to heart problems and pancreatitis in dogs, whether you feed it raw or cooked. Bones and fat usually cause upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting in pets. Although this isn’t toxic food for your pets, it’s still best to avoid giving these.

  1. Grapes & Raisins

My dog ate raisins

If your dog ate a grape, bring him to the veterinarian right away. Grapes and raisins are also harmful to pets. There are still no studies that pinpoint what exact substance causes a toxic reaction in pets, but it is found that even small amounts of grapes and raisings can be fatal. Symptoms vary from pets: diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, lethargic state, lack of appetite and even death from kidney failure can occur within 3-4 days.

  1. Onions & Garlic

Dog ate onion slice

Common food ingredients found in our food such as onion and garlic are harmful to pets. Whether it’s powdered, raw, cooked or hydrated, be sure to keep them away from your pets. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, but it can be toxic to both. Like chocolate, the more onions and garlic pets ingest, the more toxic it is. It’s like eating poisonous food. Garlic can cause red blood cell damage, gastro intestinal irritation, restlessness, orange/dark red colored urine, while onions might require a blood transfusion in severe cases.

  1. Xylitol

My dog ate xylitol

Xylitol is one of the extremely toxic foods for pets. It is a chemical found in sugar-free products and tastes similar to sugar. When consumed by pets, it is absorbed by the blood steam, which causes a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This causes a substantial drop in blood-sugar levels. Symptoms include: hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure or death. It takes anywhere in between 10-60 minutes from the time of consumption for any effects to become apparent. Examples of products containing xylitol are: chewing gum, tooth paste, mouthwash, candy and mints.

  1. Dairy Products

Dairy products for dogs

In movies, actors are often shown giving milk to their adorable pets. DO NOT REPEAT THIS!

Milk is considered harmful to your pets. Pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Cats and dogs were born with lactase to help drink their mother’s milk, but this is not the same milk or human food for pets.

Like humans, their body also produces less or no lactase as they grow older, causing lactose intolerance. When lactose is ingested by pets, fermentation will take place causing diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems. Other pets can drink milk, but be sure you give small amounts and observe the effect on your pet before giving him another serving. However, it’s still not advisable.

Milk is one of the worst things to feed a dog. Only small amounts of other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and other dairy products are acceptable, anything in excess can result in gas, diarrhea and vomiting. The composition of these dairy products has either been diluted with other substances like water and other fats, or may be cultured, meaning microorganisms have digested part of the lactose.

Although the effects of dairy products are not life-threatening, it is still considered harmful as it may lead to exposure to other bacteria and diseases. 

  1. Human Medicine

my dog ate my medication

Human medicines must be vet-approved before given to pets. While some human drugs can be given to pets on a regular basis, others can be very toxic for cats and dogs. An unknown side effect of the medicine you’re taking could spell disaster for your pet. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the number one cause of pet poisonings. Always consult your veterinarian first before letting your pet take any medications.

  1. Yeast Dough

my dog ate yeast

When making bread and pastries, make sure your pets are out of sight. These are among the worst food to feed your cat. Yeast dough is another harmful food for your pet! When ingested, it ferments in a dog’s stomach causing a toxic reaction. Pets experience gas pain, which can potentially rupture the stomach and the intestines. Other symptoms include vomiting, abdominal discomfort and lethargy. Once you’ve finished baking your dough, feel free to invite your furbaby back in the kitchen!

  1. Fat & Sodium

Fat and sodium bad for pets

Excessive fats are considered toxic dog food and can cause upset stomach and potentially inflame the pancreas causing pancreatitis. Salty foods can pose a risk for the development of sodium ion toxicosis, according to the ASPCA. Too much salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning causing more frequent urination and dehydration.

If your pet suffers from a heart disease, sodium restriction is necessary! Be aware that if your pet gets into food with a high fat or salt content, she could experience stomach problems including diarrhea and vomiting, depression, high temperature, seizures and even death. If you need help putting together a diet for your pets, consult your veterinarian.

  1. Fruit Core

worst things to feed a dog

Toss that fruit core out instead of letting your pet munch on it. Certain fruits cores (seeds, stems and leaves) like apples, plums, peaches, pears and apricots are considered toxic foods for pets. The core contains cyanogenic glycosides, also known as cyanide, poisonous to people and pets. Seeds can also cause problems in the small intestines of pets. Symptoms include: dizziness, struggling to breathe, seizures, collapsing, hyperventilation, shock and even coma.

Feeding any foods poisonous for pets can lead to severe illnesses and even death. Although sometimes it will depend on the amount your pets eat, it is best to just avoid anything on this list. Responsible pet parenting includes giving furbabies the best and most nutritious pet food available in the market and seeking the best feeding tips from other pet parents. For those who love making homemade dog or cat food, be sure to provide a balanced diet with all the nutrition needed by furbabies. For those who love kibble, be sure to read the label. TIP: A lot are going all natural and loving it!

Questions like “Can I feed my dog rice everyday?” and “Can my dog eat cooked fish?” are best answered by the vet. If you suspect your pet may have eaten any harmful food or toxic food, do not wait for other signs and symptoms to manifest and contact your veterinarian immediately.