Foods That Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs

chocolate bars
Chocolate Bars, Image Courtesy of Grant Cochrane,

While most cats won’t go for foods that can harm them, there are always exceptions to the rule, and dogs are often quite indiscriminate in their dietary choices. Foods to keep away from your furry friends include:

    • Alcoholic beverages (particularly beer)
    • Apple seeds
    • Chocolate (all forms, including cocoa)
    • Citrus oil
    • Coffee (grounds, beans, and brewed coffee)
    • Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, shallots, and chives (Allium family)
    • Grapes and raisins
    • Human medications and vitamins
    • Leaves and stems of tomato, rhubarb, and potato plants
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Mushrooms (may cause kidney damage)
    • Mustard seeds
    • Nutmeg
    • Products sweetened with Xylitol (gum, etc.)
    • Salt (in higher quantities than that found in pet foods)
    • Yeast dough (uncooked bread)

Pets can also become ill if they eat raw egg whites (regular consumption can lead to a biotin deficiency) and milk (because most cats and dogs are lactose intolerant).

Many people give their pets baby food, particularly if the animal is recovering from an illness. If feeding a pet baby food, check the label to ensure that it contains none of the ingredients listed above.

For more cat articles, see the main Cats page. For more dog articles, see the main Dogs page.


    • Cope, R.B., BVSc, PhD. (2005). “Allium Species Poisoning in Dogs and Cats.” Veterinary Medicine, August 2005, 562-566.
    • Drs. Foster & Smith, Veterinary and Aquatic Services Department. (2011). “Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs and Cats.”
    • Ruben, D., Dr. (2011). “Dangerous Foods: Are They Harmful to Your Cat?”
    • The Humane Society of the United States. (2011). “Foods Potentially Poisonous to Pets.”
    • (2010). “Toxic and Dangerous Foods for Pets.”
    • Wesley Chapel Veterinary Hospital. (2009). “What Foods Are Harmful to Your Dog?”

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