Foods… What’s Safe/Dangerous

What people foods are dangerous to my pets?  What should I do if my pets eat one of these foods?

Well first it depends on what specific pet you are talking about (cat, dog, bird, etc).

The following is a list of the most common food-related toxicities that we see in private practice:

Dogs/Cats:  chocolate (the darker the chocolate the more toxic), onion, onion soup, garlic, grapes and raisins, sugar free candy and gum containing xylitol, coffee, tea, any alcoholic beverage, large quantities of salt, walnuts, tomato/potato/rhubarb leaves and stems, nutmeg, pork products, most pits from fruits, hops, mustard seeds, and yeast.

Birds: all of the above plus add avocado to the list.

Small mammals (ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc): all of the above and avoid items high in sugars.

In the event that your pet should consume any of the above items, consult your veterinarian.  The treatment strategies vary depending on what and how much was consumed. If the ingestion is recent (within a few hours) an emetic may be used to cause vomiting and reduce absorption of the potential toxin.  This is best handled by a veterinarian.

Hotline numbers for pet toxicity include 1-800-548-2423 (have a credit card available), 888-426-4435 (ASPCA toxicity line, have a credit card available), and 1-900-680-0000 (toll call).  Typically, once a pet owner calls and opens a case with any of these lines, the veterinarian is allowed subsequent access to the consultation at no further charge.

If you have a veterinary question that you would like to propose for an upcoming edition, please send it to with “ask the vet” in the subject line.


Disclaimer: The informational handouts and website links above are for informational purposes only, they are not intended to replace veterinary care.