Several fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are touted as superfoods to humans are surprisingly toxic to dogs—toxic enough, unfortunately, to kill your pet. What benefits us might not benefit our pets, so it’s important to ensure that certain foods always remain far out of reach for a dog, cat, or even bird. Not sure what’s toxic and what’s not? Here’s a list of foods to put on your “Not for Fido” list and another for the open-door policy—whether that means leftovers, treats, or homemade dog food.
Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fat, containing high levels of vitamins B, C, and E. As a 2008 article published at Today explains, avocados contain persin, which, while not particularly poisonous to dogs and cats, is deadly to birds. The Pet Poison Helpline explains that birds who have ingested avocado may experience the “inability to perch, respiratory distress, fluid accumulation around the bird’s heart and lungs, liver and kidney failure, and sudden death.” Big dogs, while not directly affected by persin, can experience obstruction due to the large, round pits at the center of avocados. Do your pets a favor and keep avocados away.
Xylitol has become a popular sugar replacement over the last few years, taking the place of artificial sweeteners like Sucralose and aspartame. Additionally, xylitol is a popular addition in dental products and toothpastes, thanks to its ability to stop bacteria from gathering on teeth and creating plaque. Unfortunately, however, xylitol can be deadly for pets. Depending on the size of your pet, just a small quantity can be enough to cause life-threatening low blood sugar, as the Pet Poison Helpline points out. Look for signs like weakness, vomiting, seizures, malaise, coma, and in some cases, even death. Know which products in your household contain xylitol, and keep them far out of reach of your pets. Common products include toothpastes, mouthwashes, gum, vitamins, and even puddings.
3. Chocolate (specifically Dark or Unsweetened Chocolate)
For humans, the healthiest chocolate is the darkest chocolate, but it’s also the likeliest to harm your pet. That’s because dark chocolate contains higher amounts of theobromine, a substance that is metabolized quickly by humans but not by dogs. As this article states, less than an ounce of dark chocolate can kill a 40-pound dog. Far better to enjoy chocolate yourself, but keep it away from your pets.
4. Macadamia Nuts
It might be strange to think that the good-for-you (though pricey!) macadamia nut is poisonous, but it is to dogs. From ingesting just 1/10 of an ounce per 2 lbs of body weight, a dog can develop weakness and depression or, even worse, vomiting, ataxia, and hyperthermia.
5. Grapes and Raisins
Of the potentially poisonous foods for dogs and other pets, grapes and raisins might not seem suspect, but it’s true: they’re toxic. While research has yet to understand exactly why grapes and raisins are poisonous for dogs, ingesting even a small amount can cause acute kidney failure.
6. Coffee (Caffeine)
Coffee is a necessity for many people, providing a welcome boost of energy and alertness. The same stimulation we enjoy can have dire effects on pets. While it isn’t likely that your pet will manage to lap up the rest of your coffee, caffeine is the main culprit in coffee-linked pet poisoning and, as such, it’s vital to know where other sources of caffeine can be found. Highly toxic doses can be found in weight loss pills and other diet stimulants and, if in use, should be kept far away.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, please take immediate action and call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline here.