Dangerous Foods for Pets

grapes dog poisonMany of the foods that we consume and enjoy are very dangerous for our pets. If your pet ingests any of the items on this list, call us immediately so we can act before the toxins are absorbed.

For general advice for new puppies, visit our Puppy Preschool page. We also have a page on Common Pet Poisons in Adelaide.


Drinks and foods containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, reduced coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal, metabolic acidosis, coma and even death.


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Compost and Mouldy Food

Various mould aflatoxins can cause seizures, vomiting or liver damage

Cooked Bones

Should not be given to your pet, especially chicken or pork bones. Bones can splinter and become lodged in your pet’s oesophagus or if swallowed, could cause an obstruction or laceration in the digestive tract. This is also true for items such as corn cobs, satay sticks, icecream sticks etc.

If you are interested in feeding your dog bones, read our guidelines for safer raw bone feeding.

chocolate dog poisonChocolate, Coffee, Tea

All contain theobromine or caffeine, which can affect the heart and nervous system. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are more dangerous than milk chocolate or white chocolate. The severity of problems after eating chocolate will depend on your pet’s weight, the amount, and type of chocolate ingested. Chocolate ingestion can cause diarrhoea and vomiting, panting, restlessness or hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, coma and even death.

Fat Trimmings and Gravy

Along with other fatty foods such as barbecued meats and sausages, any oily or fatty food can cause pancreatitis, a potentially life threatening condition. Read more about pancreatitis here.


Fish, either raw, canned or cooked, if fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a B vitamin deficiency, specifically thiamine. This deficiency can lead significant brain damage, and in severe cases death.

Fruit Stones and Seeds

Some may be toxic. Peach stones may also become lodged in the intestinal tract. The fruit itself is safe to eat.

Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas and Currants

Contain an unknown substance that is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

Human Vitamins

Especially those containing iron, can cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, and could also cause liver and kidney damage. Read our article on the dangers of vitamin D for dogs.

macadamias dog poisonMacadamia Nuts

An unknown substance in these nuts may cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.


Our pets lack the amounts of lactase enzyme necessary to break down the lactose in milk. This can result in gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhoea, especially in puppies and kittens.

Small amounts of milk can be given to adult cats as a treat without problems in most cases.

Mouldy or Spoiled Food

Can contain multiple toxins which may cause gastrointestinal upsets, seizures or tremors, and could affect other organs.

Mushrooms and Toadstools

May contain toxins which could affect multiple systems in the body, especially liver damage, resulting in shock and even death.


Can cause tremors, seizures and central nervous system damage.

Onions and Garlic

The onion family, whether raw, cooked, or powder contain toxins which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia. Some dog food and treats may contain very small amounts of garlic which shouldn’t cause any problems but it is not recommended. Read more, including how much onion is toxic, here.

Table Scraps

Will not provide your pet with proper nutrients and are usually too rich or fatty for dogs and cats. Pets fed quantities of human foods are rarely as healthy as they could be. Sugary foods contribute to dental disease.


An artificial sweetener used in many products overseas such as chewing gum, sweets, and toothpaste. In Australia, it is less commonly used but can be found in some confectionery and as a product similar to granular sugar. It can cause hypoglycemia and symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. It could also result in death.