Foods Not Safe for Cats & Dogs



Foods Not Safe for Pets

clouds Common sense needs to prevail when feeding your pets, just like when you feed your family. It should be obvious that things like alcoholic beverages, drugs (legal or otherwise), and the excess fat you trim off your meat should not be fed to your pets. They are not mini-garbage disposals; just like people they have dietary requirements and foods that can cause them gastric and other problems. If you wouldn't feed it to your human baby - it probably is a bad idea for your furry baby too.

Though many authoritative sources list the same items, for some foods there is disagreement as to quantity and form (as in raw garlic vs powdered). This list has been compiled through several hours of research and was not compiled by a medical professional. I would use this list in deciding what to serve my own animals, but when in doubt be sure to ask your veterinarian.

Almonds and nuts in general
Large quantities can lead to stomach upset. Limit salted nuts. Just like with babies, whole nuts can pose a choking hazard.
The fruit is safe, the leaves and roots are not.
The stems leaves and seed can cause vomiting and loss of appetite.
There are some worries that avocados contain a toxic principle known as Perin Persin. There have not been any clinical tests on what consititutes a toxic dosage and it may be best to avoid avocado completely.
Update 01/14/10 - Someone was kind enough to let me know that I had made a little spelling error here. While there are still no definitive answers from the medical world when it comes to avocado consumption by pets, it seems to be more likely than not that the fruit may indeed be harmful to pets and cause damage to their hearts. The Guatemalan variety has been identified as being an absolute no-no for pets and all varieties are a definite no-no for horses. Why take the risk with your pets? I would avoid avocado completely.
Baby Food
Several of the recipes contained on do contain baby food; avoid giving both cats and dogs any baby food that contains onion powder.
Canned Tuna in large amounts or as a replacement for canned cat food.
Does not provide cats enough nutrition but is OK as part of a balanced diet. There are several cat food and cat treat recipes on No Cans which include canned tuna but they should not be the only food that you feed to you cat if you want them to remain healthy.
Avoid chocolate, coffee, tea and all other caffeine containing products.
Castor Beans
Castor beans are listed on several authority sites as being toxic plants to pets. It would probably be a good idea to avoid castor oils as well.
The fruit is safe, the leaves and roots are not.
Can be deadly to both cats and dogs and should be avoided completely.
Citrus fruits and oil extracts
Lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruit peels, fruit and seeds can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
Dairy products
Some adult animals may get diarrhea from dairy products. Try lactose-fee milk products. There are several recipes on that make use of cottage cheese or yogurt which appear to be more stomach friendly.
Dog Food to cats on a regular basis
Does not provide cats enough nutrition and can lead to serious illnesses. Occasional forays into a canine roommate's bowl should not cause problems.
Many commercial pet foods contain garlic and professional opinions vary on what levels are acceptable though they generally agree raw garlic is a definite no-no. Several of the recipes on do contain garlic in powdered or cooked form.
Grapes and raisins
Can cause kidney damage.
Can cause all sorts of medical problems for dogs. As hops is a main ingredient in most beers, dogs should not be permitted to indulge.
Your Vitamins with Iron
Can cause serious digestive problems and prove toxic.
Large amounts of liver
Can cause vitamin A toxicity - feed no more than 5g of quality beef liver daily to cats.
Macadamia Nuts
Contain a toxin that affects the digestive and nervous systems.
Some are toxic and some are edible - just like with humans. I haven't found a list that identifies which human-edible mushrooms are OK for pets.
Can cause anemia. Should be avoided. While none of the recipes included on include onion, be careful as many pet cookbooks and online recipe sites list dog food recipes with onions.
Peaches and Plums
The pits can cause obstruction of the digestive system.
Can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and gastrointestinal tract - not recommended for either cats or dogs.
The seeds can obstruct the intestinal tract.
Plants that are associated with food products
Several organizations list plants that toxic to pets. The lists do not include what the toxic effects of these plants and which parts of these plants are toxic. The safest course of action would probably be to avoid these plants and their fruit.

blackberry, chokecherry, elderberry, Jerusalem cherry, precatory beans, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, taro vine, and wild black cherry
Won't make them sick, but is a significant choking hazard; the salt and butter aren't very good for them either.
Can cause intestinal and neurological problems. Authority sites have given different opinions on potatoes, it seems that some potato in a dog's diet would be OK; but avoid all of the green parts of the plant.


Copyright Notice

While it is a compliment to the hours of research that have gone into this article, please do not submit this article in its entirety to any of the question and answers sites or post it on your own website. You know and I know; you, your daughter the veterinary student or your local doggie bakery did not write this article.

Mentions and links to this article and the website of an appropriate nature are truly welcome but please do not steal my work.

Raw Eggs
Raw Fish
If fed regularly, can cause vitamin deficiency that can lead to death. There are many supporters of a "raw food" diet who support feeding pets raw fish. Personally, because raw fish is so perishable - I wouldn't give it to my pets and none of the recipes on include raw fish.
Not good for us either
Italian and curly parsley and coriander are considered to be non-toxic and edible, but may cause stomach irritation. Mace, nutmeg, paprika and turmeric should be avoided completely.
Turmeric is being heavily researched by both medical doctors and veterinarians as a treatment for a variety of ailments in humans, cats and dogs. Learn more about what has learned about turmeric and pets before giving this spice medicinally to your pets.
Can cause crystal formation in the urinary tract and should be avoided completely in cats with urinary problems. After having a cat suffer from kidney problems, I would not consider the risk of feeding my cat spinach worth it.
Ripe tomatoes are not toxic, however the green parts of the tomato plant are considered toxic.
Raw yeast dough
It can expand once in the stomach or cause alcohol poisoning. Never allow pets to ingest raw or uncooked yeast-based doughs.
Xylitol is used as an artificial sweetener in gums and candies. It may lead to liver failure in dogs and should be avoided.

A note about taurine; taurine is essential for cats and is only found in animal tissues. It is therefore not advised to feed your cat a strict vegetarian diet. Cats by their nature are carnivores - they have been designed to eat meat and need a diet that contains both organ and muscle meats.

Sources - Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, ASPCA website, and several other veterinarian run websites. (Last updated 12/26/12)

12/16/09 - It was with great disappointment that I discovered several people publishing this article on their own websites and blogs and even more instances where it was copy and pasted in its entirety as blog and forum comments. This article is NOT in the public domain and MAY NOT be published elsewhere without written permission. Linking to this page does not mean you are exempt from copyright law.

People utilizing my article as true source material MUST identify as their source like I have done with Cornell and the ASPCA. Derivative works containing identifiable passages of my work are also a violation of my copyrights and action will be taken accordingly.

I apologize to the honest people who may be offended by these comments as they are directed at those people who may not understand copyright law or think they do not have to abide by it.

Copyright 2007