Common foods that can be dangerous for pets

DogStealingFoodHC1412_X_300_C_YBy Steve Guntli

The temptation to slip your dog the occasional bite of people food from the table can be hard to resist, what with those big, sad eyes of theirs. But before you slip Fido some guacamole or a sip of beer, stop and think, because a large number of common household foods can be dangerous for pets. While most people know not to feed their dogs chocolate, plenty of other foods out there can cause serious health issues.

Here is a list of common household foods that you may not have known are dangerous for pets.


Spuds McKenzie may have been the spokesdog for a generation of Budweiser drinkers, but in reality, dogs are not meant to be boozing it up. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), alcohol can lead to breathing problems, tremors, abnormal blood acidity and vomiting. Too much alcohol can induce coma or even lead to death.


Xylitol is an increasingly common ingredient in household items such as gum, breath mints and toothpaste. While harmless to people, the sugar-free sweetener has been shown to cause low blood pressure and liver problems in dogs, and is roughly 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate. And it doesn’t take much to cause damaging effects: a study by VCA Animal Hospitals found it only takes about 50 milligrams of xylitol per pound of body weight to lower a dog’s blood pressure.

Raisins and grapes

According to the ASPCA, scientists are still trying to figure out what in grapes and raisins is so harmful to dogs. But while the research is still ongoing, it’s best to keep the fruit and any of its byproducts away from dogs, as they can cause kidney failure.


Avocados have proven health benefits for people, but they can cause serious stomach issues for dogs. Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. And dogs have it easy: if a pet bird or horse gets hold of an avocado, they could experience a severely swollen head and neck or cardiovascular death.

Onions, garlic and chives

To all cat owners out there: these pungent veggies and herbs can be disastrous for your feline friends. Onions, garlic and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation and damage red blood cells. While cats are most susceptible, dogs can be at risk, too, but they’d need to eat a lot more to get sick.

For more potentially harmful foods, visit or contact your veterinarian.

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