Human foods causing toxic reactions:
Here is a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or a poison control center.
Alcohol Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.
Avocado Avocado contains a toxin called persin, but only certain species of animals are poisoned by persin. While dogs and cats are rarely affected by persin, avocado poisoning can be deadly to birds and large animals (such as cows, goats, sheep). The bigger risk to dogs and cats is a foreign body obstruction in the esophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract if part or all of a large avocado seed is swallowed. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is also possible due to the high fat content in avocados.
Pet birds, including canaries, parakeets, cockatiels, and large parrots, should never be fed avocado as they are extremely susceptible to persin. Signs of poisoning in birds include inability to perch, difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation around the bird’s heart and lungs, liver and kidney failure, and sudden death.
Ruminants and horses can also develop toxicity if they ingest enough avocados or avocado plant leaves. Ingestion can result in mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), swelling of the mouth, head, neck, or chest, and damage to the heart with potential for death.
Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Citrus The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.
Coconut and Coconut Oil When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.
Grapes and Raisins Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. It is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.
Macadamia Nuts Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Milk and Dairy Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Nuts Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
Onions, Garlic, Chives.
Chives belong to the Allium family (which also includes onion, garlic, and leeks) and are poisonous to dogs and cats. Certain breeds and species are more sensitive, including cats and Japanese breeds of dogs (e.g., Akita, Shiba Inu). Toxic doses from this family can cause damage to the red blood cells (making them more likely to rupture) leading to anemia. GI upset can also occur (e.g., nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia can also occur including lethargy, pale gums, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Signs of Allium poisoning can be delayed and not apparent for several days. While tiny amounts of these foods in some pets, especially dogs, may be safe, large amounts can be very toxic.
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option, however this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Salt and Salty Snack Foods Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets. Other sources of salt include homemade playdough or salt dough, rock salt (for de-icers), paint balls, table salt, sea water, and enema solutions (containing sodium phosphate).
Xylitol Xylitol (also known as birch sugar) is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods, toothpaste, mouthwash, lite ice creams, protein shakes, peanut butter, and condiments to name a few. Xylitol is not always precisely named, especially in sugar-free candies, or products labeled "non-fat". It can cause a large insulin release in canines, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Yeast Dough Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life-threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol).
Sources: Pet Poison HELPLINE (855) 764-7661 FEE $59
ASPCA (888) 426-4435 FEE $65