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Any “people food” that we give our pets can carry the risk of causing GI upset in sensitive animals, there are several foods that can be much more dangerous and some can even cause life threatening issues.

Grapes and raisins have the potential to cause kidney failure. Unfortunately not much is known about the toxic substance in grapes or raisins and the amount that can cause problems is very individual. In some pets even very small amounts can cause serious problems. For this reason it is best to avoid feeding these altogether.

Alcohol in beverages or food can cause serious issues and should never be given under any circumstance or in any amount.

Chocolate, coffee & caffeine all contain a substance called methylxanthines which are found in cacao seeds. This is found in chocolate, coffee and some sodas. In pets it can cause serious issues including death. Dark chocolate or baking chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate, but even milk chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination & hyperactivity. Side effects and severity will depend on the weight of your pet, type, and amount eaten. It is always best to check with your veterinarian in the event of ingestion.

Macadamia nuts – This is a lesser known culprit of toxicity but ingestion can cause depression, weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.

Coconut water and Coconut oil – While small amounts are unlikely to cause problems, larger amounts can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to pets.

Onions & garlic – Both can cause GI irritation and have the potential to cause red blood cell damage if larger amounts are consumed.

Raw meat and eggs – Both can contain Salmonella or E. coli which can cause illness in pets. Raw eggs contain avidin which decreases absorption of biotin which can lead to skin/coat problems.

Xylitol – This an artificial sweetener sometimes found in gum, candy, toothpaste, peanut butter and baked goods. Xylitol ingestion in pets can cause vomiting and lethargy and can progress to seizures and liver failure.

Yeast dough – If ingested, yeast dough can rise in the stomach and cause painful gas and bloating which could potentially cause the stomach to twist and cause a life threatening emergency.

Other foods that have the potential to cause GI upset are milk and dairy, salt and salty snacks, citrus and nuts. Issues are more likely to become serious when larger amounts are eaten, especially with smaller pets.

It is always best to use caution when giving any “people” foods especially in pets with sensitive GI systems. Knowing which foods to completely avoid is crucial and getting medical advice as soon as possible when your pet has gotten into something unintentionally can sometimes mean the difference between a good and bad outcome.