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What NOT to feed our pets !!!!

Most of us are guilty of it, and I have many a time scraped the leftover food into our dogs dish, or given her a treat or few from what we are eating.  Apart from a vague knowledge that grapes and chocolate are not that great for dogs, I had not really looked into it in any depth.

I’ve seen a few statements recently about dogs and wolfing down the Christmas candy, and I am guilty of giving the lolloping labrador of the house the odd square of chocolate and she is highly addicted to melon.

I am however, going to change my mind on the chocolate issue as having a look at some of the symptoms of doggie overdose have me utterly convinced that one more square of the cocoa variety is going to have her rolling onto her back with all four paws up in the air for her final breath.

Just to put things into perspective, I had a look for the most poisonous foods I could find for dogs (and other pets).  If your pet shows any of the signs or symptoms of poisoning after eating any of these foods, call your vet urgently.

1 – Cocoa  and Caffeine Treats

Chocolate – say no more, and coffee bean type treats.   Seemingly they overstimulate the heart and the nervous system.

Signs of Poisoning :  Increasing heart beat, agitation, diarrhoea, shaking, very thirsty, restless, seizures

2 – Fruits – Grapes and Raisins 

Thankfully I found no evidence of poisoning with melon as a result, but the possible effect of grapes and raisins opened my eyes as they can damage or cats and dogs precious kidneys.

Signs of Poisoning: Very thirsty, being tired, being sick and needing to pee more often.  As few as 4 – 5 raisins could be poisonous for a dog up to about 10kg.

Fruits – Seeds

Keep away form apple, cheery, peach and plum seeds as they contain cyanide.

It doesn’t take much to realise that a pet ingesting cyanide may become very sick, very soon.

Signs of Poisoning: Sickness, heavy breathing, irregular heartbeat, coma.

Fruits – Avocados

As well as having a high fat content, persin can cause problems in dogs.

Signs of Poisining: Sickness and diarrhoea.

3 – Alcohol and Yeast

I have heard of people laughing at stories of tipsy toms or drunken dachshunds (well, not really, but you get the picture).  It seems that alcohol has a similar effect to chocolate in poisoning our pets.  I think we might have been more aware of the dangers of alcohol in comparison to chocolate, but it is still a bit of a shock to realise that it affects all pets nervous systems.

Bread doughs and uncooked yeasty mixes are attractive to dogs but give the same effect as the yeast turns to methanol.

Signs of Poisoning : Increasing heart beat, agitation, diarrhoea, shaking, very thirsty, restless, seizures

4 – Vegetables – Onions

Any of the onion family can cause problems for our pets, and can also include garlic and chives.   They can destroy blood cells and damage kidneys.

It is difficult to know how much is too much, but effects from these can build up in the system.   Watch table scraps for cooking with onions and garlic in it.

Signs of Poisoning : Increased heart rate, tiredness, lethargy, being sick, diarrhoea, pale gums, blood in pee.

5 – Xylitol

This is a sweetener, used as a sugar free replacement and often used in chewing gum and sweets.  It does not agree with dogs, and causes an increase in insulin leading to low blood sugar, and can cause severe liver damage.

It does not take much to poison a dog so be aware if your four legged friend gets into a pack of your sweeties.

Signs of Poisining: Staggering, collapse and seizures, being weak and could be sick.

6 – Macademia Nuts

Pets in general tend to like nuts, especially dogs and small animals, so I was surprised to see that macademia nuts can cause muscle and nervous system problems for dogs.

Signs of poisoning: Being sick, being lethargic, shaking and body temperature increasing.


For the future, out goes chocolate for my girl, and thankfully her favourite melon gets to stay.   It is important to remember that not all animals will show all symptoms, so if your animal has overdone one of the things on this list, and begins to show the symptoms – please get good advice from a vet.