Due to a client request (Thanks Miranda!), I am going to add this page to our Healthy Pet Info. Toxic foods, plants and other objects are fairly common topics brought up by clients in a veterinary hospital. Most of these cases are accidental or incidental ingestions by pet dogs or cats but know about them my decrease the chances of your pet being the one involved. The focus of this page will be toxins of dogs and cats due to the large number of items in only these categories. I will categorize them as foods/plants and others. Some of these items will be true toxins while others may cause obstructions or intestinal disease.
Alcoholic Beverages– can cause intoxication, coma and death
Bones from fish, poultry and meat sources– can cause obstruction and laceration of the intestinal system
Baby foods– can contain onion powder which can be toxic to dogs and if fed in large quantities may result in nutritional deficiencies.
Chocolate-contains theobromine and caffeine, which are both toxic to pets, leading to heart and nervous system problems.
Citrus Oil Extracts-may cause vomiting in pets
Fat trimmings– may lead to acute or chronic pancreatitis
Grapes and Raisins-contain a toxin that leads to kidney failure
Hops– contains a compound that leads to increased heart rate, elevated temperatures, seizures and death
Liver-if ingested in either large amounts or as a staple of the diet may lead to a Vitamin A deficiency affecting the muscles and bones.
Macadamia Nuts-contain an unknown toxin which can affect the digestive, muscular and nervous systems
Milk and dairy product– Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This may result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets
Moldy or spoiled foods or garbage– Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs. This is sometimes referred to as trash can toxicosis
Mushrooms– Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
Onions and garlic– Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions
Persimmons– Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction
Pits from peaches and plums– Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)– can cause salivation, vomiting and diarrhea that may be hemorrhagic (bloody)
Raw eggs– Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of a vitamin B. This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
Raw fish-Can result in a thiamine deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly in the diet
Salt– If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances
Table scraps – Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat (may lead to pancreatitis); bones should not be fed (due to the potential obstruction and laceration of digestive system)
Tomato leaves and unripe fruit-can cause gastroenteritis, depression, salivation
Yeast dough– Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines
Coffee (drink or beans) and Tea (drink and levels)-due to the high levels of caffeine which is toxic to dogs, will cause neurologic and heart abnormalities
Marijuana– will suppress the nervous system, lead to vomiting and changes in the heart rate and blood pressure
String or Cloth– Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a “string foreign body” which may lead to loss of blood supply to the intestine. If this happens a portion of the intestine may need to be removed, leading to a poor out come in some situations.
Tobacco– Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.