things that can poison your pet include common foods

Things That Can Poison Your Pet – Toxic Foods and Plants


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Things that can poison your pet often aren’t lurking in a dark corner, instead they’re right there in the fruit bowl or in your garden! And while most dog and cat parents want their pet to be as healthy as possible, take note, some foods and plants that are good and safe for people are poisonous to pets!

If for example, you’ve ever Googled “can dogs eat (just insert in any number of things) or “what can dogs not eat”, you’re not alone. Most pet parents have at some stage wondered whether what they’re about to feed Fido will make him sick, or worse. 

Sure, grapes are a healthy snack for humans, but if you’re wondering can dogs eat grapes, the answer is no. If you’re unconvinced, then read about Kiwi pup, Harvey the miniature Schnauzer who landed in vet hospital after he ate one grape.

Dogs routinely end up at the emergency vet after eating something toxic. Sweet Hazelnut nearly died after accidentally ingesting 30 heart medication pills. Read Hazelnut’s Story.

But first, read this to find out about common foods and house plants that can be poisonous to your pet, dogs and cats included. Here’s what to avoid feeding or placing near your pet.

What foods are toxic to dogs and cats?

While we know it can be hard to ignore those hopeful puppy dog eyes that burrow into your soul as you eat your lunch… And those curious cats can be up on the kitchen bench chowing down on your leftovers in no time.

But before you succumb to those adorable rascals, consider if what they’re about to eat might actually be poisonous to them. Plenty of wholesome foods are a common part of the human diet but should never be fed to your dog or cat.

You need to be armed with knowledge, so here’s what to avoid:

Things that can poison your pet include these avocados

*Please note, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start.

1 Onions, garlic and chives
2 Chocolate and caffeine (all the more for us humans!)
3 Grapes and raisins
4 Macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans
5 Yeast dough (be aware, this can rise in their belly)
6 Mouldy food (so be sure to throw those old leftovers in the bin)
7 Cooked bones (because these can splinter and cause internal damage)
8 Most raw bones (can cause intestinal obstructions)
9 Corn cobs (these can literally plug their digestive system)
10 Apple seeds (apple flesh is fine, but the core is not)
11 Artificial sweeteners like xylitol (xylitol toxicity in dogs can be fatal)
12 Avocado
13 Fruit pits (cherries, peaches, plums etc)

Oh, have you ever wondered about vegemite for pooches – if so, then read can dogs can eat vegemite for all the answers!

What foods won’t poison your pet dog?

Carrots aren't on the list of things that can poison your pet.

Dogs are omnivores, so a diverse diet can be a really healthy thing. Not only does it make life more interesting, but it helps to ensure they’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals.

Here are some common human foods that are also safe to feed dogs.

  • Carrots, broccoli and cucumber
  • Raw chicken necks (only if very fresh)
  • Human-grade raw meat
  • Soft meaty bones, like lamb ribs (raw only – never feed cooked bones)
  • Canned fish (in spring water, not oil)
  • Blueberries, banana, mango and pineapple
  • Cooked pumpkin and sweet potato
  • Natural yoghurt and cheese (although these only in small quantities to avoid diarrhea)
  • Eggs
  • Fresh fish
  • Dognuts (yep you read that right, so check out the recipe here)

Read about National Pet Obesity Day for tasty treats that are wholesome and safe for pets.

What foods are safe for cats?

Your feline friend is likely more discerning than old garbage-guts, the Labrador. Cats are carnivores and require diets comprised mostly of meat, but some vegetables can provide a healthy boost, too.

Here are some human foods that are also safe to feed cats.

1Salmon (oily fish is great for cats – you can even buy supplements!)
2Cooked eggs
3Minced meat (ask your butcher for mince made from entire frames of animals for a calcium boost)
4Cooked carrot and pumpkin
5Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
6Organ meat (livers, hearts, kidneys – small amounts only)

Want some top tips on how to feed your cat naturally, then read about these homemade cat treats that use the ingredients above. Plus, they’re human friendly too so you and your cat can even eat together.

Worried about things that can poison your pet, like toxic food? Or even poisonous plants that could harm your dog or cat? Click for more info.

Plants are things that can poison your pet

It’s not just food you need to worry about when it comes to things that can poison your pet. There are some common household items that are harmful to pets like, for example, essential oils. Plants seem so innocent but they’re often a major culprit, too.

Of course, curiosity can lead cats and dogs to explore the garden (or your indoor plants) with their mouths. Cats and dogs may ingest poisonous plants while playing with them, or even deliberately eat them.

It’s best to make sure you don’t bring these poisonous plants onto your property and take care when you’re out and about with your cat and dog.

  • Karaka berries (these are common in parks and public places in NZ)
  • Lilies (especially those in the ‘true lily’ and ‘daylily’ families – more info here)
  • Succulents (particularly ‘sticks on fire’ or pencil cactus)
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons 
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodils
  • Peace lilies (a very popular indoor plant)
  • Devil’s ivy (also a hip indoor plant)
  • Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora)

Watch the PD vet vlog to find out more household items to keep away from pets:

Signs of poisoning in dogs and cats

No one wants to think about their beloved pet being sick, but it’s important to know the signs of poisoning. Because despite not wanting to think about it, it’s better to do so in advance.

That way, if something happens, whether it’s accidental ingestion or something else, you won’t have to research what to do. Instead you’ll be able to act fast and get them to the vet ASAP.

If your dog or cat does manage to ingest something toxic, they may show any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Racing heart
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapsing
  • Excessive thirst and/or urination
Worried about things that can poison your pet, like toxic food? Or even poisonous plants that could harm your dog or cat? Click for more info.

How to help your poisoned pet

If your pet shows any of these symptoms and you suspect they’ve eaten something poisonous, don’t hesitate, rather get them to the vet ASAP. Also try identify what the poison was and, if possible, take a sample to the vet. If you this, you might in fact help them treat your pet more efficiently.

Understanding what foods are safe for dogs and cats is important because it’s the best way to protect them from eating something toxic. But if the worst should happen, you’ll be thankful you have adequate pet insurance to help cover the vet bills.

You might be wondering if pet insurance is worth it… if so, read do I really need pet insurance to understand how much this can protect your pet. Besides, if you get your PD Insurance pet care plan online, you’ll get one or more months of free pet insurance.

Why wait for things to go pear-shaped? Click below to get a free quote.

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