The Human Foods You Should Never Feed To Your Pets

deborah y. strauss d.v.m -the human foods- blog presentation

If you are a pet owner, you likely share many aspects of your daily lives with your animal companion: playtime, bed space, time spent outside on walks. These moments help to construct a deep bond between you and your pet, but they should generally be exempt of one act: sharing food.

It can be extremely tempting to feed your pet during dinner or as you sit on the couch with a bowl of snacks. You may feel as if you are strengthening your bond further, or maybe you are just easily swayed by a begging expression. However, it is important to understand that some of your favorite foods can be harmful and toxic to pets.

Here are a few common human foods you should never feed to your pets.


Chocolate is notorious for being a detriment to pet health, specifically for cats and dogs. This reputation is well-deserved, as chocolate can cause poisoning that may include an upset stomach, increased body temperature, rapid breathing, and seizures. Advanced stages of this poisoning can lead to cardiac failure and coma.


While most nuts have a variety of health benefits for humans, they should not be fed to pets. Almonds, pecans, and most members of the walnut family in particular are found to cause gastrointestinal problems and pancreatitis in many pets.


Like nuts, avocados are known for their numerous health benefits in humans – reaching “superfood” status in the nutritional world. For pets, however, these fruits can cause several serious health problems. In dogs and cats, avocado consumption can cause an upset stomach and a lack of stool production. Birds may experience difficulty breathing, organ failure, and death. Ruminant mammal pets, such as sheep and goats, may experience acute death.


The idea of getting your pet drunk may seem morbidly amusing at first, but this is a temptation you should strongly avoid. Alcohol can have a variety of adverse effects on pets, usually the same ones that plague humans after excessive consumption: vomiting, loss of coordination, and tremors, to name a few. However, it only takes small amounts of certain alcohols for pets to face serious health concerns.


Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener found in toothpaste, candy, baked goods, and gum. While the substance is not a food itself, the foods that contain it can be harmful to your pet’s health if consumed. Xylitol consumption is found to increase insulin production in most species, which can lead to vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.