7 Foods Your Dog or Cat Should Avoid

7 Foods Your Dog or Cat Should Avoid   by Neata Banner

Maltese Bischon mix

A Healthy Dog Is A Happier Dog

We all like to give our pets treats, but giving your pet the wrong food can cause stomach upsets and illness. This article tells you about seven foods that you should avoid feeding to your dog or cat.


The majority of dogs and cats love the taste of milk, but it is not something they need in order to have a balanced diet.

After a kitten or puppy has finished weaning, some of the lactose activity is lost (this is the enzyme that is used to digest the milk in sugar lactose) this results in lactose intolerance. So, if your dog or cat is lactose intolerant and consumes too much milk it will suffer from a stomach upset and diarrhoea.

Some pet owners believe that milk is a good source of calcium for a growing pet, but if your kitten or puppy consumes too much calcium it can cause problems in bone development. Puppy and kitten foods already contain the correct amounts of calcium so additional sources do not need to be given. If you want to give your dog or cat some milk as a treat, then do so very occasionally, and always make sure that there is plenty of water available.

Symptoms: Diarrhoea

Toxic Levels: Dependant on quantities and extremely variable


Lots of dogs enjoy the taste of onions, but unfortunately onions can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. This applies to raw, cooked or dehydrated onions.

Symptoms: Initially diarrhoea and vomiting, then approximately 1-4 days later your dog will develop a high temperature, paleness / jaundice, dark coloured urine, as well as becoming much weaker. Some cases can result in death.

Toxic levels: After eating a whole onion, a Labrador-sized dog could develop anaemia; but if he ate five onions a day for three days, he could develop severe anaemia or even die. Cats may also develop the same symptoms if onions are consumed.


We all know that cats are partial to a little bit of fish, so tuna as an occasional treat will not cause harm your cat. However, if canned tuna in oil is fed to a cat with no other food, your cat could develop a skin disease called Pansteatitis, sometimes called yellow fat disease.

It is always best to keep your cats diet balanced, so never feed one food and exclude another.

Symptoms: Cats can experience loss of appetite and become painful and sensitive to touch, making it difficult for your cat to move around easily.

Toxic Levels: Pansteatitis can develop from eating tuna and other fish products as a sole food each day, over a number of years.


Like Tuna, Liver contains lots of valuable nutrients, but problems can occur if it is fed to dogs and cats without any other foods.

It is surprising how easy it is to do this when you start feeding fresh liver to your cat. Some cats can become rather fixated on liver and often refuse to eat any other food, unless the owner makes a conscious effort to re-introduce a healthier and balanced diet.

In the short term, small amounts of liver can be given to cats that are not eating to encourage their appetite.

Keep your pets healthy through good nutrition

Keep your pets healthy through good nutrition

If a cat is fed liver regularly over several years and in sizable quantities, the high levels of Vitamin A in liver can start causing changes to a cat bones. To begin with it is difficult to detect that there is a problem, and quite often the problem is so far advanced that it causes severe deformities, leaving the cat unable to walk or move. Unfortunately there is no way to reverse these changes once they have occurred.

Signs: Lack of appetite, weight loss and reluctance to walk or move. Cats can also develop a kangaroo-like posture with the cat putting its weight on its back legs with the front legs elevated.

Toxic Levels: To harm a kitten, approximately 300 times the normal requirement of Vitamin A would need to be eaten, and 1000 times for an adult cat. This is based on short term feeding; less would be needed for it to happen during long term feeding.

Animal Bones

Pet owners tend to feed their dogs bones because they like to think their dog is enjoying having something to chew.

If your dog is being fed proprietary foods then he will already be eating a good balanced diet, and will not need to get extra nutrients or minerals from a bone.

Even though dogs love chewing bones there is a risk that the bone could splinter and cause injuries to your dogs mouth, intestines or stomach. In some cases dogs have broken teeth when chewing bones causing an obstruction in the intestines; obviously this is very painful for a dog and he is likely to require an operation to surgically remove the teeth or bone splinters.

Chicken or pork bones that have been cooked seem to cause most problems to dogs, but care should be taken when feeding any type of animal bones to your dog or cat.


A Happy and Healthy Maltese

A Happy and Healthy Maltese

Dogs seem to enjoy eating sweet foods such as chocolate, but generally cats are not fans. Chocolate contains an ingredient called Theobromine which is poisonous to dogs; the amount of Theobromine in chocolate varies depending on the type of chocolate. Cocoa powder and baking chocolate contains the highest levels, dark chocolate contains less and milk chocolate contains the least amount of Theobromine.

A considerable amount of chocolate would need to be consumed before any symptoms begin to develop, although some dogs have become poorly after eating a small amount. Even giving smaller repeated amounts of chocolate could eventually take an effect on your dog as it clear the Theobromine out of its system very slowly.

Chocolate dog treats are manufactured without Theobromine, so if you want to give your dog chocolaty treats always choose one specifically for dogs.

Symptoms: Diarrhoea, vomiting, shaking, tremors and nervousness. In extreme cases death can happen.

Toxic levels: Roughly 2 ½ bars of milk chocolate and 65g of baking chocolate could cause severe problems, or even death to a 10kg dog.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs so should never be fed to them. Research suggests that some dogs are more susceptible to poisoning than others, with some having severe symptoms after eating small amounts.

Symptoms: Within a few hours of eating grapes, a dog will start to vomit and have diarrhoea, which will then develop into kidney failure and death.

Toxic levels: For a dog the size of a Cairn terrier a bunch of grapes could cause toxic symptoms. Roughly 80g of raisins (dried grapes) could poison a dog the size of a Cairn Terrier.

About the Author

I have been involved in the pet industry for over 30 years, both in retail and competitively, and run an online pet store called Pet Crazy.co.uk. From a personal point of view pets have always had an important role in my family life. As a child, I was lucky enough to grow up with all manner of pets around me. I now have rabbits, fish, chickens, geese, ducks, cats, and birds that live happily in my garden.

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