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Ingested Toxins

  Toxic foods for Pets, Port road vet Adelaide

Foods toxic to Pets

Pets are our family members so we are tempted to share our food with them at times. This can be very dangerous to your pet’s health if it is a toxic food. Here is our list of common foods toxic to pets.

Chocolate and coffee

Chocolate and coffee contain theobromine which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Milk, dark and white chocolate, as well as desserts that contain chocolate or coffee can cause a toxicity. Signs of a chocolate or coffee toxicity may include vomiting, diarrhoea, a racing heartbeat, hyperactivity, seizures, abnormal staring, or death. If any of these are seen at home, and your pet has had any potential access to chocolate or coffee, we recommend bringing them into the vet as soon as possible. Remember, even wrapped boxes of chocolate under the Christmas tree can be a risk and don’t forget to keep your Easter Eggs hidden!


Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants are popular snacks and are in many festive desserts. These fruits will cause acute kidney failure in cats and dogs. Not all pets are affected. However, due to the fatal potential of these toxins, any ingestion should be taken incredibly seriously. The kidneys may be seriously damaged even though the animal doesn’t appear unwell. Signs that may be seen include vomiting, diarrhoea, being off food, drinking more, urinating more, or not urinating at all. Any pet that has eaten grapes, raisins, currants or sultanas should come to the vet as soon as possible. Remember that these toxins may be hiding in Christmas cakes or puddings.


Onions, garlic, leeks and chives are more foods toxic to pets. These foods cause damage to our pets’ red blood cells, which are crucial to providing oxygen and nutrients to the body. The loss of oxygen makes them feel weak and flat. They may also cause vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and pain. If your pet does ingest any of these toxins, they should present to the vet as soon as possible.


Macadamia nuts are another toxin, that may be included in turkey stuffing, coated in chocolate, or eaten as snacks. Macadamia nuts will commonly cause weakness in the back legs, wobbliness, muscle tremors or joint and muscle pain, but may also cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Any pets with a history of access to macadamia nuts should present to the vet as soon as possible.


Pets are much more sensitive to alcohol than people. Any pet who ingests alcohol should present to the vet as soon as possible. As a follow on, there may be ibuprofen, Panadol or aspirin in the house, to help us recover. These medications are all incredibly toxic to dogs and cats, even if the pet just chews the packaging or licks the medication. Any access to these medications is definitely an emergency, and you should present your pet to the vet immediately! While it is tempting to spoil our pets with treats, too many can make them sick and they may end up with a stay in hospital.  It is also worth remembering that while not directly toxic, fatty foods and table scraps can make your pet unwell e.g. sausages, ribs, cheese, ice cream, biscuits. These may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, or potentially fatal conditions such as pancreatitis.  It is also important to try and avoid allowing your pets eat things that can get stuck in the intestine. Typical items that cause blockages are bones, tinsel, ribbons, string, decorations, socks, underwear or toys.

If your pet eats any of these foods prompt life-saving treatment is required. Please call us immediately on 08 8340 0388.

For more information on Easter dangers read our Easter toxins blog