Foods Harmful To Pets

In my last blog post about how to keep your pets safe on Halloween I mentioned that many types of candy can harmful to pets. Given that I had to address many other topics, I was unable to go into great detail about which types of candy are indeed harmful. That didn’t sit well with me so today I’m going to do just that.Most veterinarians agree that pet owners shouldn’t feed their pets people food. Being a lifelong pet owner myself I know that that’s easier said than done. You’re sitting down having a meal with your family and your dog sidles up to you. You look at your furry friend and say, “No, buddy. This food isn’t for you,” or, “No Begging!” This is when they, invariably, put on the charm. They look at you with those sad eyes and your heart melts. You give in. My dog always cocks her head to one side. It’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. As soon as she does it (and she knows what’s she’s doing!) I give in.

That said, there are many foods you should avoid giving your pets. Below I’ve detailed many of these foods that are common in most households, especially around Halloween.


Chocolate is probably the most well-known of the foods that are harmful to pets, especially dogs. However, most people don’t know why. There are two chemicals found in chocolate that are toxic to animals: Caffeine and Theobromine. If your pet ingests enough chocolate these chemicals reach toxic levels and if you don’t act quickly they can die within 24 hours after they eat it. Milk chocolate has less caffeine and theobromine than dark chocolate but please just avoid giving them any type of chocolate. Don’t assume that there is a safe amount you can give them. Toxic levels are reached with different amounts of chocolate depending on the size of your dog.


I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is Xylitol? Well, I’ll tell you: Xylitol is one of the myriad artificial sweeteners used today. It can be found in all manner of things like candy, gum, mints and even mouthwashes and toothpastes. It very harmful to dogs and can cause liver damage. It damages the liver because it causes their bodies to produce large amount of insulin. It is unclear whether or not xylitol is harmful to cats but I recommend you avoid your cat’s exposure to it just to be on the safe side.

Raisins and Grapes

When I was a child I was perplexed each year by people that insisted on handing out fruit to trick-or-treaters. It went against everything Halloween stood for (in my young, candy-centric mind). Regardless of my youthful opinions on the subject people, to this day, hand out fruit on Halloween. Not all fruit is harmful to pets but grapes and their dried out version, raisins, are. It is unclear why they are toxic but nonetheless they can cause the kidney of both cats and dogs to very suddenly fail. If ingested regularly they can cause complete shutdown of the kidney. Whether we know why or not, avoid giving your pets raisins and grapes.

I hope this little blog has been helpful and that it will help you keep your pets safe. I focused on harmful foods commonly associated with Halloween. There are other foods that are toxic to animals and I encourage you to research the topic. Even if you have pet insurance you don’t want to go through the nightmare of having a sick or poisoned animal. You owe it to your furry best friend to be as informed as is possible about things that can harm them. You’re their protector, after all.

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