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Foods to Avoid Feeding Cats and Dogs

As much as they may beg us for our tasty human food, unfortunately not all foods are suitable for your dogs and cats. And as difficult as it may be to turn down their adorable faces, it will definitely benefit them in the long run.

To keep your furry friend as healthy as possible, there are certain foods you should avoid feeding them. If they happen to accidentally eat something they shouldn’t have, call or visit Northcote Animal Hospital as soon as possible and we can help your beloved pet feel healthy and happy again.

There are, however, also foods which are just as delicious as the human foods they can’t eat that your cats and dogs will love. So, next time they’re begging you for a tasty treat you can indulge them without harming them.

Foods Which Could Be Harmful to Your Pets


Avocadoes contain a fungicide called persin which some humans and all dogs are allergic to. That’s why when you’re having a Mexican night you should make sure to keep the guacamole out of your dog’s reach. Cats, on the other hand, are completely unaffected by persin.

Cheese and Dairy Products

Human evolution has allowed most people to develop an enzyme which breaks down the lactose in milk. But, like some people who are lactose intolerant, fully grown cats and dogs have not developed this enzyme and so it can upset their stomachs. Try to stick to water when it comes to the beverages your pets lap up.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine

Chocolate is probably the most well-known allergen to dogs, but not many people know why – they also don’t know that it can be just as harmful to cats. The reason is that chocolate contains theobromine, which is a caffeine-like compound which can cause your dog or cat’s nervous system to go into overdrive. But if they accidentally consume a piece of chocolate, don’t panic – it would take a whole block of chocolate to do serious harm to even the smallest dogs.

Garlic and Onions

Not only can garlic and onions stink up your pets’ breath, consumption of large quantities of foods in the allium genus of plants – like garlic, onions and chives – can deplete cats and dogs’ red blood cells, leading to anaemia. No matter whether they’re raw, cooked or in powdered form, avoid giving these kinds of foods to your pet.

Grapes and Sultanas

Scientists and veterinarians aren’t really sure what is in grapes and sultanas that is harmful to dogs, but they can lead to kidney failure. If your dog happens to eat a sultana or grape, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Similarly, while the effects of grapes and sultanas on cats is only anecdotal, it’s probably best for your cat to avoid them as well.

Try These Foods Instead

Just because there are foods our cats and dogs should avoid eating doesn’t mean there aren’t yummy treats and snacks available to them. Just remember, like humans, cats and dogs can have too much of a good thing. Treating your pet should be done in moderation, no matter how adorable their puppy eyes may be.

For Dogs – Peanut Butter

Peanut butter scooped into a peanut butter dispenser toy is not only a delicious dog treat but will also keep your pup occupied for hours trying to lick out every bit of peanut butter; it’s a double-win situation. Just make sure the peanut butter you feed your dog doesn’t contain xylitol, which can be harmful to them.

For Cats – Bread

In moderation, bread can be a great treat for cats and is a great source of protein and fibre. Try to opt for whole wheat or whole grain breads over white bread, though, as this is much healthier for them.

For Cats and Dogs – Salmon

Cooked salmon can have a lot of health benefits for you cats and dogs. Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation, keep your pet’s fur and skin healthy, and can be good for their eyes.

For Cats and Dogs – Fresh Vegetables

Just like humans, fresh vegetables are a great healthy snack for your pets. For example, fresh carrots, celery, beans and sweet potato can benefit your cat or dog’s digestion and general health. The main problem is that many cats and dogs don’t particularly like a lot of vegetables, so it may take a bit of trial and error to figure out which ones they do. If you do find some they like, though, feel free to let them snack away.

Need Further Information?

If you’d like any further information on what you should and should not feed your pets, why not take a look at these recent blog posts:

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Northcote Animal Hospital will be closed from Friday 29 March 2024 and re-opens Tuesday 2 April 2024.
You can still book online if your case is not urgent, otherwise, please contact CARE Emergency Centre on 1300 888 200.