Common Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Pets in Oak Park, IL


You love your pet, and sometimes, that means you want to share your food with them, too. But did you know that eating table scraps can be dangerous for pets? Although a bite of pet-safe meat or vegetables from your plate every now and then usually won’t hurt anything, there are plenty of foods you should never feed your pet in Oak Park, IL.

common foods you shouldn't feed your pet in Oak Park, IL

These foods can cause a wide range of symptoms from stomach upset to toxicity and even death, so it’s important to brush up on what to avoid when sharing human food with your pet.

And remember: when in doubt, leave it out! There’s no need for your pet to eat any human food at all, so if you’re not sure about a particular item or ingredient, just don’t share it with your pet at all. This is the safest way to deal with uncertainty about table scraps.

Chocolate and Caffeine

Caffeine is extremely dangerous for dogs, cats, and most other pets as well. Chocolate is dangerous for the same reason; chocolate contains caffeine just like coffee does. Chocolate and caffeine both cause dehydration, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, fast or abnormal heartbeat, hyperactivity, seizures, and even death in animals. Both chocolate and caffeine should always be avoided in pets.

Dark chocolate contains more caffeine than other types of chocolate. White chocolate contains the lowest amount, but does still contain some. Cacao and baking chocolate have very high levels of caffeine, so pay special attention to these types of chocolate when you’re cooking and baking around your pets.

Keep Alcohol Away from Your Pets

This should go as a given but alcohol is extremely dangerous for all types of pets. You should never purposefully give your pet alcohol at all, but some pets are prone to trying to drink it when it’s left unattended in the house for too long.

If you think your pet has ingested any alcohol from any source, contact your vet right away to schedule an emergency appointment. You will need to take your pet to an after-hours emergency vet clinic if your regular vet is unavailable

Alcohol ingestion in pets can cause problems with the central nervous system, lack of coordination, confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, trouble breathing, and seizures. It can and often does eventually lead to death.

Citrus Fruit and Pets Don’t Mix

Citric acid can cause nervous system problems in both dogs and cats, even when ingested in small amounts. The peel, leaves, and stems of citrus fruit are the most dangerous, but the fruit itself should be avoided as well.


Avocado contains persin, which is a toxin. Most dogs and cats can eat a small amount of avocado without suffering any effects of persin toxicity. However, the peel, pit, and leaves are more dangerous than the fruit itself. Avocado is most dangerous for birds, horses, sheep, goats, and rabbits.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic both can cause red blood cell problems in dogs and cats alike. The problem is more common in cats than it is in dogs, but both dogs and cats should avoid eating onions and garlic for this reason. Even if severe effects are not seen, pets may often have stomach upset from eating these foods.


Scientists and veterinarians currently do not know why grapes are toxic to dogs. However, grapes are very dangerous for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. They often cause kidney failure when fed to dogs. The same is true of raisins and of anything that is derived from grapes.


In dogs, cats, and a variety of other pets, Xylitol quickly leads to poisoning and death. Xylitol causes too much insulin to be released into the body, which in turn causes hypoglycemia and liver failure as well as weakness, confusion, seizures, and death in severe cases when left untreated.

Keep Salty Food to a Minimum for Your Pet in Oak Park, IL

Pets can usually have a bite or two of salty foods without many repercussions, although small pets should not even have this much salt in their diets. Too much salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning and may cause seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and death.


Although you may think it’s a good idea to give bones to your dog, you should stick with dog-safe treats instead. Bones can easily chip and become dangerous as your dog chews on them. Pieces can get lodged in their throat or digestive tract in severe cases, so stay away from bones in your pet’s diet.


The high levels of oils in nuts can lead to pancreatitis, especially in dogs. Macadamia nuts specifically are toxic to dogs and may cause shaking, depression, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and hyperthermia. Dogs may become very ill when they eat macadamia nuts and should see a vet if this occurs.

Steer Clear of Dairy Products for Your Pets

Most pets are lactose-intolerant and can easily cause bloating, gas, stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Although your pet won’t become poisoned by dairy, they may become sick if fed too much of it, so you should refrain from giving it to them as much as possible.

Coconut Products

Coconut, coconut water, and coconut oil can cause severe diarrhea in some animals. It’s usually okay for pets to have a small bite of something cooked in coconut oil, but it’s best to avoid coconut and its products if at all possible.

Keep These in Mind When Giving Food to Your Pet in Oak Park

With this information, you should be able to better understand which table scraps are safe to share with your pet and which you should avoid. If you do share something your pet shouldn’t eat, be sure to take them to the vet right away. Although they may recover just fine from a single instance, there’s always a chance they could suffer severe consequences of being fed something they can’t handle.

Remember that dogs and cats have different digestive systems and therefore may have some differences on this list as well. Additionally, pets such as birds, rodents, and reptiles have their own lists of foods they should never be fed. When you have a unique or exotic pet like this, you should take time to research the options and find out for sure which foods you should always keep out of your beloved pet’s diet.

At Companion Animal Hospital of Oak Park, we offer new puppy and kitten owners with informational kits with nutritional tips to help them be the best pet owners that they can be!