Common Toxicities

Toxic Food for Dogs and Cats

There are many common household items that are toxic to your pet.

If your pet ingests any of these things, please notify us or the Bend Animal Emergency Center immediately.

  • Raisins and Grapes: are toxic to dogs. A small amount can result in kidney failure. Immediate induction of vomiting and administration of activated charcoal is very important to minimize the damage to your pet’s kidneys. Some animals require intravenous fluids for several days to protect the kidneys from damage.
  • Xylitol: is a sugar substitute often found in gum and breath mints. This chemical can cause a life-threatening drop in your dog’s blood sugar in the first 12 hours after it is ingested. At slightly higher levels, it is toxic to the liver. After exposure to Xylitol, it is important that an animal is monitored for these issues and treated with supportive care if any signs occur. Depending on the size of the animal and the type of gum, it sometimes only takes a couple of sticks of gum to be toxic.
  • Macadamia Nuts: are unlikely to result in death, but in high enough quantities, they can result in hind end weakness, tremors, and a low-grade fever. These animals also appear to be in pain. There is no antidote but pain medication and fluid therapy can help with recovery.
  • Chocolate: is a well-known toxin in animals. With the increased popularity of dark chocolate and a higher percentage of chocolate in candy bars- it takes less chocolate to cause problems in dogs. Signs of toxicity range from hyperexcitability, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some dogs require medications to lower their heart rate and sedatives to calm them down. One to two days after the ingestion of chocolate, dogs can develop pancreatitis which is a painful inflammation of the pancreas that results in vomiting, lethargy and sometimes diarrhea.
  • Essential Oils: While some essential oils are safe, animals are unable to process some of these substances like humans can, and they can build up in their system.  Eventually, these substances can become toxic.  Essential oils that should never be used on pets include Garlic, Anise, Clove, Yarrow and more.  Please contact us or a holistic veterinarian if you are considering using essential oils on your pet.
  • Lilies: are toxic to cats. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause kidney failure. Be sure to keep all lily plants and cut flowers away from your cats. The “Peace Lilly” is a green plant with white flowers and they are actually not in the lily family. Please contact us if you think your cat might have ingested part of a lily.
  • Tylenol: One Tylenol is lethal to a cat- resulting in facial swelling and respiratory distress. There is an antidote for this toxin so immediate medical attention can save your cat’s life.
  • Marijuana: can cause profound sedation, dribbling of urine and respiratory depression. Excessive amounts have resulted in coma and even death in pets. Do not allow your pet to ingest marijuana- especially in a concentrated form often seen in baked goods.
  • Moldy Food: While compost bins are great for your garden, some types of mold that grow on food can result in severe tremors and seizures if left untreated. The tremors can last for many days if left untreated. There is not an antidote, but muscle relaxers and sedatives can help your pet recover safely.
  • Mushrooms: A common problem in the spring in central Oregon are wild mushrooms. Many dogs ingest them in their own yard, or while out exploring. Depending on what type of mushroom is ingested, pets can either experience gastro-intestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea- or more neurologic-type symptoms. These signs vary and can include wobbliness (ataxia), disorientation, muscle tremors, vision changes, aggression, anxiety, lethargy, salivation or urination. As mushroom identification is difficult and some types can be very harmful to pets, early treatment and decontamination is always recommended.
  • Onions and Garlic: can result in damage to the red blood cells of dogs. Garlic is more toxic than onions, and while it is rare for animals to ingest enough of the compound to become seriously ill, dogs can also become sick from ingesting concentrated forms of these vegetables like onion soup mix and garlic powder. Symptoms can take several days to become apparent and your pet may appear to be lethargic, weak, and have orange to red urine.
  • Hops: are extremely toxic to dogs in both the fresh and spent form. Ingestion of hops can cause a severely high body temperature (over 108 degrees F in some cases) that can result in organ failure. Seek immediate veterinary care if this occurs.
  • Raw Bread Dough: can rise in your pet stomach and ferment. This can result in alcohol toxicity as well as severe pain and discomfort from the distended stomach. If your pet has ingested raw bread dough, vomiting should be induced and he should be monitored for symptoms of alcohol toxicity (disorientation, stupor, difficulty walking, vomiting, seizures, coma, death). If your pet appears disoriented, he should be hospitalized for supportive care and treatment.