Effects of Toxic Foods on Your Pet

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness of the potential dangers that pets face from exposure to toxic substances in the home. While many people are aware of the risks posed by chemicals and medications, fewer realize certain foods can also be toxic to pets. Let’s discuss the long-term effects of toxic foods in pets and offer some tips for keeping your furry friends safe. 

Toxic Foods For Pets 

Foods that are safe for humans can be highly toxic to pets. Chocolate, for example, contains theobromine, which can cause seizures, muscle tremors, and even death in doggies and kitties. Other common toxic foods include grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney failure, and onions and garlic, which can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. Even seemingly harmless foods like avocado and macadamia nuts can be toxic to pets. 

Immediate vs Long-Term Effects 

So, what are the long-term effects of toxic foods in pets? In some cases, the effects may be immediate and severe. In others, they may take weeks or months to appear. For example, if a dog eats a large amount of chocolate, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperactivity within a few hours. If the dog survives the initial ingestion, however, they may be at risk for developing heart disease later in life. Similarly, a cat who ingests a small amount of onion or garlic may not show any immediate symptoms, but over time, they may become anemic and develop other health problems. 

Psychological Effects 

In addition to the physical effects of toxic foods, exposure to these substances can also have psychological effects on your furry loved ones. For example, a dog who has ingested chocolate may become fearful of the substance because of his previous symptoms and avoid it in the future. This can be beneficial in terms of preventing future exposures, but it can also lead to anxiety and other behavioral problems. 

Keeping Your Pets Safe 

So, how can you keep your pets safe from toxic foods? The first step is to educate yourself on which foods are safe and which are not. The ASPCA maintains a list of foods that are toxic to pets, which can be a useful resource for pet owners. It’s also important to keep all potentially toxic substances, including foods, medications, and chemicals, out of reach of pets. Finally, if you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact us at AVC immediately. 

The long-term effects of toxic foods in pets can be devastating. Educating yourself on which foods are safe and taking steps to prevent exposure can help keep your furry friends healthy and happy. Remember, prevention is key, and by taking simple steps to keep your home safe, you can help ensure that your pets live long, happy lives.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for more tips, tricks, and education when it comes to you and your pet! 



  1. ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. (2021). People foods to avoid feeding your pets. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets 

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