In present day culture, pets are more than just animals. Pets are part of our families – they’re our babies, and people love to spoil their babies. One of the most common ways that people spoil their pets is by occasionally giving them human food to munch on.

It’s so much fun to see how excited our furry friends get when they’re given a treat, but for me personally, sometimes there’s a nagging voice in the back of my head that asks “is that really safe for animals?”

In an effort to save us all the worry of unintentionally harming our fur babies, below is a list of 12 human foods that you should never feed your pets. For more information, visit the ASPCA website.

Candy / Baked Goods / Gum

Xylitol is a sweetener found in baked goods, candy, and gum. If pets eat something that contains xylitol, their bodies trigger an insulin release, and this can potentially lead to liver failure.

If you think that your pet may have gotten into your sweets stash, common signs to watch for are vomiting, loss of coordination, and fatigue. Most people avoid feeding their pets candy and baked goods anyways, but be sure to put your cookies in a safe, out of reach place.

Salt / Salty Foods

If a pet ingests too much salt, they can suffer from excess thirst and urination. In severe cases, pets can suffer from sodium ion poisoning.

Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, high body temperature, tremors, and seizures. If a pet goes without medical attention for too long, the results can be fatal. Be sure to hide your potato chips, salted peanuts, and any other particularly salty snacks.

Grapes / Raisins

These two fruity treats are especially harmful to dogs. Medical specialists aren’t yet aware of what causes grapes and raisins to be toxic, but if ingested by dogs, the fruits can cause kidney failure.

Although these fruits are most dangerous for dogs, you should avoid feeding them to other pets as well, just to be safe.

Onions / Garlic / Chives

Cats are in more danger than dogs, if these herbs and vegetables are consumed, but dogs can be put at risk as well depending on the amount consumed.

Onions, garlic, and chives can lead to irritation in the digestive system, and this can cause red blood cell damage. Even if you make the most bangin’, delicious garlicky spaghetti out there, do your furry friends a favor and don’t give them any. 

Nuts

Because nuts contain high oil and fat levels, this can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. In severe cases, consuming too many nuts can lead to pancreatitis, which is the medical term for inflammation of the pancreas.

Macadamia nuts are especially harmful to dogs. If consumed, symptoms include tremors, weakness, vomiting, depression, and hyperthermia.

Raw Meat / Eggs / Bones

Pets are susceptible to Salmonella and E. coli just like us humans are. For this reason, it’s important that you fully cook meat and eggs before you or your pet chow down.

Raw bones are potentially dangerous to pets for a different reason. While wild animals are accustomed to hunting for their food and chewing on raw bones, domestic pets aren’t.

While chewing on a raw bone, there’s a possibility that the bone could splinter. If this happens, the splinter could get stuck in your pet’s digestive tract, or it could lead to a puncture in their tract.

In any case, stick to bones that are from your local pet retailers that are advertised specifically for pet consumption.

Coconut / Coconut Oil

The oils that are found in coconuts can cause upset stomach and diarrhea in our furry friends. Coconut can’t cause serious harm to pets unless large amounts are consumed, but you’re always better off airing on the side of caution. 

Milk / Dairy

Contrary to popular belief, dairy products aren’t the safest or the healthiest for pets. Consuming milk and other dairy products can cause an upset digestive system and diarrhea because pets don’t have much lactase in their systems. Lactase is necessary in order to break down the lactose in milk – pets are basically lactose intolerant. 

Avocado

This one is for you more out-of-the-box pet owners – particularly those of you who own birds, horses, donkeys, rabbits, sheep, and/or goats. In birds, avocado can cause damage in the cardiovascular system, which can sadly lead to death. For our other furry friends listed, avocado causes swelling in the neck and head.

Although we humans are obsessed with all things avocado, we should avoiding sharing the obsession with our pets.

Citrus

In small amounts, citrus fruits will cause little to no harm in pets – if anything, just a slight upset stomach. However, if a large amount is consumed, the citric acid can cause central nervous system depression. Like with coconut, it’s better to be safe than sorry and simply avoid citrus from the get go.

Chocolate / Coffee / Caffeine 

There’s a substance called methylxanthines that is naturally present in chocolate and coffee, and is necessary in making certain sodas.

When pets consume methylxanthines, they can experience panting, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythm. In the most severe cases, consuming any of these three things can lead to death.

The darker the chocolate, the more harm it can cause to a pet, so be sure to stash all of your chocolate in an area where it’s unreachable to pets. Avoid leaving open containers of coffee or soda out where pets can get into them as well.

Alcohol

It might seem like a hilarious idea to get your pet drunk, but in reality, it’s extremely unsafe and should be avoided at all costs.

If your pet consumes alcohol, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, central nervous system depression, abnormal blood acidity, and coma. In severe cases, alcohol consumption can be fatal for pets.

Leave your pets out of the partying, period.

If your fur babies do happen to get into any of these foods, you can contact the ASPCA at (888) 426-4435. Your veterinarian is always a resource for you in times like these, so do not hesitate to contact them either.

Commit this list to memory so that you can avoid causing any unintentional harm to your pets. If you don’t want to risk any harm at all, you can always stick to treats that are specifically designed and advertised for pets at your local retailers.

At the end of the day, Spot may not be able to eat oranges, but I don’t think he’ll be too upset with those trusty Beggin’ strips.