• The Barns, Crows Lane, Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8RR
  • 01245 324437

Below is a list of common household foods and substances that can actually make our pets quite poorly. Please bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and if you are ever unsure if something can be toxic to your pet, contact your vet as soon as possible for advice – it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Theobromine, found in chocolate, especially dark chocolate

Blocks certain receptors in the central nervous system, leading to tremors, fast heart rate and kidney dysfunction, high doses cause death

Organic sulphur compounds, found in onions, garlic and other plants of the species Allium

Damages red blood cells, leading to a Heinz body anaemia. Causes vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, death

Vitis vinifera fruit species, i.e. grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants

The toxic mechanism is unknown, but leads to intestinal bleeding, cessation of urination, acute kidney failure, neurological signs, death

Xylitol (artificial sweetener), found in sugar-free gum, sweets, toothpaste, some jams/peanut butters, some baked goods

Stimulates the release of insulin in the body, rapidly leading to dangerously low blood sugar, vomiting, collapse, seizures, coma, death

Anticoagulant rodentacides e.g. warfarin, difenacoum. Found in rat bait/poison

Inhibits blood clotting, leading to internal haemorrhage, pale gums, collapse, difficulty breathing, death

Ibuprofen and paracetamol (in cats), found in many pain-relief and cold/flu medicines

Kills special cells in the kidneys, leading to rapid kidney failure. Causes vomiting, inappetance, depression, convulsions, death

Ehylene glycol/ethanediol, found in antifreeze

Damages the kidney and rapidly decreases calcium levels. Causes vomiting, weakness, convulsions, coma, death


Even if your pet seems fine, do not wait for the onset of clinical signs as it may already be too late. If you can get to your vet within 2 hours of ingestion, your vet may be able to make your pet sick. Some animals may need hospitalisation and intense treatment to flush out the toxins. The sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis. For more information, or if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, please call the clinic on 01245 324437.