Common Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Pets in Lake Zurich, IL

From tasty treats to sweet snuggles, we all love to spoil our pets. But in some cases, how you choose to spoil your furry friend may be hazardous to their health. Dogs and cats have different dietary needs than people and digest foods in different ways.

Below are some common foods that you should NOT feed your pets in Lake Zurich, IL.


While fine in moderation for people, chocolate can be deadly to dogs and cats. This is because it contains a bitter alkaloid called theobromine. Theobromine is more abundant in dark and bitter baking chocolates, but all forms of the sweet treat have at least a little.

This can cause diarrhea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, seizures and even death. It’s best to keep all chocolate products out of your curious critter’s reach.

Garlic, Onions, Chives, Shallots and Leeks

These are all members of the allium family and can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia. In small amounts, your pet will be fine however long exposure to small amounts or ingestion of a large amount can prove fatal.

If you like to cook with these, make sure to watch your pet and DO NOT allow him to lick your plate.

Raw Meat or Fish

It may seem a perfectly natural treat to give your cat or dog – after all, their ancestors and wild cousins survive off raw foods. However, raw meat and fish are carriers of the E. coli and salmonella bacteria that can cause diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration.

In many cases, these bacteria can be killed by simply freezing the meat or fish, and some pet owners believe a raw food diet is beneficial for your pet and leads to better skin, cleaner teeth, and healthy digestive systems.

Though the raw food diet has been increasingly popular among pet owners, there are risks that should be weighed out thoroughly – and discussed with your veterinarian – before you make the switch.

Raw Eggs

Also known for carrying E. coli and salmonella bacteria.

Raw egg whites also have a protein called avidin. Avidin can prevent absorption of vitamin B biotin. This could lead to dull coat and skin conditions.

Dairy Products

Though we all remember beloved cartoon cats stealing bottles of milk, dairy really isn’t good for them. In fact, cats are naturally lactose intolerant, which means they cannot properly digest cow’s milk, or any product made from it. Feeding your cat cheese, yogurt or milk can lead to an upset tummy.

While it’s okay to slip your pup a pill disguised in a slice of cheese dogs really don’t have the ability to breakdown the sugar found in cow’s milk.

The high fat content can also lead to pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas – which can lead to more complications.


This common sugar substitute is found in some peanut butter, candy, gum and baked goods. Xylitol is an alcohol that occurs naturally in plants. While it’s unlikely your cat will have much interest in eating these foods, the dangers are the same for both your feline friend and your canine companion.

Xylitol prompts a sudden surge of insulin, which causes a significant drop in blood sugar (insulin) and can cause liver failure. Be sure to check the ingredients of all foods before you share them with your pets.

Grapes and Raisins

Again, it’s unlikely you’ll find your cat interested in doing much more with a grape than batting it around on the floor, but the toxicity of grapes and raisins is the same for both cats and dogs.

Little has been discovered yet about what specifically makes grapes and raisin toxic to pets, but it has been known to cause acute kidney failure.

Salty Snacks

Too much salt can give your pet a condition known as sodium ion poisoning, which causes damage to brain cells and may lead to seizures.

In addition, salt will increase your dog’s thirst and cause him to drink too much water which may result in bloat.

Bloat is a potentially fatal condition in which your dog’s stomach fills with enough food, liquids, and/or air that it stops blood from returning back to the heart from the back of his body


While we may think of tuna as a natural and healthy food to give our cats, the saltwater fish contains mercury, which can build up to toxic amounts. Tuna also lacks some important nutrients, so a tuna-only diet is not recommended for your cat.

Bacon and Other High-Fat Meats

Foods with a high fat content can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Unlike cats, dogs are omnivores, meaning they need both meat and plants to keep healthy. This makes them less able to digest foods high in fat.


Alcohol has the same effect on your pet’s brain and liver as it does on yours, but because of their size, even a small amount can be fatal. Avoid allowing your pet to take even a quick taste of your alcoholic beverage as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death.


Just as with alcohol, the affects of caffeine are the same to your pet as it is to you. And just like with alcohol, only a small amount can be extremely dangerous for your pet.

Caffeine can cause cardiac arrhythmia and increased blood pressure. Don’t let your pet ingest even the tiniest amount of caffeinated food and beverages and if you think they have, get them to your veterinarian immediately.

Pay Attention to What You’re Feeding Your Pets in Lake Zurich, IL

When it comes to spoiling your pets, it’s best to stick only to products that are marketed for them. Odds are your pet will appreciate toys, treats and lots of love over anything else!

If you’re ever unsure about something your pet ate or something you’re thinking of feeding your pet, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

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About Companion Animal Hospital Lake Zurich

Located just a stone’s throw away from beautiful Lake Zurich, Companion Animal Hospital, formerly Lake Zurich Animal Hospital, has warmly welcomed pets and their families since 1973.