Dangerous substances

Protect your pets from eating dangerous substances
Explore our comprehensive guide to protect your pets. Learn about the foods to avoid in their diet.

Dangerous foods



The skin and leaves of avocados contain persin, which can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhoea). The pit can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.

Walnuts and macadamias

Macadamia and walnut ingestion causes vomiting, nervous system damage and muscular damage. Whilst also being high in fat, they can cause digestion issues.

Raw meat and bones

Raw meat can carry Salmonella bacteria. Salmonellosis causes diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, inappetence, fever etc. which can be life-threatening especially to puppies. Bones (raw or cooked) can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.


Chocolate contains an organic compound called theobromine which can cause gastrointestinal upset, neurological signs (tremors and seizures) and even death at high enough doses.

Grapes and raisins

Grape and raisin ingestion causes gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhoea), neurological signs (tremors and seizures) and renal failure.

Fatty foods

High fat foods can cause pancreatitis. Signs of pancreatitis include lethargy, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal upset and fever.


Coffee contains caffeine which can cause restlessness, panting, vomiting, neurological signs (tremors and seizures) and even death at high enough doses.


Xylitol is a natural sweetener commonly found in “sugar free” products. Some peanut butter spreads contain it. Xylitol ingestion causes profound low blood sugar, liver failure and death if left untreated.


Human medications should not be given to pets unless directed by a veterinarian such as Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen), antidepressants, sleep medications etc.

Garlic and onions

Garlic, onions, chives and leeks contain compounds that damage the red blood cells of pets, resulting in anaemia, organ failure, or death.


Alcohol ingestion is toxic to animals and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, stomach distress, muscle tremors, paralysis, seizures and loss of consciousness in high doses.

Toxic plants and mushrooms

Some plants and mushroom species can be toxic to your pet when ingested. Symptoms of toxicity include gastrointestinal upset and neurological signs.

Toxic plants

Spring is the perfect time show off our green-thumbs, by filling our homes and gardens with luscious flowers and plants! As beautiful as they can look, some of these can pose a threat to our furry friends.

Cats, dogs, birds and pocket-pets alike can become curious and easily tempted for a nibble of your new plant. Some pets can become itchy or even unwell, just by sniffing or brushing against these troublesome plants.

  • Azaleas
  • Cannibis
  • Chives
  • Cycad, Sago Palm and Zamia Palm
  • Daffodils & jonquils
  • Devil’s ivy (pothos)
  • Diffenbachia (dumb cane)
  • Holly
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lantana
  • Lillies (including Asiatic, day, Easter, Japanese show, stargazer, tiger, red, western and wood lillies)
  • Mistletoe
  • Moses-in-the-Cradle
  • Oleander
  • Philodendrons (including swiss cheese plant, heart leaf and fiddle leaf philodendrons)
  • Rhododendrons
  • Tulips
  • Wandering Jew
  • Yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • Lethargy
  • Itchy or red skin
  • Itchy and irritated eyes
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Excessive and unusual drooling
  • Excessive or unusual thirst
  • Disorientation or a lack of coordination
  • Pain around the abdomen area
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty or rapid breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness

These symptoms can vary greatly depending on which plant your pet may have come into contact with, so you may only notice one or two – it is important to be diligent and act fast.

If you are concerned your pet may have ingested a toxic plant, be sure to give us a call right away so we can commence diagnosis and treatment. If you can, take a photo of the plant, or take a snippet so we can try to identify what it is causing the issue.