Skip to main content

Unsuitable food for dogs, cats and rabbits : how to feed your pet right

Pet owners, especially newer ones who have just welcomed pets into their homes, often make the unfortunate mistake of feeding their pets with foods they think is suitable but is in fact a no-no in the pet rearing book. It is a true that certain pet foods on the market can cost even more that feeding your pet with “human” food. Some pet owners, concerned with cost and convenience, feed their pets off the table or with whatever food they may have in the fridge. Others have misconceived notions that certain foods are good for pets when it is the contrary and could be toxic for them. Pet feeding, like any other task, is something to be thought through with more care for the benefit of both your pet and yourself.

Feeding your pet right

Why more thought should be given to feeding our pets the right way

Pets, like humans need the right diet to stay healthy and happy. If not fed the correct way, they are prone to a great number of health problems. They should not come as much surprise.


Many would not think of obesity as a health problem fatal in nature but it can be for a small pet. My family had a toy poodle which my father pampered with her favorite food, hamburgers. She passed away from kidney failure and of course, heart disease and obesity. We learned a tough lesson from that episode.

Dietary Consistency

Like us, animals need a balanced and consistent diet of the foods that suit them best. If you feed nothing but table scraps to your dog, for example, it simply does not do.

Food intolerances/allergies

Animals may also be allergic to human food and develop irritations to the skin. Dogs, for example, may be allergic to beef and dairy products, chicken eggs, corn, wheat and soy.

The allergy shows up as a bad skin irritation that causes your pet to scratch.

Unhealthy coat/skin

Particularly true for dogs, your pet may develop hair loss and a dull coat as well.

Toxic Food

Table scraps and leftovers may do more harm to a pet than realized. Some foods that are thought to be good for animals may contain toxic substances that harm them. More on this in the description of the foods that dogs, cats and rabbits respectively cannot tolerate.

Food that is unsuitable for animals

As pet owners, we want the best food for our pets. Here are three common household pets - the dog, cat and rabbit - and the things we should and should not be feeding them.

Feeding Dogs

Unsuitable foods for dogs

Scroll to Continue

Chocolate, tea or coffee

Like humans, dogs can also develop an addiction to caffeine. Caffeine also affects the heart and the nervous systems of dogs (and humans as well.) Too much caffeine may trigger heart problems serious heart problems strong enough to kill a dog.

Real bones

The splinters, especially those of chicken bones, may pierce the digestive system of a dog when ingested and the rupture may cause death in the most serious of circumstances. If your dog has a preference for bones, do get him nylon ones that he can chew.


Canines and felines should never take spicy food, which can hurt the digestive system and cause diarrhea.

Processed food

Processed food or snacks may be unsuitable for you, and can certainly harm your dog which is smaller than you in size. The blow to your pet’s health may be rather substantial.

Spoilt food

As a matter of convenience, some owners feed their dogs with food that is about to go bad or already spoiled. There is no need to describe what the bacteria present can do.

Raisins and grapes

Raisins and grapes can hurt a dog’s liver. Dr Laurina Morris, DVM, a vet from Danville, Ohio, recalls how a patient lost her labrador mix after it consumed half a can of raisins. Many owners give dogs raisins innocently as treats and are unaware of their dangerous effects.

If your dog has inadvertently consume a grape, there is no need to panic. Not all dogs are allergic to them, though it is wise to err on the side of caution and not give them any at all.


These are foods that can trigger nervous system abnormalities like seizure, coma and vomiting. In serious cases, fatality can result.

In addition, Raw Eggs/Egg Whites, raw fish, persimmons, nutmeg and yeast may also be toxic for dogs.

Cat Food

Again, out of convenience, owners who have both cats and dogs may just decide that its less troublesome when feeding a dog cat food if that is what they have in the pantry.

Cat food is high in protein and fat. If ingested by a dog in large amounts, can produce a dose of Pancreatitis.

Feeding your dog raw versus cooked food

A raw food diet, quite the fad in feeding dogs, has the benefits of giving it a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, smaller stools, and higher energy levels. However, the bacteria in these foods can cause a substantial health risk.

So what is the right food for a dog?

Meat based diets are generally good for dogs, with boiled, boneless chicken being a top choice. Lamb and beef are good as well, but some dogs are allergic to these meats. It is not necessary to stop feeding a dog a lamb and rice diet if your dog has no problems.

Feeding your cat - the common mistakes made

Allowing a cat to jump onto a table to take food

Owners may be used to kitty behavior and allow their cats to jump onto the table and grab what is there. This is a bad habit which can be dangerous because it may actually end up consuming something that is dangerous or toxic. So which foods are harmful to cats?

Apricot, cherry, peach pits, almond nuts, apple seeds

These contain cyanogenic glycosides which can induce cyanide poisoning. It interferes with the blood releasing oxygen into the tissue and may end up causing suffocation.


Citric acid may cause vomiting in cats.


This is fine as an occasional treat, but must not be given regularly as it can cause Yellow Fat Disease.

Macadamia nuts

These are known to cause tremor or weakness in cats.

Potatoes and tomatoes

These contain solanine glycosides which can be harmful to cats and induce vomiting,abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, nervous system stimulation, depression, trembling, paralysis & cardiac arrest.

Onion and Garlic

Onions contain sulfoxides and disulfides which damage red blood cells & can cause haemolytic anaemia. Onions in particular are higher in this substance.

Feeding dog food

Again, the structure of the bodies of both cats and dogs are very different and dog food. Cats are oblgate carnivores and need more protein than dogs. So while dog food, cheaper than cat food, will not kill a cat, it lacks nutrients like taurine which cats need.

Certain foods that are not suitable for both dogs and cats.

These would be mushroom, cooked bones, anything with caffeine, grapes and raisins, yeast dough and nuts.

Feeding your rabbit


Rabbits are generally not able to ingest sugar and beets are sugary.

Breakfast cereals, root vegetables or fruit

Rabbits to not consume these by nature and some may contain substances which are toxic.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

As with cats, the solanine glycosides can induce the same problems in rabbits.

Onion and Garlic

As mentioned, the suffoxides and disulfides do the same damage to rabbits as they do to cats.

Lawnmower Clippings

Well intentioned owners looking to save costs may give rabbits the grass they have trimmed. However these contain residual substances which may cause digestive problems.

There is no exhaustive list of foods that should and should not be fed to your rabbit. However good lists can be referred to at the following websites below:

Small Animal Channel

Antelope Island Angoras


Feeding your pet the correct food may be more time consuming but the effort is well worth it as it reduces potential health concerns and injuries. When unsure of giving your pet any kind of food, is always wiser to err on the side of caution and consult a veterinarian.

Copyright (C) by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

No part of this work may be reproduced without prior consent of the author.

Other pet articles by Michelle Liew (midget 38)


Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Welcome, Pamela!! Glad it's been informative!! Hoping always to reach pet lovers like myself. Thanks so much for coming by!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 29, 2012:

Very thorough and interesting hub of feeding pets. There were several things that I had not heard before and I appreciate the information. Awesome hub!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Thanks Mary!! Intend to put more doggy articles out. I think dog lovers need something useful to refer to! Thanks for the read!!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 29, 2012:

Very good Hub for us dog lovers like myself. My dog has food allergies, so I have to feed her the Vet's food. I do make her chicken and rice for a special treat, though.

I voted this UP, and will share. Mary

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Wow, thanks Tracy. LOL! Dogs would get themselves into anything if they could, especially if it's chocolate cake! Thing is, because they cannot take the caffeine (even more than ourselves) they have to abstain. Thanks for coming by, and so glad to connect!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Uh oh. There you go, Mary. I also think it's good to be judicious when feeling your dogs fruit. You never know what they'll react to! Thanks for coming by!!

Mary Craig from New York on August 29, 2012:

Over the years we've learned more and more about what's good for pets and what's not. Unfortunately not everyone pays attention. This is a good hub with lots of useful information and warnings. I know of a Doberman Pinscher puppy who got kids raisins, ate a lot of them and died two days later! Thanks for this one Michelle.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

Tracy Lynn Conway from Virginia, USA on August 29, 2012:

Well done! Avoiding certain foods with pets can be confusing and even more so when you have more than one pet. Currently we have guinea pigs and hermit crabs and each has their list of what to avoid, I find myself having to recheck the list (or ask my daughter, since she is the expert). I remember learning that dogs are allergic to chocolate when first became a dog owner. One of my dogs loved chocolate, which meant we had to hide anything chocolate from him, if he could, he would devour a chocolate cake. His name was Drake and we called him "Chocolate Cake Drake."

~voted up and useful~

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Hi Janine, yup, all animals are different...they have different body structures between them, and need different types of can't give your dog what you give your cat! Thanks for the read, my friend!

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on August 29, 2012:

Michelle, nice job here. This article is so chock-full of useful for information for the new pet owner of what not to feed to their pet. Some of them I did actually know like chocolate and caffeine to dogs and others I did not. So very informative, I have of course voted up, shared and tweeted too!!

Related Articles