Treats Vs. Toxins: Foods That Harm & Heal

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While researching for this blog, we learnt a lot about human foods that our pets cannot eat. Some of those foods were a shock to us and have certainly made us think about checking more closely what we’re feeding our pets.

We also found that some gentle herbal medicines are just as good for your pets as they are for us humans, and can have the same helpful effects. We’ve been a big fan of the Lily’s Kitchen brand of dog and cat food after our Marketing Assistant Nicole’s dog tried it at the Dug Cafe in Loch Ness. Lily’s Kitchen brand is made from grain free natural ingredients and contains many helpful herbs and plant based material to aid thing such as digestion and skin conditioning. Take a look at their packaging for information on the ingredients.

Healthy Foods that Heal

Below we’ve mentioned a variety of flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables that can improve your pets diet and their overall health. Herbs and vegetables have different uses and can aid in recovery if your pet is under the weather. Some of these foods appear on more than one list, as they are.

We strongly suggest consulting your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet in any way, and be sure to add these foods over time rather than straight away.

Healthy Liver & Kidneys



The Liver and kidneys handle the treatment of waste in the body. Include these herbs, fruits, and vegetables in your pet’s diet to keep the liver and kidneys in optimum condition.

  • Burdock Root Cleavers
  • Dandelion Root
  • Golden Rod
  • Milk Thistle
  • Turmeric
  • Cranberries

Healthy Blood

Keeping your pet’s blood healthy and strong will aid their immune system and overall health. These foods will aid the cleansing of the blood of toxins, helping to lower blood pressure, all improving your pet’s health.

  • Burdock Root
  • Turmeric
  • Cranberries

Healthy Digestion & Gut

The digestive system and gut do two things; absorb good bacteria and nutrients to pass onto the blood system, and control waste from the body to keep other organs healthy.

These foods are a great source of digestive and gut help, high in fibre and aide the body’s natural systems towards good health.

  • Celery Seeds
  • Aniseed
  • Chicory Root
  • Turmeric
  • Green beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pumpkin


Healthy Skin and Fur

Just like humans, animals can suffer from sensitive skin, allergies and even hay fever. These foods have been known to help calm sensitive skin and itching.

They promote strong fur and shiny coats:

  • Chickweed
  • Cleavers
  • Golden Rod
  • Kelp
  • Marigold

Healthy Joints

Dogs and cats place a lot of pressure on their joints; running and jumping doesn’t come without it’s downsides and this can cause painful and inflamed joints.

Keeping your pets joints healthy will help them into old age. Even younger cats and dogs require healthy joints to go about their daily business.

  • Alfalfa
  • Celery Seeds
  • Rosehips


Healthy Teeth, Gums, & Breath

Dogs (and some cats) can suffer from particularly stinky breath, so we must be sure we look after their teeth and gums. Bad breath can be caused by a plaque build up or possibly poorly teeth. Always get your pet’s teeth checked out by a qualified veterinarian. If your pet has a clean bill of health, consider adding these foods to his diet to improve their breath and teeth.

  • Alfalfa
  • Kelp
  • Strawberries

    Over All Healthy Pets

There are many foods that are known to be general overall health boosters for our pets. Everything from supporting adrenal and immune systems, to strengthening bones and calming anxious or nervous pets. These foods are super foods at their very best.

  • Alfalfa
  • Celery Seeds
  • Chamomile (Calming and soothing especially at night)
  • Dandelion Root (Organ health)
  • Marigold (General Organ health)
  • Rosehips (Vitamin C and immune system)
  • Nettle
  • Passion Flowers (Night-time tonic for nervous or anxious pets)
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash.


Toxic Foods

There are a few foods that should never be given to pets. Some are just not good for them due to their high amounts of fat and sugar, but others are known toxins that can be killers in even small doses.

Do not feed your pets any of the following:

Alcohol – an obvious no go food for pets.

Avocado – More dangerous in birds, this is not a great food for most pets due to negative cardiovascular effects.

Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine – A substance called  methylxanthines is in each of these products. These cause vomiting, diarrhoea and poisoning in most animals. White chocolate has the lowest risk, while dark chocolate (and especially cooking chocolate) is the most toxic.

Citrus – While very small doses are generally only going to cause a mild tummy upset, larger doses of citric acid (found in the skin, flesh and peel of these fruits) can be dangerous for all pets.

Coconut and Coconut Oil – While coconut is a super-food in humans, its high levels of potassium is not great for pets. It may be OK in very small doses, but any larger quantities is likely to cause serious stomach upsets.

Grapes and Raisins – Conflicting information surrounds grapes and raisins. They are known to have toxic proprieties that may cause kidney failure in pets. Quantities are as yet unknown so safest avoided.

Macadamia Nuts – Poisoning from macadamia nuts will present itself within 12 hours and can last up to two days. In some cases it can be fatal as they are known to cause vomiting, tremors, hypothermia, depression, and weakness.

Milk and Dairy – Milk and Dairy is OK in very small quantities, but in larger quantities will cause digestive complaints and diarrhoea. Pets lack the enzyme lactase which is responsible for breaking down the lactose in milk and dairy products.

Nuts – Nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and possible pancreatitis in pets, due to their high level of oil and fats.

Onions, Garlic, Chives – In larger quantities these foods can cause damage to red blood cells, in small doses they are known to cause gastrointestinal irritation. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, although there is a risk to both species.

Raw/Under-cooked Meat, Eggs and Bones – Domesticated pets should not have raw bones as these can be dangerous (due to choking). Raw meats and eggs in general can contain salmonellae and E. coli bacteria which is just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods – These are not good for your pets in general, but too much can cause sodium ion poisoning. Watch out for the usual signs of vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, shaking, and a high temperature. Too much can lead to seizures and even death.

Xylitol – Xylitol is a sweetener which mimics sugar and is found in a LOT of sweetened products (peanut butter can be a nasty for this). Xylitol tricks the body and causes it to release too much insulin, this can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).


We hope you have learnt something about toxins and treats and are more comfortable in giving your pets home-made foods. Remember to always check with your vet before changing their diet though!

If you’ve made your pets any home-made treats we’d love to see them on our Facebook and Twitter pages!