What Can Raccoons Not Eat? (13 Foods They Can’t Eat)

You may know them as your naughty neighborhood vandals, or your clever, black-eyed cuddly pet, either way, one thing we can all agree on is that raccoons will eat anything. Well, almost anything.

If you know anything about raccoons then you’ll know that they will go through your garbage if it means they can get a meal. These animals will eat almost anything. So, what can raccoons not eat? This article looks into it.

Raccoons cannot eat chocolate, cocoa, coffee, onions, spices, avocados, guacamole, candies, processed sugars, bread, cows milk, raisins, macadamia nuts, and chips. Eating these foods can cause raccoons to suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, anemia, heart congestion, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.

What can raccoons not eat? 13 foods that raccoons can’t eat

Raccoons are survivalists, they will make a meal out of whatever they can and will find food wherever they can including dog bowls, your groceries, and even garbage bins.

Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores which means that they eat both plants and animals if accessible, but they can’t eat everything,

There are lots of foods that our furry, black-eyed friends should not or cannot eat. Raccoons may eat these foods in desperate times, but these foods are not good for them.

Nonetheless, raccoons are living creatures too and we should look out for them where we can, so here are a few foods raccoons cannot and should not be eating:

Chocolate, cocoa, or coffee:

These three foods may be delicious to humans but raccoons can’t have them. Chocolate, cocoa, and coffee all contain caffeine and theobromine which can speed up a raccoon’s heartbeat.

It can also derail the animal’s nervous system, making them irritable, aggressive, and hyperactive.

Negative reactions of raccoons eating these foods include vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, seizures, and death. So, no chocolate bars, cocoa puffs, or coffee treats of any kind should be given to raccoons.

Onions and other spices:

Raccoons don’t need spices on their meals, only humans do. Whether fresh from the farmers’ fields, processed or ground, separate or in meals, onions and other spices are dangerous to raccoons and other animals too.

Onions contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), which cause anemia and can severely damage a raccoon’s red blood cells.

Avocados and guacamole:

Avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole, this food offers several benefits to us humans, not so much to raccoons.

Avocados contain trace levels of persin, persin can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even heart congestion in raccoons.

Candies, processed sugars, and chips:

Human snacks have always been a no, no for pets, raccoons included. Even our human bodies get ill from binging on snacks.

Candies and chewing gums are not only physical sticky traps to raccoons, but they often contain xylitol, which can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure in raccoons.

Sodas and artificial drinks have complex sugars that destabilize the raccoon’s digestive and hormonal systems. Chips, cookies, and biscuits can contain not only complex sugars, artificial preservatives but also garlic and onion powder.

Cow milk

Cows milk is specifically designed to be fed to calves, this milk contains all the nutrients needed by the baby calf to grow into a healthy and happy adult cow. Humans have incorporated this milk into our diet but it doesn’t agree with everyone, and it doesn’t agree with raccoons either

The composition of vitamin D in cow’s milk makes it unsuitable for raccoons to drink. If raccoons drink this milk, they can develop indigestion and a variety of other adverse digestive effects.

Raisins and macadamia nuts:

Humans may eat and enjoy both raisins and macadamia nuts but raccoons can’t have them. These foods are not only highly toxic to dogs, but they are highly toxic to raccoons as well.


Raccoons will eat almost anything, bread included. This food is not a favorite of raccoons, but raccoons will eat it if they have nothing else to eat.

Yeast is a fungus used for the leavening of bread, if raccoons eat bread, and if they already have a fungal infection, then the yeast in the bread will add to the raccoon’s infection.

What do raccoons eat?

There are lots of foods that raccoons shouldn’t eat, but there are also many foods that raccoons actually can eat. In the wild, raccoons feed on fruits, fallen nuts, insects, rodents, reptiles, chickens, birds, vegetables, fish, slugs, squirrels, and other animal meats.

In more urban areas, they still scavenge for these types of food but also will eat dog food and cat food as well.

Both wild and urban raccoon food sources need to offer these animals good amounts of selenium, protein, vitamins, and nutrients to keep them limber, sharp-witted and furry coated.

What food is the best for raccoons?

The best foods for raccoons are those that match what they would normally eat in the wild.

These include fresh fruits that are free of pesticides and preservatives, richly colored vegetables, corn, lean (little to no fat) meats from turkey, chicken, and fish. These foods will deliver the nutrients raccoons need to survive.

Grain-free pet foods are also great for raccoons. Vets advise that pet raccoons be offered meats offered as treats or put in places where raccoons can hunt for them. The hunt keeps their minds sharp and active.

Is it a bad idea to feed raccoons?

Yes, feeding raccoons can be a bad idea.

Wildlife authorities often advise against feeding wild raccoons. Wild raccoons make it a habit to seek out and explore wherever they have found food before. This leads to raccoons flocking into human areas in great numbers and breeding rapidly.

Also, raccoons are zoonotic creatures meaning that their bodies are a host for several harmful and transferrable diseases making them a health threat to humans.

It would be best to call the authorities if you see a hungry or needy raccoon.

How much food should pet raccoons eat?

When sitting to chow down with your raccoon pal, it’s best to remember to ration their meals. Pet raccoons are almost always obese and badly overweight.

While vets suggest that frequent feeding is best, they add that small amounts, as much as 1/8 of a cup of grain-free dog food, two to three times daily with added fresh fruit treats and occasional meats will be best.

Alternate how much you feed them if they start to gain or lose weight.

Can raccoons eat moldy foods?

No, raccoons cannot eat moldy foods. Food molds and fungus growing on decaying food, if ingested by any pet even raccoons, can cause severe illnesses. The fungus has neurotoxins that cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and fevers in raccoons.

Even though they eat almost anything, moldy foods are not something raccoons should eat. Most animals instinctively ignore moldy food.

Can raccoons get salmonella?

Wild raccoons scavenge in bins and eat roadkill, because of this they are prone to contracting Salmonella.

Also, raccoons are a source of salmonella infections in humans. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces and waste meat products.

Humans generally become infected through contaminated water and food. Raccoons love water and are messy eaters, they are zoonotic and may transfer the bacteria without even knowing it.


In conclusion, many believe that raccoons can eat just about anything, but, not everything is good for them.

These animals should not eat chocolate, cocoa, coffee, onions, other spices, avocados, guacamole, candies, processed sugars, cows milk, bread, macadamia nuts, raisins, or chips.

They tend to ignore moldy foods. Many human foods are dangerous to their health.

If you’re interested in raccoons you may also be interested in these articles: when do raccoons come out, when do raccoons mate, how high can raccoons jump, where do raccoons go during the day, where do raccoons sleep during the day, what do raccoons eat in winter, click the links to read more.

What Can Raccoons Not Eat? (13 Foods They Can’t Eat)
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