Foods that are dangerous to dogs

Foods that are dangerous to dogs

You'd be surprised at how many foods are unhealthy or dangerous to dogs, and yet are fed to them all the time. As a convenient reference, here is a list of some of the more common human foods that dogs should never ingest.


Never feed dogs ...


All parts of an avocado (including leaves, seeds and bark) are toxic to dogs and most other pets, including cats and birds. This fruit contains a fungicidal toxin called persin, which can damage the heart, lungs and other tissue in many animals. Poisoning from this particular toxin may result in vomiting and diarrhea in a dog, and may even be fatal.

Alcoholic beverages cause the same kind of damage to an animal's liver and brain as it does in a person, but magnified to a much more serious, even fatal level. The effects are deadlier in small animals, with even a tiny amount of alcohol able to cause vomiting, liver and brain damage.

Avoid giving dogs any kind of nut, as they can cause vomiting, paralysis and death. A dog may exhibit symptoms such as weakness, vomiting and high temperature within a day or two after consumption.


Chocolate is can make dogs very ill, with darker chocolates being more dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause dogs to suffer from elevated and irregular heart rates, seizures and death.


Dogs should never consume anything containing caffeine in it, including coffee, tea and sodas. Caffeine ingestion directly affects a dog's central nervous and cardiac systems, and can lead to heart palpitations and death.


Candy is terrible for dogs because of the high amount of sugar it contains, but it can also be incredibly dangerous if it contains Xylitol, which is commonly used sweetener in place of sugar. This can cause a dog's blood sugar to suddenly drop, its liver to fail, seizures and death. Don't think that Xylitol is only found in food and candy either, as it is also added to toothpaste and some baked goods.

Grapes and raisins

It isn't known what toxin in grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs, but even a small serving of this fruit causes kidney failure. Symptoms may not be immediately apparent, but toxins from grapes or raisins will remain in a dog's system and build up until it eventually causes death.

Onions, garlic and chives

Nothing from the onions, garlic and chives groups should be given to dogs. These are highly toxic foods that will attack a dog's red blood cells, causing anemia, weakness and breathing difficulties. The toxins from these foods also remain in a dog's system and build up over time.


Unless prescribed by a licensed veterinarian for a specific problem, medicine should be kept away from dogs at all times. Most medicines have immediate negative affects on animals if they accidentally ingest it. Don't assume your dog cannot get to bottles of medicine just because they're sitting high on a table. Dogs can be very resourceful and naughty creatures. I once had a Boston Terrier who managed to open a closed window five feet off the ground and climb into the house; and it still baffles me how he did it. Never underestimate your dog, and put medicine in child-proofed containers and store them in locked drawers.


Due to a lack of certain enzymes, many pets are lactose intolerant, and will suffer from diarrhea or upset stomachs if they consume milk.

Raw food and bones

Although Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria poisoning are very rare in dogs, as their shorter diestive tracts make them less suceptible to it than humans are, it's still a risk. To stay on the safe side, make sure your dogs are only eating cooked food and aren't consuming anything raw and unclean. Although bones seem like they should be all right, if your dog is a domesticated pet and is not technically a "wild animal", this is a very bad idea. Your dog could choke on the bone, or the bone could splinter into smaller pieces and puncture his digestive tract.

Yeast dough

Yeast dough rises, and it will do this even after its swallowed by your dog, causing your pet great pain and discomfort. This is why dogs should never eat it. Even after the yeast has been baked into bread, dogs should only been given bread as treats occasionally and never on a regular basis, as it can cause your dog serious and unhealthy weight gain.


Too much salt for any creature is bad for their health. In dogs, too much sodium can cause poisoning and result in vomiting, diarrhea, high temperature and death. Even if you feel like gorging on junk food and potato chips, your dog should never join in on the binge.

For a very comprehensive list of foods that are bad for dogs, I recommend printing out this chart from Pet Education.


Common symptoms indicating your dog has been poisoned include ...
  • tremors and seizures
  • weakness and lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • drooling
  • redness or rash on the skin, ears and eyes
  • swelling and bleeding

If you think your dog has in any way come in contact with or consumed something poisonous, call your vet right away, even if your pet hasn't exhibited any symptoms. These things happen fast, which is why it's always a good idea to have your veterinarian's number somewhere close by.


Barnett, Sloan. "‘People foods’ that can kill your pet." 9 May, 2008.

"People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets." ASPCA.

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