10 Toxic Foods for Dogs

toxic foods for dogs

Your dog is an expert at sniffing out smelly, tasty foods. Dogs, just like people, love food. They will pretty much eat anything you put in front of them. They may even find some special treats in the garbage, in your yard, or on the street. This is why, as a caretaker to your pet, you need to be extra careful about what you are allowing them to eat. Poison is a growing concern for dog owners, especially accidental poisoning. There are a number of toxic foods for dogs and any one of them might readily be found in your kitchen or garbage bin. You have to be cautious and make sure your dog never gets access to the foods listed below. If ingested, these toxic foods for dogs could not only be hazardous to their health, but could even result in death.

The Real Trouble with Table Scraps

When your dog puts on those puppy eyes, all wide and begging, it can be extremely hard to say no. So you might flip them a piece of bread or bit of turkey. In moderation, these table treats are fine, for the most part. What is even harder to control are the foods that go flying off of the cutting board or what toddlers are sneaking to your pets under the table. Luckily, it is fine to give your dog tidbits from the table every once in a while as long as you are aware of the foods most harmful to your dog. By reading up on these toxic foods you can take precautions to keep the harmful substances from your dog. Even if a food is considered really healthy for people, it could be especially dangerous to your pet. So stay informed about toxic foods for dogs. Make sure you are being careful and avoiding some of these commonly found foods that could hurt your pet. Some of the items on the following list might even surprise you.

10 Toxic Foods for Dogs


Though avocados are considered to be a healthy fat for humans, they are not so healthy for your dog. In fact, every part of the avocado can prove to be dangerous. It all stems from a chemical called persin. The presence of this chemical might be high enough to cause harm to dogs, especially small dogs. Still though, some manufacturers will sometimes include avocados in pet foods. Do not think this means it provides optimal nutritional value. Instead, just remember that avocado is a dog food ingredient you want to avoid. Some of the expected problems include nausea and vomiting, but there are some side effects you may not expect. Persin can cause breathing and respiratory problems in dogs. Fluid will often collect in the chest cavity or around the heart and sometimes the effects will be fatal. So don’t let your dog near avocado leaves, seeds, fruit, or bark.

Onion and GarlicOnions and Garlic

Though onions might be tasty, and really appealing to the olfactory senses of your pet, they are not healthy. The stronger the onion, the more toxic it can be. Other members of the onion family include scallions and shallots. All should be avoided. Eating onions and garlic could damage or change your dog’s blood cells and put them at risk of developing anemia. This serious condition can lower the oxygen levels in your dog’s circulatory system. When this happens, the vital organs and muscles could be at risk or shut down. Unfortunately, this may not become obvious until three or five days after eating onions or similar substances. Initially a dog at risk of developing anemia will seem drowsy, less playful. Your pet might also experience a lack of appetite, pale gums, or a weak pulse. If you suspect your pet has eaten onions and is at risk, you should seek professional advice from a vet as soon as possible.

Grapes and RaisinsGrapes and Raisins

Many dogs have become seriously ill after eating grapes and raisins. They often experience acute kidney failure, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some case, unexpected death. If the dog does survive the initial trauma, they usually end up with a shortened life expectancy due to irreparable kidney damage. In turn, you will have to make adjustments to their diet to ease kidney function. The worst part of all this is that experts are not exactly sure why grapes are so harmful. Experts think mycotoxin might cause the damaging effects, but there is not enough evidence. Generally the only recommended treatment for dogs that have recently eaten grapes is induced vomiting. Further treatment in the first 48 hours may include absorbing the remaining toxins in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Your pet might also need an IV. If your pet eats grapes, then vet will do all they can to prevent acute renal failure. The best advice is to simply avoid grapes and raisins at all costs.

Macademia NutsMacadamia Nuts

Some types of nuts can be safe for your dog, when consumed in small amounts. Unfortunately, macadamia nuts are not included on this safe list. Evidence shows that the consumption of macadamia nuts can lead to widespread tremors, muscle weakness, or even symptoms as severe as paralysis in your dog. These side-effects are frightening, not only for your pet, but also for you as a pet owner. Though the exact mechanism that causes these reactions in your dogs is not clear, you should try and avoid macadamia nuts in your pet’s diet. It is not likely you will find these nuts as listed ingredients in your dog food, but they are in a lot of human snacks and cereals. If you customarily give your pet scraps from the table, then you will need to be extra cautious to keep macadamia nuts away from your dog.


Dogs are far more sensitive to stimulants than humans. You can only imagine what that means when they ingest ethanol. Even ingesting the smallest amount could be toxic for your pet. Some common causes of intoxication in dogs include alcoholic drinks like beer, wine, or cocktails. Ethanol poisoning can also come from exposure to dyes, inks, disinfectants, mouthwash, and pharmaceuticals. It can even be caused by bread dough, with active yeast, and rotten apples. Sometimes the symptoms of intoxication include loss of coordination, stupor, and vomiting. In more serious cases it can lead to seizures, commas, and even death. The vet will recommend proper treatment based on the severity of the intoxication. Sometimes you can just watch your pet, but other times more active intervention by a veterinarian is the only way to save your dog. It is best to just make sure your dog is not exposed to ethanol products in the first place. Keep hazardous substances locked away and avoid ethanol use in pet foods.


It is fairly common knowledge that chocolate is bad for your pet, but few people know why. Chocolate contains a stimulant, theobromine, which is in the same family as caffeine. This stimulant affects the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans. As such, the effects of the stimulant are longer lasting and more severe. For the most part, if your dog gets into a small bit of chocolate they may suffer nausea, have diarrhea, or vomit. If consumed in larger quantities, chocolate can cause seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, and in the worst case, death from rapid heart rate. As you can see, it is so important to keep your dog away from chocolate. All forms of chocolate; milk, dark, bakers, and even cocoa powder, can be dangerous to your dog. Other ingredients that may include theobromine are leaves of the tea plant and the cola nut.


Though just a few accidental sips of coffee may not harm your pet, direct ingestion of highly caffeinated ingredients could be another matter. Things like coffee grounds, tea bags, or energy drinks with large amounts of caffeine could even be deadly. Similar to alcohol and chocolate, the effects of caffeine are more pronounced in your pet, can lead to serious problems, and take longer to wear off. Some symptoms of caffeine poisoning include rapid breathing, restlessness, muscles tremors, and rapid heart rate. If ingested, too much coffee could damage the heart, kidney, lungs, and the nervous system. In most severe cases caffeine poisoning could lead to heart attack, coma, or even death. When your pet gets into these substances you will want to contact a vet right away.

Moldy FoodMoldy Foods

You wouldn’t eat moldy food, but you might consider feeding it to your pet. How often have you tossed the last piece of bread or a bit of moldy cheese to your pet? Or your pet might ingest this toxic food for dogs accidentally, sifting it out of the garbage and chowing down. Dogs are susceptible to mold poisoning, or Mycotoxicosis. It can come from moldy bread or even mushrooms growing in the back yard. This is why you will have to constantly be on guard against mold. In some cases your dog might experience vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, stomach pain, and even seizures. In more serious cases it can even cause death. So if your pet gets into moldy food and starts showing these symptoms, you will want to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. You will also want to collect a sample of what your pet got in to, so your vet can identify the issue and hopefully help neutralize the problem.


Too much salt, just as it could be harmful to you, is a toxic food for your dog. How does a dog ingest too much salt? Not only might they get into the table salt or pantry salt, but they could also ingest too much sodium from the table scraps or snacks you are feeding them. Also, if you live ocean-side, your dog could drink too much salt water while playing at the beach. If your pet has had too much salt they will show signs of being excessively thirsty. They will try to drink more water and in turn will urinate more often. If your pet has ingested salt to the point of toxicity, then they might also experience diarrhea or vomiting. You will want to keep salt shakers out of reach and never feed your dog fries, potatoes chips, or pretzels.

Dairy ProductsDairy Products

This toxic food for dogs has more to do with sensitivities and allergies than it does with being downright dangerous. For some dogs a slice or two of cheese will not be a big deal. It just depends on the reactions they have when ingesting lactose. Unfortunately, many dogs will prove to be allergic to dairy products. Eating or drinking them could lead to stomach upset, gas, weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your pet does have an aversion to dairy it is best to do what you can to keep them away from it. These products can be added to pet foods or treats, so make sure you check the labels.


Not all table scraps are dangerous for your pet. In fact, once in a while it is alright to indulge your dog with the special treats you enjoy. This is especially true if your pet is on a restricted diet and responds well to raw foods instead of milk bones and liver treats. Just keep in mind that these safe foods for dogs should be kept to a minimum, so your dog can remain in top shape.

10 Safe Foods for Dogs

  1. Apples
  2. Bananas
  3. Strawberries
  4. Blueberries
  5. Carrots
  6. Green beans
  7. Cucumber
  8. Zucchini
  9. Lean meat without bones
  10. Cooked eggs
Safe Foods for Dogs

Knowing What to Avoid

Depending on the nature of what your pet has consumed, or how long it has been in their system, the vet may induce vomiting. If that is dangerous, or likely to cause more damage on the way back up, then other methods may be used to help your dog and neutralize the toxins in your pet’s system. In the most severe cases surgery may be used to remove whatever item is causing your pet discomfort.

If it is left lying around, your dog will be sure to find it and gulp it down before you can snatch it away. With some training you can teach your dog to stop sifting through the garbage, but you can never be too careful. If you want to avoid accidental poisoning, then you need to remember what foods are most harmful and keep them away from your dog. This is especially true if you make your own dog food at home. Toxic foods for dogs may seem innocuous to us, but could be deadly to your four legged friend. Do what you can to prevent the risk.

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7 Responses

  1. Do people seriously give their pets beer? I mean, I have seen stuff like that on the movies, but I didn’t realize people really did that. More people should become aware of the foods that are toxic to dogs, because many of them are not common knowledge like chocolate and beer. In fact, a few of these were news to me!

  2. My father used to give our dog beer in the past, well he’d let him lick some of it up if it ever spilled. I knew back then it wasn’t a good idea, but whatever I said went through my pops ears. Anyways, I made sure when I got a dog of my own I would never let it eat junk, and so far so good. No junk consumed for my boy.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing these bad foods, I will make sure to be extra cautious.

  3. I just tried giving my dog a piece of banana and she wasn’t having it. She licked it, and bit it once and that was it. Then again she has never had that sort of stuff before so maybe I need to include it in her dog food to get her to give it a chance, then again she might not eat it then.

    1. Both our indoor dogs love bananas. One is a Black Lab who eats apples, oranges, pineapple and many more fruits.

  4. Very informative article. This is especially relevant given the fact that more and more American dog owners are taking to preparing and cooking their dog’s food from scratch daily.

  5. We have five fur babies, and we like to make sure that they stay happy and healthy. It is really important to be aware of the foods that dogs shouldn’t eat. We never feed our dogs table scraps, because we don’t want them in the habit of eating things that are unfamiliar. Thanks for sharing this for those that may not know what’s safe and what’s not for pups.

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