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13 Toxic Foods Your Dog Should Never Consume

If you have a dog, then you’re probably doing the best you can to keep it healthy, happy and well-fed. Maybe, from time to time, you even treat your dog with some of the foods you have on your table. After all, who can resist those adorable, puppy eyes?

But before you give your furry friend another bite, make sure it’s not one of the foods that veterinarians warn against. Read on to find out which foods are toxic to your dog, even if accidentally ingested in smaller quantities.

Phooto by Pixel-Shot on Shutterstock

What Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?

  1. Peaches and cherries

When it comes to peaches and cherries, it’s the pits, leaves, and stems that pose a threat to your dog. As explained by Matthew McCarthy, DVM, a veterinarian and founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York, these parts of the fruits have a substance called cyanogenic glycosides which can affect their oxygen metabolism.

The signs that your dog has chewed on pits, leaves of stems from peaches or cherries are dilated pupils, heavy breathing, red mucous membranes. In addition, not chewing the pits can lead to intestinal blockage.

  1. Avocados

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), avocados should not be given to dogs due to their persin content. This is a fungicidal toxin whose side effects in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage. Not to mention that the avocado pit is extremely dangerous if swallowed as a whole, causing intestinal blockage.

  1. Grapes and raisins

In the case of grapes and raisins, opinions are divided. According to Danielle Bernal, DVM staff veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food, these fruits “can potentially lead to the rapid onset of kidney damage.”

In support of this opinion, Nell Ostermeier, DVM, veterinarian and spokesperson with Figo Pet Insurance, confirmed that she saw cases of kidney failures in dogs caused by grapes and raisins.

  1. Chocolate

According to Ostermeier, chocolate, in particular, dark chocolate, can be toxic to dogs due to a compound called methylxanthine. When ingested, chocolate can lead to digestive problems, dehydration, restlessness and abnormal heartbeats in dogs.

Apart from methylxanthine, chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, says Nick Horniman, MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and founder of online pet pharmacy MyPetsVet. Animals, and in particular dogs, cannot metabolize these compounds, causing them to vomit, breath rapidly and even go into shock.

Read also:10 Empathetic Dog Breeds That Can Sense When You Are Sick or Sad

  1. Coffee

Similar to chocolate, coffee also contains methylxanthines, which means it can cause quite a havoc to dogs metabolisms. “Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans, and signs of an overdose are similar to those seen with chocolate toxicosis,” warns Jo Myers, DVM, a veterinarian at pet telehealth company Vetster. As explained by the Pet Poison Helpline, if your four-legged friend accidentally drinks one or two laps of coffee, there won’t be any visible consequences. On the other hand, a moderate quantity can prove to be fatal.

  1. Fatty bacon

If your dog is like most dogs, fatty bacon is one of the best things to eat. While bacon in the form of safe treats or chew toys with bacon flavor are relatively safe, real bacon should be avoided at all costs. As explained by Bernal, “even in small amounts, [bacon] can cause gastrointestinal upsets and pancreatitis.”

Another thing to keep in mind is that a small piece of bacon might seem small to us, but compared to the size of a dog, it is not really that small and it can have huge impact.

  1. Macadamia nuts

As nutritious and beneficial macadamia nuts are for people, as dangerous they are to dogs. According to Lorna Winter, co-founder and head of the training program at Zigzag, macadamia nuts contain certain toxins which can damage a dog’s muscle and nervous system. The symptoms include swollen limbs, panting and extreme fatigue.

According to Purina experts, black walnuts are also toxic to dogs and other types of nuts, although not toxic, can represent chocking hazards.

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Photo by Miss Pop on Shutterstock
  1. Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic are not good for your furry friends, no matter their form or texture. Be it powder, dehydrated, raw or even cooked, onions and garlic contain thiosulfate, which can adversely affect red blood cells and cause anemia, warn experts at Protectivity.

If your dog has ingested one of these two alliums, it might take a few days before your dog shows any sign of intoxication such as lethargy, loss of appetite, pale gums or heavy breathing.

  1. Xylitol

Xylitol is a popular substitute for sugar which can be found in foods such as peanut butter, baked goods, candy, and even in certain medications. It may be as sweet as sugar but for dogs, it can be extremely toxic.

“Xylitol causes an abnormal elevation in insulin in dogs. This puts your dog at risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),” explains Ostermeier. In addition, ingestion of this sugar substitute can lead to stomach upset, liver damage, lethargy and lack of coordination.

So, paws off xylithol!

  1. Dairy products

Dairy products do not have toxic effects on dogs, per se. But their consumption can result in some unpleasant digestion issues. That’s because many of our four-legged friends are lactose intolerant. While a small scoop of ice cream will not pose high risks, it may cause an upset stomach to your Fido, say experts at Protectivity.

  1. Cooked meat bones

If you’re giving your dog leftover meat bones, it won’t prove fatal to them. But, since they are not in their raw state, bones will splinter easier and can cause oral injuries, warns Bernal. In severe situations, the splinters can puncture the stomach and cause abdominal infections.

Apart from being dangerous when chewed, Winter warns that brittle bones can lead to digestive bowel problems in dogs.

  1. Alcohol

Dogs react to alcohol the same way humans do. They experience symptoms like vomiting, rapid breathing, dizziness. However, due to their smaller size, the negative effects work faster on them and can even become fatal.

Even in small quantities, alcohol can cause heart arrhythmias, dangerously low blood pressure to dogs.

RELATED:14 Foods Your Senior Dog Can’t Have

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is toxic to your furry friend because of a compound called isothiocyanates. In very large quantities, it can have severe adverse effects. In addition, broccoli stalks can sometimes get stuck in the dog’s throat, causing obstruction.

Eating a broccoli floret won’t cause much harm to your dog, but, for everyone’s peace of mind, better stick to other healthier and safer foods for your furry friend.

What should I do if my dog has ingested something dangerous?

If your dog has accidentally eaten any of these toxic foods, call the vet office or animal poison control as soon as possible.




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