Foods Toxic to Dogs

Understanding which foods are harmful to dogs is an important part of being a responsible pup parent. While sharing a tasty treat with your four-legged friend might seem harmless, many human foods can cause everything from an upset stomach to severe conditions like kidney failure or even death.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 20 foods harmful to dogs and why you should avoid giving them to your canine companion. Keep reading to learn more and keep your furry family member safe and healthy!

Human Sweets and Baked Goods

Some of our favorite confections can be extremely toxic to dogs, leading to a range of health problems if ingested. Here are some of the most common types of human sweets and baked goods that should never be given to dogs:


Chocolate is a toxic food for dogs, mainly because it contains theobromine and caffeine. These compounds can overstimulate a dog’s central nervous system and heart, with dark chocolate and unsweetened baker’s chocolate posing the highest risk. Even small quantities can lead to symptoms such as difficulty breathing and vomiting. In severe cases, it can cause chocolate toxicity, which can be deadly, especially for small dogs.

Foods With Xylitol

Xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free products, can cause a sudden drop in a dog’s blood sugar, leading to liver failure. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures. Some foods that may contain xylitol include sugar-free gum, candy, and baked goods like cookies, cakes, and muffins.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts can make your dog sick, causing symptoms such as weakness, overheating, and vomiting. The exact cause of the toxicity is unknown, but even a small amount can affect a dog’s nervous system, leading to serious health issues.

Raw Dough

Eating raw dough can be dangerous for dogs as it can expand in their stomach, leading to bloating and potentially fatal gastric torsion. In addition, the fermentation process produces alcohol, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Ice Cream

Despite its popularity as a summer treat, ice cream is not advisable for dogs. Many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means their digestive system cannot process dairy properly, leading to upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. Plus, ice cream often contains sugar and flavorings like chocolate or xylitol, which are toxic to dogs.

Fruits and Vegetables

There are lots of healthy fruits and vegetables dogs can eat, but some are highly toxic. Here are a few fruits and veggies you should definitely avoid giving to your pup:

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs, with even a small amount being potentially deadly. That’s why it’s important to keep all forms of grapes, raisins, and grape products away from your dog.


Avocados contain a substance called persin that is toxic to dogs. While this compound doesn’t harm humans, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Additionally, the large pit inside an avocado can lead to intestinal blockage if ingested.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. This toxicity can accumulate over time, so even small, regular doses can be harmful, making any food containing these ingredients dangerous.

Raw Potatoes

Green or raw potatoes often contain solanine, a toxin that can cause nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues. Cooking reduces solanine levels, making cooked potatoes safer for dogs. Just make sure to feed your dog plain, unseasoned potatoes with no added ingredients that could also be harmful.


While ripe tomatoes are generally safe for dogs in small quantities, the green parts of the plant contain tomatine, which can cause gastrointestinal issues. It’s best to avoid letting dogs eat tomatoes, especially in large amounts.

Beverages and Alcoholic Products

Certain drinks that are safe for humans can be extremely harmful to dogs, and cause severe health complications. Here are some of the most common beverages that dogs should never consume:


Alcohol’s effects on a dog’s liver and brain are much more severe than in humans. Even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death.

Coffee and Tea

Caffeine in coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages can be toxic to dogs, leading to restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors. In severe cases, caffeine can even be fatal, so keep all caffeinated drinks away from your dog.

Milk and Dairy Products

As mentioned earlier, many dogs are lactose intolerant. This is because they don’t have significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Consuming milk and dairy can cause gastrointestinal upset, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloating, or other digestive problems.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, which can lead to caffeine poisoning in dogs. The symptoms are similar to those caused by coffee and tea but can be more severe due to higher caffeine concentrations.

Bone Broth with Onions or Garlic

While bone broth can be a healthy treat for dogs, versions made with onions or garlic should be avoided due to their toxic effects. Make sure to check the ingredients list of store-bought bone broth or make your own at home without any harmful ingredients.

Other Harmful Foods

Finally, let’s take a look at some other common foods that can be dangerous and even deadly to dogs. Some of these may come as a surprise, so make sure to keep them out of your pup’s reach:

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking or severe damage to a dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines. Always keep cooked bones away from dogs and choose safe chew treats or toys instead to satisfy their chewing instincts.

Salty Snacks

Too much salt can lead to excessive thirst and urination in dogs and can be potentially fatal. Symptoms of salt poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, high body temperature, and seizures. Make sure to keep salty foods or snacks like chips or pretzels well away from your dog.


Some wild mushrooms are highly toxic to dogs, causing serious health issues like vomiting, seizures, liver failure, and even death. Since it’s hard to tell safe from dangerous mushrooms, it’s safest to prevent your dog from eating any wild mushrooms. While store-bought mushrooms are generally safe for dogs, they’re often prepared with added seasonings that could be harmful to your pet. That’s why it’s best to choose other types of treats for your pup.


Nutmeg contains myristicin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause seizures, tremors, and other nervous system problems. Even a small amount can be harmful, so keep this spice away from your dog to prevent any issues.

Spicy Food

Spicy foods can irritate a dog’s stomach and cause diarrhea or vomiting. Plus, many spicy dishes contain other harmful ingredients like onions and garlic. Always stick to feeding your dog pet food or plain foods with no added spices to keep them healthy and happy.

Key Takeaways

  • Many human foods can be toxic to dogs, causing a range of health issues from upset stomach to fatal conditions.
  • Foods like chocolate, xylitol-containing products, grapes, raisins, and alcohol should be strictly avoided.
  • Symptoms of food toxicity in dogs can vary widely, from gastrointestinal distress to severe neurological symptoms.
  • Always keep potentially toxic foods out of your dog’s reach and educate others in your household about these dangers.

If in Doubt, Ask Your Vet

When it comes to your dog’s diet, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and ensure they’re only consuming foods that are beneficial for their health. If your dog eats any harmful substances, contact your veterinarian immediately. Symptoms may not appear right away, but early intervention is key to preventing more serious health issues.

Additionally, always discuss any changes to your dog’s diet with a professional to ensure they’re receiving balanced nutrition suited to their specific health needs and lifestyle. Foods like raw meat and raw eggs may be okay for some dogs, but not for others, so it’s important to get personalized advice.

Remember, a proactive approach to your dog’s diet can lead to a happier, healthier life for your furry friend. Taking care to monitor what you let your dog eat can prevent health issues and ensure they’re receiving all the nutrients they need to thrive.

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