Toxic foods for dogs

Deadly-for-dogs-foods-1024x1024 Toxic foods for dogs


Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

It can be quite tempting to feed treats and snacks to your dog. However, what we consider healthy and nutritious food for humans can be toxic foods for dogs.

Here we list several toxic foods for dogs that you should avoid feeding to your dog at all costs to prevent an emergency visit to the Vet. This is by no means an exhaustive list; of foods bad for dogs as there are many other foods not specifically intended for animals that may cause illness and harm to your loved pets. Discuss any nutritional queries with your Vet or pet nutritionist.

Remember, variety is the spice of life.

Just as humans love a varied diet, so do our dogs. An array of different food types makes mealtimes interesting and is suitable for both mental and physical health. You will see a happier and more well-behaved dog. Create your dog’s meals using people food, switch up proteins and vegetables from time to time, offer him some tripe, or add an egg. These protein-rich additions are great for your dog’s well-being.

The A to Z of foods bad for dogs


Like with some humans Alcohol can have a huge impact on our dogs.  Even just a small sip of beer.

Alcoholic drinks will not only cause the dogs to get intoxicated like it does with humans and lead to sickness, but it can also cause permanent damage to the central nervous system.


These contain persin that can be found in Avocados. Whilst many people are fine with this, it can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs if they have a lot of it.

It is strongly advised that you keep your dogs away from avocados (especially if you grow them)

Persin can be found in the seed, the bark, the leaves and the plant.


More specifically, cooked bones. Some bones are fine for dogs, but never chicken bone. Chicken bones can splinter in their mouths and throats, causing terrible injuries,

You are most likely to come across chicken bones in split rubbish bags.

Also, avoid all cooked bones as they too can splinter and cause choke hazards etc.


It’s no wonder your dog wants a share of your cherry fruit. They’re delicious, and while it’s perfectly safe to feed the fleshy part of the fruit to your dog, make sure you avoid the pitted stone. If your dog swallows these pits, be aware that they contain extremely poisonous cyanides and can cause respiratory problems and even death.


This sweet treat is poisonous if eaten by a dog. It contains theobromine, a stimulant that affects the kidneys, central nervous system and heart. Dark chocolate is the worse culprit, but any chocolate for human consumption will have a similar, poisonous effect on your dog. Symptoms will appear within 4 to 24 hours after eating the chocolate, so look out for seizures, hyperactivity, restlessness and stomach upset.

Remember a cholate orange is 157g and is a common call to the Vet.


Also containing stimulants, as with chocolate, caffeine should not be given to dogs. Whilst a small amount of coffee or tea will not harm your pet, swallowing amounts of tea bags or coffee grounds may lead to more serious problems. Symptoms are very similar to chocolate toxicity, and treatment is similar.

Chips / Crisps

Many of us enjoy snacks such as Doritos and Tortilla chips whilst we are watching the TV. However, these snacks are all high in salt and fat, so bad for the dog and us. As they often contain onion or garlic as part of the seasoning, they are even worst for our dogs to eat and can be very toxic.

Corn On The Cob

Corn is very hard to digest, even for humans. Small amounts should be fine.

However, it is important to remember that, unlike humans, the chances of your dog chewing the corn of the cob is slim.

The cob itself can cause a choking hazard to the dog and be dangerous.


While some dogs are fine with Dairy produce, others can develop serious diarrhoea.

Evaporated Milk

This viscous gloop contains far too much sugar and can seriously damage your dog’s teeth.


Some fish is OK in small quantities, but feeding your dog exclusively or heavily on a fish diet can make it very ill.

Garlic, Onions and Chives

Although cats are more at risk, dogs can also be affected by eating these vegetables and herbs if a sufficient quantity is consumed, resulting in red blood cell damage. All forms of onion can cause problems; cooked onions, dehydrated onions and any food items containing onions. These are especially toxic so look out for them in baby food items and Chinese food dishes.

Fresh Garlic in very small quantities in things such as liver cake is safe. I have also given my dogs’ Garlic tablets from Dorwest to help prevent fleas etc but you need to be careful


Grapes are extremely toxic to dogs, and even a small amount can call serious illness and even death,


Gravy should be avoided as it is often high in salt. Another thing to note about gravy is that it often contains onions which are bad for dogs. Onions are part of the allium family and can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.


There’s something in hops that can cause seizures and can be potentially fatal to dogs.

Ice Cream

No matter how much they beg, there’s no good that can come from combining dairy and sugar.


See ice cream above

Junk Food

The majority of people’s food items are also good for our pets. It’s fine to feed them lean meat and fresh green, leafy vegetables. Common sense should tell you it’s not OK to offer your pooch fries or many types of bread and grains. Keep them away from carbohydrates, and pizza is a definite no-go!

Kitty cat food.

OK, so I had to use artistic license for the sake of continuity, but the fact remains that what’s good for felines is not good for canines.


Liver is great in small amounts, but as it’s high in Vitamin A, it can cause long-term bone problems if fed excessively.

Macadamia Nuts

Your dog can experience terrible symptoms of increased body temperature, vomiting, tremors, depression and weakness, within as little as 12 hours after consuming macadamia nuts. Contact your Vet immediately if you suspect he has eaten even a small quantity of these nuts.


Some mushrooms may be OK, and others can be fatal, don’t take the risk and keep an eye on your dog in the park, particularly at the foot of old trees. Please read our article on mushrooms and dogs.

Mince Pies

Mince pies are not only high in sugar and fat but also contain dried fruit and quite often alcohol so are a real BIG No No


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out such info about marijuana and dogs. However, the conclusion is that if your dog does get hold of any, you should seek a vet.

Symptoms to look out for include dribbling, a change in heartbeat, dribbling, and a slower response.

 Read more about Dogs and Marijuana.


Many multivitamins, especially children’s ones, smell sweet and so are attractive to dogs. These should be kept ell out of the way as too much vitamin D is harmful to dogs (amongst other vitamins)


As above, some nuts are fine, and others such as Macadamia are clearly not. As some of these foods can be toxic for dogs, it is best not to take a chance.


Onions are terrible for dogs and can cause serious damage to their red blood cells. Remember, many foods contain onions, so be careful if your little pest is a plate scraper.


Peach stones are very bad for your pet and can cause diarrhoea and other health problems.

Quince flowers

Now I’m including this for the sake of continuity as some dogs can develop a reaction to the flowering Quince bush, but generally, Quinces are fine for dogs.

Raisins and Grapes

These dried fruits contain a toxic substance that may cause kidney failure in dogs. Therefore feeding these toxic foods to dogs can potentially put them at great risk.


Rhubarb contains oxalate, which may affect your dog’s digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.


Salt is bad for everyone but worse for your dog.


Many spices that we use to flavour our food are dangerous for dogs. However, one spice that is good for dogs is Tumeric. mixed with coconut oil to make a golden paste it arthritis as any befits including


OK, Not something we would think about eating. However, Tobacco is a potentially toxic food for dogs. If a dog does eat Tobacco, they can react even more severely to the nicotine than humans.


This is a Japanese Plum a bit like an apricot. Umeboshi pits or stones that have the same effect on dogs are peach stones.

Vegetable Oil

Sadly this is used to bulk up a lot of poorer quality dog foods, and whilst not toxic to dogs, it certainly has limited, if any, positive effects. Basically, try and avoid adding any more to anything your dog eats.


Alcohol Is bad for dogs’ full stop.

Xylitol – one of the most toxic foods for dogs

You may not be aware that this artificial sweetener is found in many food products, which make it one of the most toxic foods for dogs. Xylitol’s products include many brands of peanut butter, diet foods, diabetic cakes, sugar-free gum, and many surprising products. If your dog eats Xylitol, he will experience a sudden insulin release, causing loss of balance and coordination, vomiting, lethargy and possibly seizures. Small amounts can be fatal and have been linked to blood clotting disorders and liver disease.

Please note this can also be listed as Birch Sugar


Yeast will expand in your dog’s digestive system, causing wind and bloating and can be more serious if taken in large quantities.

Zebra steaks

Zebras are very quick and powerful animals, and your dog should be discouraged from trying to catch eat them in case they get worn out or kicked in the face. (I know you don’t get many in Finchley, but for the sake of continuity).

Foods bad for dogs that should also be avoided.

The following foods that didn’t really fit into my A to Z above should also be avoided.

Old Food

When food goes past its sell-by date or starts to sell, not right as humans, we won’t eat it.

So why should we expect our dogs to want it?  As food gets older and starts to go bad, it contains all sorts of bacteria and toxins that can be bad for your dog’s health.

It is important that you feed your dog the freshest dog food you can or if you feed vegetables to your dog make sure they are also fresh.


Please do not be tempted to feed your dog table scraps on a regular basis as this means they won’t get a proper diet.  When you do give the scraps as a treat make sure that it doesn’t have any bone, has had the fat trimmed off and is free from salt and other seasonings.

Human snacks

Snacks such as crisps usually contain salt and ay contain onion power so are bad for your dog. 

Cookies can often contain cocoa powder, raisins etc. so are also bad for dogs.

Essentially feed your dog high-quality dog treats that are specially made for dogs, and all will be fine.

Safety Tips when feeding people food to dogs

Before you give your dog a portion of human food, make sure it’s safe. Be aware of what he can and cannot eat and be cautious at all times. Don’t give your dog a diet of 100% human food. It’s very important that he receives the correct balance of nutrients. Ensure that he eats a balanced diet consisting of both good quality kibble and people’s foodstuffs.  A great site to check out the quality is all about dog food.

Begin any changes to his diet slowly. Offer your dog small amounts, to begin with, and keep to food products that are similar to the contents of his kibble food. Offer your dog only food that you would eat yourself. Chicken skin, gristle and fat, that you would generally leave on your plate are not for sharing with your pet.

When in Doubt, Ask A Vet

If you notice any strange behaviour or your dog shows signs of weakness, vomiting, lack of coordination, or just acting very strangely, please contact your Vet for advice immediately.

If your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t, then the quicker, the better chance of survival.

Conclusion about Toxic foods for dogs

While we consider our dogs to be part of our families, feeding them your food at mealtimes can cause serious problems to their health.

As we all know, dogs are quite experts at sniffing out food so be prepared not to leave any food items lying around within easy reach. If you think your dog has eaten a toxic food item, consult your Vet immediately or at the very least call VetFone.

Information and opinions provided in this article and on the website are based on my own personal experience and opinion, it is not intended as a substitute for veterinary help or advice.