Skip to main content

As owners, we tend to share many happy moments with our beloved dogs, up to a point where it may seem almost natural to also want to share our food with them.

 Those pleading eyes asking for a little chunk of food may be hard to say no to, but unfortunately, many owners still tend to assume that what is edible to us humans must be also edible to our dogs.

After domestication, dogs have considerably changed their eating habits, many eating the same food as their human owners, others scavenging on a semi-open trash can that split second its owner is distracted. 

All it takes is a moment of distraction or simply unawareness of which foods are toxic, to cause trouble ranging from a mild tummy upset to even more serious consequences.

List of Foods That are Toxic to Dogs 

There are several foods that are toxic to dogs and owners may not be aware of them. Being aware of these toxic foods to dogs is paramount if you want to keep your dog safe from any potential toxicities. 

1) Chocolate

Chocolate contains two harmful substances for dogs: theobromine and caffeine.

 Baker's chocolate proves to be the most harmful while white chocolate is the least. 

All it takes is 2 ounces of baker's chocolate for a 20 pound dog to start exhibiting signs of chocolate toxicity. Consult with your vet at once should your dog ingest your batch of brownies or your unattended chocolate candy bar. 

Toxicity may cause symptoms varying from a mild stomach upset to cardiac arrest. 

If you're calling the vet or the ASPCA poison control line, be prepared to provide your vet with the quantity ingested, how long ago it was ingested and your dog's weight.

 Always keep a bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal handy.

2) Sugarless Gum

Many sugarless gums contain a harmful substance for dogs called Xylitol. Xylitol can also be found in sugarless candies, breath fresheners, tooth pastes, nicotine gums and some supplements. 

More and more cases of xylitol toxicity in dogs are taking place due to the fact that there are more and more products containing this sugar substitute on the market.

 Symptoms may show up to 12 hours post ingestion and may cause liver failure. 

As with chocolate, call your vet promptly should you suspect xylitol ingestion and provide the quantity ingested and the weight of your dog.

3) Raisins/Grapes

These unsuspected dried fruits can prove harmful to dogs if eaten enough. 

Toxic amounts vary depending on the amount consumed and the weight of your dog.

 Cases involving dogs ingesting raisins or grapes and developing problems have ranged between ingesting as little as a couple of ounces to 2 pounds. 

Large amounts have been known to cause kidney failure. 

Common symptoms of toxicity involve: lethargy, thirst, increased urination, abdominal pain and diarrhea. As with other toxic foods, consult with your vet promptly.

4) Macadamia nuts

These unsuspected dried fruits have been reported to cause toxicosis in dogs as well.

 After ingesting a sufficient quantity, dogs have been reported by the ASPCA have exhibited marked symptoms of muscle weakness especially affecting the rear limbs.

 Macadamia nuts are often found in cookies or may be covered in chocolate. 

Always keep macadamia nuts out of reach and consult with your vet should you suspect macadamia nut ingestion.

5) Walnuts

Walnuts themselves may cause vomiting and diarrhea but when they are left on the ground for some time (such as from rain or humidity), they may develop molds or fungi that may cause serious illness. 

Symptoms may include the following; vomiting, drooling, tremors, lethargy and jaundice. In severe cases, dogs may have blood present in the stools and in the vomit.

6) Yeasty dough

Dogs that ingest unattended loaves of bread left to rise-on a table may suffer from unpleasant after effects that can prove dangerous. 

This is due to the fact that the dough may rise further once in the dog's warm stomach and the fermentation may produce alcohol. 

Affected dogs may suffer from complications such as bloat (a potentially fatal condition causing the dog's stomach to flip) and alcohol toxicosis.

 Consult with your vet promptly.

Scroll to Continue

Discover More

Screenshot 2022-08-08 175723

Discover 12 Official State Dogs

Did you know? There are 12 States that have designated an official State dog. Following are several States that have elected their own State Dog. Is your State one of them? Let's discover.

Lime sulfur may be used to treat skin conditions in dogs

Can Humidity Cause Hot Spots in Dogs?

Knowing whether humidity causes hot spots in dogs is something important to consider. Perhaps you're thinking about moving to a very humid place, but you're wondering if your dog will be prone to this annoying skin condition

Screenshot 2022-07-20 134750

Why Do Puppies Act Hyper in the Evening?

Many puppies act hyper at night causing dog owners to wonder what must be going on in those little doggy minds. Discover several reasons.

7) Avocados

The substance called "persin" is what is found in avocados that may cause problems in dogs. 

This toxic substance can be found in the actual plant, the pit, the bark and the leaves (highest concentration).

Symptoms that have been reported in dogs suffering from avocado toxicity are as follows: diarrhea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, distended abdomen, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, chest and around the heart.

8) Fruits With Persin

What these fruits have in common is the fact that they contain cyanide especially in the seeds and pits of several fruits such as apples, apricots, plums, cherries and peaches.

Consumption of a large amount of these fruits may cause toxicity exhibited by the following symptoms: dilated pupils, trouble breathing, hyperventilation and shock.

9) Fatty foods

While not precisely toxic, those greasy left over French fries or oily fried chicken nuggets may be harmful. 

Many dogs are sensitive to fatty foods and may develop canine pancreatitis, a serious condition causing profuse vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy often requiring hospitalization. 

Dogs are not garbage disposers, left over foods should be simple tossed away.

10) Alcohol

While we humans can enjoy a few drinks, man's best friend should not share.

 Some owners may share a beer or a glass of wine just for entertainment purposes.

Smaller dogs are more sensitive than larger dogs but they all may develop alcohol intoxication featuring symptoms such as: vomiting, incoordination, arrythmias, seizures and even death. 

Keep drinks always out of reach from dogs.

11) Nutmeg

This spice may appear innocuous, but it can prove very harmful and even fatal to dogs. The toxin in nutmeg is myristicin. 

Fortunately, the small amount of nutmeg found in pumpkin pie and other recipes is unlikely to cause big problems, although a mild stomach upset may occur, claims the Pet Poison Helpline. Of course, there may be individual sensitivities so always best to consult with a vet to play it safe.

 Bigger problems are more likely to arise if the dog would happen to ingest straight nutmeg from the actual container. 

Worrisome symptoms include tremors, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain, seizures and even death with significant doses (like over one teaspoon). Symptoms of nutmeg toxicity can last up to 48 hours.

12) Onions and Garlic

Both if consumed regularly have the potential to cause a type of anemia called Heinz disease. 

This is due to the presence of thiosulphate. 

When given once in a while, they still cause problems because dogs lack an important enzyme that helps assimilate them properly.

Therefore dogs may become gassy and develop vomiting and diarrhea. Ask your vet if you are giving or considering giving garlic to prevent fleas.

13) Raw Egg whites

Raw egg whites ingestion may cause a biotin deficiency. Raw egg whites appear to contain an enzyme called avidin which is known to cause biotin deficiency.

 The good news is that cooking the eggs cause the avidin in the whites to inactivate. A dog lacking biotin from raw egg whites will develop a poor hair coat, skin lesions, diarrhea and even limb paralysis.

14) Coffee Beans and Grounds

Dogs are affected in the same way as they are affected by chocolate. Something often not considered is that dogs may also suffer toxicity from ingesting cocoa mulch used in gardens. In any case, report to your vet promptly and follow his recommendations.

15) Dairy products

Dairy products are not really toxic, but they can be harmful to dogs with a sensitive stomach and its fat content may cause a bout of pancreatitis, a serious condition that often requires hospitalization. 

Many dogs are lactose intolerant because they lack the enzymes necessary to digest lactose, they may therefore, develop diarrhea as a result. 

A little bit of plain yogurt or cottage cheese may help the digestive system but the quantity must be limited.

The Bottom Line 

As seen, the amount of foods that can be potentially toxic or harmful to man's best friend are copious. 

Many times there are foods that are not specifically toxic, but their salt or sugar contents may cause serious health problems.

 So when it comes to feeding dogs, it is best to serve them only foods made specifically for dogs or raw meat diets/home-made diets as suggested by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. 

When it comes to sharing with your dog, you are free to share many special moments, but if you want to share many more years to come please refrain from sharing harmful foods with your dog.

Related Articles