What Foods Are Toxic for Dogs

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Dog Eating in FridgeStop feeding your dog food without knowing how it could affect them. Know which foods are lethal to your dog beforehand, so you can keep them safe.

Article Overview

Human Food Is Not Always Dog-Friendly

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Foods that are perfectly suitable for human consumption, as well as other animals, may be toxic and even poisonous to your dog, posing a serious threat to their health and well-being. Why? Because all animals have very different rates of metabolism. Metabolism is basically the process of breaking down food and turning it into energy. 

Please note that while we’re attempting to add every food we can find that is potentially unsafe for dogs, there are certain foods that we may miss, so don’t consider a food safe to feed to our dog just because it’s not on this list of foods bad for dogs.

Do your research if you are uncertain and let us know by adding a comment below with your new information, so we can keep this list of food bad for dogs updated. If you are worried about something your pet consumed, please call your vet promptly.

List Of Foods Not To Feed Your Dog

Here’s an alphabetized list of foods that are unsafe and unfit for canine consumption, many of which are toxic to dogs. Be sure to look below this list for a helpful and shareable infographic to print out and keep on your fridge so you know what things dogs can’t eat.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Apple Seeds
  3. Avocado
  4. Candy, Chewing Gum, Toothpaste & Mouthwash
  5. Cat Food
  6. Chocolate
  7. Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine
  8. Cooked Bones
  9. Corn On The Cob
  10. Fat Trimmings
  11. Garlic
  12. Grapes & Raisins
  13. Hops
  14. Human Vitamins
  15. Liver
  16. Macadamia Nuts
  17. Marijuana
  18. Milk & Dairy Products
  19. Onions & Chives
  20. Peppers
  21. Persimmon, Peache & Plum Pits
  22. Raw Meat & Fish
  23. Rhubarb & Tomato Leaves
  24. Salt
  25. Sugar
  26. Tobacco
  27. Xylitol
  28. Yeast

Alcohol

Do not give your dog alcohol on purpose. Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing and abnormal acidity, but potentially even coma and/or death.5

Apple Seeds

The casing of apple seeds are toxic to a dog as they contain a natural chemical (amygdlin) that releases cyanide when digested. This is really only an issue if a large amount was eaten and the seed were chewed up by the dog, causing it to enter its bloodstream. To play it safe, be sure to core and seed apples before you feed them to your dog.2

Avocado

Avocados contain persin, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting and heart congestion. The most dangerous part of an avocado is the pit because it is a choking hazard and it is full of persin. If you think your dog has ingested an avocado pet, call your vet asap. If your dog ate a small piece of avocado, it will probably be okay, but make sure you monitor your dog and call your vet for further care.5

Candy, Chewing Gum, Toothpaste & Mouthwash

Not only does candy contain sugar, but it often contains xylitol, which can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and liver failure.1

Cat Food

Cat food contains proteins and fats that are targeted at the diet of a cat, not a dog. The protein and fat levels in cat food are too high for your dog, and not healthy. Ingesting too much cat food can result in upset stomach, obesity and pancreatitis.3

Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system. Depending on the type of chocolate, amount your dog ingested and your dog’s weight will determine how sick (or not sick) your dog may become.

Ingesting too much theobromine and caffeine in chocolate may result in: vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased urination, tremors, elevated heart rate, seizures and death.3 Below is a list of most dangerous to least dangerous chocolate to dogs:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • Semisweet chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate

Since this is a common item in houses and dogs love the smell and taste of it, PetMD created a “dog chocolate toxicity meter” to help you know how serious your dog’s chocolate ingestion may be.

Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine

Caffeine is extremely dangerous to dog and within 1-2 hours, your dog could be experiencing mild to severe hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, seizures and death.4

Cooked Bones

When it comes to bones, the danger is that cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed by your dog. Raw (uncooked) bones, however, are appropriate and good for both your dog’s nutrition and teeth.1

Corn On The Cob

While small amounts of corn are safe for a dog to ingest, giving your dog an ear of corn can be dangerous. If your dog is determined enough (which let’s face it, most dogs are) they will eat the cob and all. The cob can be a choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockage. This could be fatal to your dog.3

Fat Trimmings

Cooked and uncooked fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis.5

Garlic

While garlic can be okay for dogs in very small amounts (and even beneficial for flea treatment), larger amounts can be risky. Garlic is related to onions which is toxic for dogs because it kills dog’s red blood cell count, causing anemia. Signs may include weakness, vomiting and troubles breathing.5

Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure for dogs. Even a small amount can make a dog ill. Vomiting is an early symptom followed by depression and low energy. We’ve heard stories of dogs dying from only a handful of grapes, so do not feed your pup this toxic food.5

Hops

An ingredient in beer that can be toxic to your dog. The consumption of hops by your dog can cause vomiting, panting, increased heart rate, fever and even death.4

Human Vitamins

It isn’t recommended to give your dog one of your vitamins or supplements. Human vitamins often contain 100% of the recommended daily amount of various minerals. This could cause an overdose of a mineral for your dog.

The most dangerous vitamin is prenatal vitamins, which have a higher dose of iron and can cause iron toxicity in pets. If your dog ingests a bunch of prenatal vitamins (or other vitamins with a high dosage of iron) you should call your vet immediately. 1

Liver

In small amounts, liver is great but avoid feeding too much liver to your dog. Liver contains quite a bit of vitamin A, which can adversely affect your pup’s muscles and bones.2

Macadamia Nuts

Ingesting even small amounts of macadamia nuts can be lethal to your dog. Symptoms include muscle shakes, vomiting, increased temperature and weak back legs. If your dog ingested chocolate with the macadamia nuts the symptoms can be worse.5

Marijuana

Depending how much your dog was exposed to can affect the level of poison. There isn’t much information out about dogs and marijuana but from what we can find, these are the common symptoms: slow response times, dribbling urine, heart rate change, neurological stimulation, hyperactivity, coma and even death.4 Read more about Dogs and Marijuana.

Milk & Dairy Products

While small doses aren’t going to kill your dog, you could get some smelly farts and some nasty cases of diarrhea. Milk and dairy products can cause digestive problems as well as trigger food allergies.5

Onions & Chives

No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods), onions are some of the absolute worst foods you could possibly give your pup. They contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.5

Peppers

Bell Peppers are okay to feed dogs. Dogs are carnivores and prefer meat to vegetables, but there are some benefits to veggies. For example, green peppers are a low-calorie snack that is packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene. Be sure to chop peppers into small pieces because the outer skin can be tough and difficult to chew. Pureeing or steaming the peppers makes them easier to consume and digest. As with most human food, don’t overdo it because too much could lead to sickness. It might go without saying, but never give your dog spicy varieties such as jalapeños or hot peppers!

Persimmon, Peach & Plum Pits

Pits/seeds from these fruits can cause intestinal issues in dogs. Additionally, peach and plum pits have cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs (and people!).5

Raw Meat & Fish

Raw meat and fish can have bacteria which causes food poisoning. Additionally, some fish can contain a parasite that causes “fish disease” or “salmon poisoning disease.” Symptoms include vomiting, fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Cooked fish is perfectly fine since the parasite is killed during the cooking process.5

Rhubarb & Tomato Leaves

These contain oxalates, which can cause, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors and bloody urine.4

Salt

Just like salt isn’t the healthiest thing for humans, it’s even less healthy for dogs. Too much of it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, which may result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, increased temperature, seizures and even death.5

Sugar

This applies to any food containing sugar. Make sure you check the ingredient label for human foods – corn syrup (which is a less expensive form of sugar or glucose) is found in just about everything these days. Too much sugar for your pup can lead to dental issues, obesity and even diabetes.5

Tobacco

Tobacco contains nicotine, which can be lethal to dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, abnormal heart rate, tremors and weakness. Tobacco poisoning can present itself within 1 hour of ingestion.4

Xylitol

A sugar alcohol found in gum, candies, baked goods and other sugar-substituted items, xylitol, while causing no apparent harm to humans, is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death for your pup.5

Yeast

Just like yeast rises in bread, it will also expand and rise within your pup’s tummy. Make sure they don’t get any. While mild cases will cause gas, lots of farting and discomfort — too much of it could rupture their stomach and intestines. Yeast dough is also dangerous because as it ferments and rises it makes alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning.5

Infographic: Foods That Are Toxic For Dogs

Here’s a “menu” of things your dog should never eat.

Foods That Are Toxic For Dogs

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

Keep These Foods Out Of Your Dog’s Reach As Well

While these don’t fall in a particular category above, you’ll want to avoid them as well.

Old Food

You don’t like old and moldy food, so what makes you think your dog will? The bacteria in spoiled food contains all sorts of toxins that can be damaging to your dog’s health. Feed them the freshest and best, dog-approved food only!

Leftovers

If you feed your dog leftovers regularly, they won’t get a proper diet. If you do give them table scraps, make sure to take out any bones and trim down the fat.

Human Snacks

Chips can contain garlic and onion powder, cookies may contain raisins, chocolate or macadamia nuts, etc. Bottom line — there’s a reason there’s food and treats made especially for dogs.

Keep Your Dog On A Healthy Diet

Choosing to raise a dog is a big responsibility. Just as with a child, you’ve welcomed another living being into your household and family. We probably don’t have to tell you to take care of your dog, but what people often don’t realize is that as similar as the two can be, they also have very different needs when it comes to food.

Ask your veterinarian what kind of food might be best for your particular dog breed as well as age and any special needs. That way you know what dogs can’t eat and you’re less likely to have any issues.

Safe Human Foods For Dogs

While there are certainly some human foods that are safe to feed your dog there are many which are unsafe and potentially poisonous when ingested by your dog. As a general rule of thumb, it is far better to be safe than sorry, so avoid feeding your dog any human food unless recommended by your vet.

Dogs that are not given human food or table scraps are generally better behaved than dogs who do receive people food. These dogs do not beg because they know they won’t receive any scraps. They also tend to drool less and bother visitors to your home less because they understand that human food is for humans and not for them.

With all this being said, below is a list of human foods that are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

Lean Meat

Lean meat includes meat without bones that has had excessive fat removed. If feeding chicken and turkey, the skin should also be removed as it can be a source of fat. Lean meat includes the white meat from chicken or turkey and provides a tasty treat for your dog as well as a good source of protein.1

Eggs

Salmonella and biotin deficiency are two things to be cautious of when feeding your dog raw eggs. Most vets will recommend giving your dog a cooked egg over a raw egg. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and have a host of vitamins for your pup. Don’t worry about cooking the egg in butter, oil, salt, pepper or other additives, your dog doesn’t need those things and they can be harmful to them as well.3

Fruits

Not including the fruits listed above, dogs can safely enjoy:

  • bananas
  • apple slices
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • cranberries
  • mangoes
  • oranges
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pineapples
  • raspberries

The seeds should be removed from these fruits or in the case of watermelon it should be a seedless melon as most fruit seeds contain a trace amount of arsenic which is poisonous (it’s a small amount but why risk it?).3

Vegetables

The vegetables below are safe for dogs to ingest:

  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • green beans
  • peas
  • potatoes (only if cooked)
  • spinach
  • sweet potatoes

Vegetables make great low-calorie snacks and good training tools. In fact, you can give your dog slices of carrots as a treat and a healthier alternative to other training treats. Stay away from canned and pickled vegetables as they contain too much salt.3

White Rice

Cooked white rice is frequently referred to as a potential meal for a dog with an upset stomach. Generally boiled white chicken and white rice are used to help firm up stools as well as nourish a dog that is having trouble getting any nutrition from food as a result of illness.5

When In Doubt, Ask A Vet

If your dog is acting strangely, or experiencing even minor symptoms including weakness, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. and you think they may have consumed something they shouldn’t have, seek a veterinarian’s attention immediately. If you wait too long, your dog might not make it.

What If You Cannot Reach Your Veterinarian?

In an emergency when your veterinarian cannot be reached you should contact your local animal emergency clinic or call the animal poison hotline at 888-232-8870. You can also try the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Depending on the nature of the item ingested the animal poison hotline or your veterinarian may induce vomiting to regurgitate the item that has been ingested. If the item is something that is likely to cause further damage to your dog on the way back up, vomiting will not be induced and other methods of helping your dog will be discussed such as having your dog ingest an item which will bind to the offending food and neutralize it or surgery to remove the item that is causing your dog’s problems.

Be Proactive: Save Yourself From Expensive Vet Bills

If your dog eats something and gets sick, the vet bill can be tough for pet parents to stomach. Take the proactive step and consider pet insurance. That way if an accidental treat becomes a medical emergency, your dog (and your wallet) will be better off. Check out this video we created to better explain what pet insurance is and why it’s worth it.

See something we missed? Does your pup have a favorite food you’re unsure is safe?

Sources: [1] PetMD, [2] Vetinfo, [3] AKC, [4] Pet Poison Helpline, [5] Pets WebMD 

Disclaimer: Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. The only clear option for ensuring your pet’s health is to feed commercial grade dog foods and treats only. Feeding human foods of any sort carries some degree of risk and is not under the control of this website.

Since the day she was born, Michelle has lived in a home full of dogs and dog lovers. Her home is no exception with two adorable rescue pups of her own, Bella and Lily. Their unconditional love and never ending tail wags make every day brighter.

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DogsAre Carnivores
Half of this is wrong. My dogs are raw fed to include raw meat fish liver eggs bones. They also get avocados(only part they can’t have is the bark and leafs, proven). Garlic is fine is low amounts and so is black coffee.
Ron Turley
our big poodle grabbed a hot shot ant cartridge, and crunched it. what to look for?
Cindy
I just thought the Avocado inclusion was interesting…one of the chewable supplements prescribed for my dog by our vet has avacado as one of the main ingredients…although, he doesn’t like them…
Dog owner
I gave my dog mints, is he allowed them?
Cam Wagar
Anyone who has an actual clue or does at least somewhat in-depth research will know a lot of this pertaining high protein foods is complete crap. Sure salmonella can “arise” but highly doubtful, where do you all think dogs derived from??? Wild beasts, that had nothing but wild to live off of. Which includes raw anything, of course to pursue full raw benefits and prevent dogs from getting sick in anyway the diet should be weened in. 95% of kibble is pure trash and has no benefits. All the actual benefits are destroyed once they bake it at an ungodly degree. The ENTIRE raw egg including the shell (preferably not store bought because of an insane amount of chemicals used) and RED meat or raw fish (primarily salmon or cod) are much more beneficial for dogs, and honestly feeding your dog chicken of any kind besides chicken eggs is probably one of the worst ideas. Cheap, terrible meat and that has very little benefit for a dog. Also most dogs have an allergy to this, especially shepherd breeds. Red meats are high in protein, myoglobin, and several vitamins and, as with most raw foods, is highly beneficial to dental health and digestive health. Not to mention dogs love it. Also liver, hearts, and gullets are extremely beneficial as well. Fish obviously very high in omega 3’s & 6’s. Most raw items are amazing for your dogs skin health most of all. With added supplementation such as bone broth, and proper fruits and veg, along with digestive aids (i.e. tumeric, goats milk, etc.) all of these items will make your dog thrive. And since when is marijuana a food ?? That one gave me a chuckle.
Ricardo Kinkade
Can someone please tell me what I can give my shitsue mix cause I really don’t have anything else But her in my life… Please help me
Kimberly Alt
You should contact your vet immediately in instances like this. If you think your dog has ingested something they shouldn’t have, your dog may need immediate medical attention. Comments on our site can be in moderation for up to 72 hours since we do not moderate on weekends. I hope your dog is doing well and got the care she needed!
Ricardo Kinkade
Please help me… Please she is panting really hard..
Ricardo Kinkade
She had apple seed or maybe core
Dee Dee Connelly
Go ! Go!!! to the nearest vet hospital. NOW !! She is in toxic shock, and can die. So what, you don’t have $$. If you love her, you WILL find it.
Rob
Very helpful
Brad
It seems the writer of this post does not know the meaning of the word toxic.
Ashley
Thank you for the artical.
Tom
question to those more knowledgeable. Today I put my dog down (he had a large mass and internal bleeding. Doctor said it was most likely cancer) We chose not to pursue to prolonging his life as he was old and didn’t deserve the pain just to live a few more months with us. (according to doctor) any way I was too ashamed to ask the doctor this but we had a puppy come to us and old dog starting eating the poop so I put sriracha on it once, dog thought it was even tastier so I put a hot spice. thinking it was cayenne or habanaro, not sure which I grabbed an He loved that too. Did I kill my dog by feeding him spice, would a mass grow that fast from what I did or could I have ruptured it. This was three weeks ago and I only did it twice, three time maybe but he loved it so much I stopped.
Lynn
No you did not.
mobotak mobotak
Thanks for your good and useful article. your website gives practical information.
Deb
My dog ate a pound chocolate bar left out in the living room. Wrapper and all. Next morning, after a long night with the vet -she died in my arms. She died because of my own ignorance and shortcoming in not keeping that chocolate out of her reach. I realize a pound is quite a bit for someone to intentionally (or unintentionally) give their dog at one time or within a short amount of time. My current and future dogs will never taste even a lick of chocolate. I don’t believe the articles we read on the internet are meant to be all inclusive or all knowing. If one is searching for answers, much more research is needed than relying on one site to provide you with all the answers. This article gives one a detailed list (from a compilation of sources) of foods to give or not to give to dogs – merely as a stepping stone in your own quest for answers. From here, use some common sense and further research those that you may agree or disagree with. Keeping in mind that all dogs are different which this writer has stated. Your dog may very well be able to tolerate foods that are on the don’t give to dogs list. Your dog may be an exception, not the rule. This may be the reason behind all the sarcastic comments people are making as to why this writer doesn’t appear to know what she’s talking about. I believe this article to be educational and enlightening. A stepping stone as it was meant to be – in my continuing research as to what to keep out of the reach of my dogs.
Kimberly Alt
I am so sorry for your loss Deb. Please know that my thoughts are with you during this time. And thank you for your kind words.
nadeem
what about the dogs from the street they eat anything and I still see them running around the street. My dog loves grapes and eats them all the time She is fine
Kylie
Just because you don’t immediately notice it, doesn’t mean the grapes your dog eats ‘all the time’ don’t cause any damage. Kidney damage caused by grapes can build up over time and is often irreversible. So just keep your dog away from them, if you care about her.
Melissia
Veterans don’t care about your dogs when u live a frist nation reserve. Because I know because my frist dog passway and the vet did not want to come out , to see what was wrong with my dog
Murphy
Are whole peppercorns toxic to dogs? I have a 6 month old 70 lbs Doberman that might have eaten a small amount of them. (Maybe 20 or so)
jackie
i feed my dog pizza pepperoni and chicken and she does not get sick some people say pizza will hurt dogs is that true
scott
very informative
charles kovacs
my dog ate an anole are they poisionist?
Janice h.
Went to the Vet for Gizmos checkup. Husband was furious because he had eaten about 4 MM’s. Told the Vet they were milk chocolate, Vet told husband he would have to eat more then 4 of them to get sick. Just stay away from the Dark Chocolate. That is the one that can really hurt him. Coffee? He loves it. I learned not to leave it on the coffee table anymore when I leave the room because when I come back it’s all gone. Gizmo is fine, he never got sick, no diarrhea(msp), no pant, nothing. He is still the same Gizmo and healthy.
Kimberly Alt
Glad to hear Gizmo is ok. As your vet said, it depends on the amount of coffee/chocolate ingested. Sounds like Gizmo didn’t ingest enough of either to become ill. Happy to hear he is doing well and thank you for sharing your experience with us!
Lynn S
Our 79 pound dog is VERY sick with 105.5 temperature. Earliest vet appt later this afternoon. Looking back on the last few days. We had our lawn sprayed for weeds Thursday. Other than her walking to the lawn to do her duty, she wasnt in it much. Same with Friday. Saturday and Sunday she laid in the lawn while we worked in the yard, most of the day. Same with Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Monday we smoked a roast on the grill, we gave her pieces from the table. Yesterday and today she has been lethargic, Monday when we ran an errand, she peed on the floor while we were gone and NEVER does that. Any ideas?
cjloher
Find an emergency vet clinic! Dogs don’t just get a cold they can shake off. Take the dog to a vet, any vet, as soon as possible. I would not wait until afternoon.

She could have reacted to the roast, but I would bet it is the lawn chemicals.

Give your dog a bath, the chemicals are probably on her fur. When she cleans herself (because what dog is not constantly licking), she ingests the weed killing chemicals.

Dogs absorb chemicals through the pads of their feet. Your dog probably also absorbed the weed-killing chemicals. Consider pulling the weeds yourself and not using chemicals in your back yard. If you read the directions of most weed killers, they instruct things like using masks, gloves, washing your clothes and showering after spraying.

You can also try watering the lawn. This will dilute the chemicals from the weed killer. You should probably find out what chemicals were in the weed killer and research how long it will take them to dissipate before it is safe for anyone to be on the lawn. Keep everyone away from the lawn until the weed killer is gone. It is probably on your shoes and therefore all over the floor of your house at this point. It depends on how extreme you want to go. You can wash shoes, shampoo rugs, wash hardwoods and tile.

Speaking of which, if you have hard floors in your house (wood or tile), many floor cleaners have been shown to harm pets. Do a little research.

Your first priority is taking care of your dog though! I hope she is all right.

Cameo
My dog ate a whole pack of ice breaker gum containing xylitol. He is still in the hospital trying regulate his ATL levels. I was wondering if there are any regulations for companies to put a label on products that are toxic to animals?
Kimberly Alt
I’m not familiar with any type of regulation for companies to include a label on toxic products for animals. I hope your dog gets better soon. Gum can be very dangerous for dogs. Your dog is in our thoughts.
TMB
Just curious where you got this information?
Kimberly Alt
Great question, we’ve added some information about our sources at the end of this article! Thanks 🙂
Roo
Sadly, to get information like this, an awful lot of dogs had to suffer unbearable agonies.
Lauren
I noticed that dairy was not something to feed your dog. I sometimes will give my dog cheese to help them take whatever medicine is needed and any dog I have had LOVES cheese. Is this really harmful?
Kimberly Alt
Each dog is different and some dogs are lactose intolerant, which is why we have dairy on this list. Also, dogs can get pretty gassy after eating dairy products and have some diarrhea, but it all depends on the amount they eat. If your dog seems completely fine after eating cheese it’s probably okay to continue doing so. Just make sure it’s in small amounts.