Stop 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. If you often find yourself asking “can my dog eat X?” then this article is for you.
- Human Safe Does Not Mean Dog Safe
- 28 Foods Not To Feed Your Dog
- The Menu Your Dog Shouldn’t Order (Infographic)
- Other Unsafe Items
- Safe Human Foods
- Is CBD Okay?
- What To Do If Your Dog Ate Something They Shouldn’t
- Protect Your Dog & Your Wallet (Video)
Get Free Pet Insurance Quotes
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 that 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.
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.
- Apple Seeds
- Candy, Chewing Gum, Toothpaste & Mouthwash
- Cat Food
- Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine
- Cooked Bones
- Corn On The Cob
- Fat Trimmings
- Grapes & Raisins
- Human Vitamins
- Macadamia Nuts
- Milk & Dairy Products
- Onions & Chives
- Persimmon, Peaches & Plum Pits
- Raw Meat & Fish
- Rhubarb & Tomato Leaves
Do not give your dog alcohol on purpose. Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, weak breathing, and abnormal acidity but potentially even coma or death.5 Find out what dogs can drink safely.
The casing of apple seeds is 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 is eaten and the seed is 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
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 pit, 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
Cat food contains proteins and fats that target 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 an upset stomach, obesity, and pancreatitis.3
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
Caffeine is extremely dangerous to dogs, 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
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 suitable for both your dog’s nutrition and teeth. Learn more in our dog bone guide.
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
Cooked and uncooked fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis.5
While garlic can be okay for dogs in tiny amounts (and even beneficial for flea treatment), more significant amounts can be risky. Garlic is related to onions which are toxic for dogs because it kills dog’s red blood cell count, causing anemia. Signs may include weakness, vomiting, and trouble breathing.5
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 potentially toxic food.5
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
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 a mineral overdose 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
In small amounts, liver can be okay but avoid feeding too much to your dog. Liver contains quite a bit of vitamin A, which can adversely affect your pup’s muscles and bones.2
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 macadamia nuts, the symptoms can be worse.5
The level of poison depends on how much exposure your dog has. 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.
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 Learn more about how dog allergy tests can help you learn about potential health issues.
No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods), onions are some of the absolute worst foods you could give your pup. They contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.5
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, 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 a spicy variety such as jalapeños or hot peppers!
Pits and seeds from peaches, plums and permissions can cause intestinal issues in dogs. Additionally, peach and plum pits have cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs (and people!).5
Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Cooked fish is perfectly fine since the cooking process kills the parasites but be sure to remove all bones to avoid choking or internal organ risks.5
Raw meat can be safe to feed dogs, but only if you know it’s uncontaminated and safe for consumption. In fact, raw diets for dogs are increasing in popularity.
These contain oxalates, which can cause, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors, and bloody urine.4
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
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 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
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 Peanut butter is a common culprit. Always be sure to check the labels for xylitol.
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
Here’s a “menu” of things your dog should never eat.
While these don’t fall in a particular category above, you’ll want to avoid them as well.
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!
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.
Chips can contain garlic and onion powder and 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.
While many human foods are safe to feed your dog, many are unsafe and potentially poisonous. 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 denied 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 collect any scraps. They also tend to drool less and bother visitors less frequently because they understand that human food is for humans and not for them.
However, some are safe. Below is a list of human foods that are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.
Lean meat includes meat without bones that have had excessive fat removed. If feeding chicken and turkey, the fatty skin should be removed. 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
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
Not including the fruits listed above, dogs can safely enjoy:
- apple slices
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
The vegetables below are safe for dogs to ingest:
- brussels sprouts
- green beans
- potatoes (only if cooked)
- sweet potatoes
Vegetables make great low-calorie snacks and useful 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
Cooked white rice is a common recommendation 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
Human-Grade, Fresh Dog Food
While not exactly human food, there are fresh dog foods available for delivery to your doorstep that is made from human-grade ingredients. Our favorite is The Farmer’s Dog if you want to check out our firsthand review to learn more.
CBD has been stated to naturally treat anxiety, pain, seizures, skin conditions, neurological disorders and more. But is it effective and safe for dogs?
From the limited research performed so far, it seems to be okay for dogs, in most cases. However, be sure to choose a high-quality product from a reputable dealer. Many companies are joining the CBD hype, so the best price may not be the safest for your pup. Do your research before you get started.
Also, your vet understands your dog’s unique needs better than you or the company selling the products, so be sure to check with them before administering.
If your dog is acting strangely or experiencing minor symptoms of 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 you cannot reach your veterinarian, immediately contact your local animal emergency clinic or call one of these hotlines to speak to a toxicology specialist and vets who are able to assist 24/7.
- Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661
- North Shore America / ASPCA Hotline 1-888-232-8870
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435
Note: They charge a small fee of $59-75 per incident and will ask for age, weight, medical history of your pet, what they were exposed to, amount, when it happened, and current symptoms.
Tip: Try using our “Ask a Vet” chat feature that is available 24/7 (see the lower right-hand corner of your browser window). You’ll get answers from a doctor within minutes.
Depending on the nature of the item ingested, the animal poison hotline or your veterinarian may induce vomiting to regurgitate it. If the item is likely to cause further damage to your dog on the way back up, they will not induce vomiting. In this case, other methods of helping your dog will be discussed, such as having your dog ingest something to bind with the offending food and neutralize it. Another option might be to perform surgery and remove it.
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 unsuspecting treat becomes a medical emergency, your dog (and your wallet) will be better off. Check out this video explaining what pet insurance is and why it’s worth it.
See something we missed? Does your pup have a favorite food you’d like to learn more about?
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.