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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.
- Human Safe Does Not Mean Dog Safe
- Foods Not To Feed Dogs
- Foods That Are Toxic To Dogs (Infographic)
- Other Unsafe Items For Dogs
- Safe Human Foods To Feed Dogs
- What To Do If Your Dog Ate Something They Shouldn’t
- Protect Your Dog & Your Wallet With Pet Insurance
Get 3 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 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, poor breathing and abnormal acidity, but potentially even coma and/or death.5 Find out what dogs can drink safely.
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
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 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 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.
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
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.
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 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 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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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 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
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
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
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.
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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, 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 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 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
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 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
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
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.
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?
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.
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