Woman feeding a dog in the kitchen some leftovers that could be dangerous or harmful

15 Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

Human Foods That Are Dangerous For Your Dog

When you are working at the kitchen counter preparing a meal for the day, those who have dogs will be familiar with having a shadow. They sit there with their puppy dog eyes, just waiting and watching for something to drop their way. Most of us can’t help but throw them a bit of whatever we are cooking at the time.

Although our dogs might look like they want what we have more than anything, it doesn’t mean that they should get it. Our digestive systems work differently from theirs. We humans enjoy many things that they can’t digest or that are toxic for them.

Woman feeding a dog in the kitchen some leftovers that could be dangerous or harmful

We all know when you have a dog that there is a good chance that you will share some of your food with them, it is essential to understand what they should and shouldn’t eat.

Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

There are many foods that dogs should never eat, as they can be toxic and even deadly for them. Some of these dangerous foods include:

1. Alcohol

At the end of a long day, a beer or a glass of wine can go a long way. However, alcoholic beverages and food containing even traces of alcohol can be incredibly damaging for your dog. Even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous for dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhoea. 

Like humans, it will induce depression in the central nervous system and even cause difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, tremors, coma, and even death. Their body is simply not meant to digest alcohol. If your pet has ingested any alcohol, contact the Animal Poison Control Centre or your veterinarian immediately.

2. Lollies

Sugar is essentially not needed and is dangerous in your dog’s diet. There might be times when you can let them try a small piece of something sugary, but even a little too much can cause adverse reactions. The sugars and preservatives in lollies can cause hyperactivity and increased heart rate. If they overeat, it can eventually cause diabetes and unhealthy amounts of weight gain.

Dog going to eat some lollies on a cupcake that could be harmful

3. Caffeine

We might live off coffee and cannot begin the day without one, but our dogs shouldn’t. Caffeine contains a compound called methylxanthines. When ingested by your dog, it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, excessive thirst, urination, panting, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Keep caffeine away from your pooch, this just means you get to keep your coffee all to yourself.


4. Avocado

Avocados might be a superfood for us humans, but it doesn’t usually sit well with dogs. They don’t have as much of a problem with it as horses and birds will, but it is still hard for them to digest. In large quantities, it can cause cardiovascular issues. Avocado contains a substance called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.

5. Chocolate

Chocolate falls under both categories of lollies and coffee because the cacao seed used to make chocolate also contains methylxanthines. Chocolate is incredibly toxic for dogs, and they should never get to indulge in this tasty treat. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous because it contains the highest percentage of cacao, along with baking chocolate. Even white chocolate, which has the lowest level of methylxanthines, shouldn’t be fed to your dog.

Dog with chocolate

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which can be poisonous to dogs, especially if they consume dark chocolate or baking chocolate. Even a small amount of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, and even death.

6. Citrus Fruit

You might have seen the videos of someone trying to feed their dog a lemon. While funny and entertaining, it is not the best choice for the continued health of your pup. Citrus fruits contain citric acid. These essential oils cause irritation and even some swelling in your dog’s mouth and throat.

If they overeat any part of a citrus plant, it can cause depression in their central nervous system. They must eat large helpings of citrus fruit for this to happen, though. It is unlikely to give them any problems in small doses beyond an upset stomach.


Coconut is not one that you have to be extremely careful with, unlike chocolate or coffee. Coconut and its products, such as coconut oil, shouldn’t harm your pet in small amounts. 

The fresh milk from a coconut can sometimes cause loose stool and diarrhoea. It is best to use caution when offering anything with coconut to your dog.

8. Grapes (Including Raisins)

Grapes and raisins are quite toxic for dogs. Scientists have yet to figure out what compound inside of grapes causes the reaction. However, if your dog eats grapes or raisins, it can cause kidney failure even in smaller amounts. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy.

9. Macadamia Nuts

A macadamia nut might be a tasty, textural treat for us, but they are practically poison for a dog. They cause weakness in the limbs, vomiting, depression, tremors, and even hyperthermia. These signs will typically manifest within 12 hours of them eating the nut but won’t usually last for more than 48 hours.

10. Dairy Products

Animals like dogs and cats cannot break down significant quantities of lactose. They don’t have the enzyme lactase that allows them to digest the protein properly. That often results in diarrhoea and vomiting. You should avoid giving your dog cheese, dairy-based sauces, and milk. Cheese is sometimes used as a training treat for dogs. There are much better alternatives such as Farmer Pete’s dehydrated treats for the right pet food.

11. Nuts

You shouldn’t give your dog any kind of nut. Note that this doesn’t include peanuts because they are a legume and not a nut. Peanut Butter is fine, and dogs love it.

Nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts all add to pancreatitis if they eat them too often. They contain high amounts of fats and oils, both of which commonly cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

12. Onions & Garlic

Any plant within the general Allium family can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Over time, it can lead to damage in the red blood cells and eventually anaemia. Cats are even more sensitive to the damaging effects of veggies like onions, chives, and garlic. If they overeat, dogs can also become quite ill. Symptoms can include weakness, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.

13.High-Sodium Foods

Many of our snacks nowadays are loaded with salt. However, a large amount of salt is not a healthy thing for your dog to ingest. It leads to excessive thirst and urination, much like in humans.

Too much of the sodium ion in your dog’s system eventually leads to poisoning your pet. Symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, depression, an elevated body temperature, tremors, and even death. Avoid feeding dogs pretzels, potato chips, or salty popcorn.

14. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that can either be synthetic or natural. We use it in all kinds of products to make them taste better. That includes baked goods, lollies, gum, and even toothpaste. Unfortunately for our pets, it causes an unhealthy release of insulin, leading to liver failure and seizures if they ingest too much. It can also develop into hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) if steadily consumed over time.

If your dog reacts to it violently right away, it will look like vomiting, loss of coordination, and lethargy. The symptoms might progress to seizures as well. If you notice any of these, take them to a vet immediately.

15. Yeast

Yeast dough in your dog’s system can cause uncomfortable amounts of gas and pressure. It can cause bloating, which can be a life-threatening emergency if it causes the intestines to twist. Your dog should never ingest raw bread dough or bread raised using yeast.

Dog with a bowl of food that could be dangerous

Foods That Are Bad For Dogs Should be Avoided

The foods listed above can be harmful or toxic to dogs because they contain substances that can cause adverse reactions or even lead to death. Dogs have different metabolisms and digestive systems compared to humans, and some foods that are safe for us can be toxic to dogs.

For example, chocolate contains theobromine, which dogs are unable to metabolise as effectively as humans. This can cause theobromine to build up to toxic levels in their system, leading to various symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, and even death. Similarly, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells, leading to anaemia.

It's important to understand which foods are safe for your dog to eat and which foods should be avoided to keep them healthy and safe.

It's always best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding your dog anything that is not specifically made for dogs. If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, seek veterinary attention immediately.

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