Foods Dogs Should Avoid

Q. Which foods could be dangerous for my dog?

A.  Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common food items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we cannot possibly list everything your dog should not eat.

  • Fatty foods. Feeding your dog excessively rich or fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis (inflammatory disease of the pancreas).  Pancreatitis is more common in dogs than in cats and signs include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
  • Raw meat. Never feed your dog raw or under-cooked meat. It may contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. Coli which, when consumed, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It is as dangerous for your dog as it is for you.
  • Moldy foods. Moldy foods should also be avoided because they may contain certain mycotoxins, which, if ingested, can cause tremors, shaking, or seizures. If you wouldn’t eat it, he shouldn’t either.
  • Chocolate. Never feed your dog chocolate. Chocolate can cause increased heart rate, tremors and excitation, depending on the type and the quantity ingested.
  • Onion and garlic. Garlic and onion, regardless of form: raw, cooked, or powder, can cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells, which could result in anemia.
  • Some nuts. Do not give your dog macadamia nuts. These can cause muscular weakness and tremors.
  • Uncooked dough. Rising bread dough can be life threatening to your dog. Your dog’s body heat will cause the dough to rise in his stomach. Alcohol is produced during the rising process and the dough may expand to several times its original size. Signs seen with bread dough ingestion include: severe abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, lack of coordination, and depression.
  • Raisins and grapes. These fruits have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs when eaten in large quantities. The connection between grapes or raisins and kidney failure is unclear but is being studied closely in the veterinary community.

Your Dogs Health  depends upon your good judgment. Try not to feed your dog excessively from your table — but if you do treat your dog to table food, avoid foods that can make him ill.

Items to avoid

Reasons to avoid

Alcoholic beverages

Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.


The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources

Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Cat food

Generally too high in protein and fats.

Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine

Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and be toxic to the heart and nervous systems.

Citrus oil extracts

Can cause vomiting.

Fat trimmings

Can cause pancreatitis.

Fish (raw, canned or cooked)

If fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.

Grapes, raisins and currants

Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.


Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.

Human vitamin supplements containing iron

Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.

Macadamia nuts

Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.


Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.

Milk and other dairy products

Some adult dogs and cats may develop diarrhea if given large amounts of dairy products.

Moldy or spoiled food, garbage

Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.


Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)

Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.


Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Pits from peaches and plums

Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Raw eggs

Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw meat

May contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.*

Rhubarb leaves

Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.


If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.


Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a “string foreign body.”

Sugary foods

Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.

Table scraps (in large amounts)

Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.


Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heartbeat, collapse, coma, and death.

Yeast dough

Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Xylitol (artificial sweetener)

Can cause very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can result in vomiting, weakness and collapse. In high doses can cause liver failure.

Your Dogs Health  depends upon your good judgment. Try not to feed your dog excessively from your table — but if you do treat your dog to table food, avoid foods that can make him ill.

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