Top 29 Foods NOT to Feed a Dog

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We all know there are certain foods dogs shouldn’t eat.

But do we know why, what will happen, or even what we should do if our beloved pup eats one of these many dangerous foods?

Plus, there are some foods we have been warned away from feeding our dogs, like dairy, but we also know many dogs that love cheese and ice cream.

So, it begs the question of how dangerous are some of these foods some dogs eat?

Below I’ve created a list of foods that answers that question and more.

Foods Dogs Can’t Eat

1. Chocolate – Can Be Deadly

Can dogs eat chocolate cocoa cacao dangerous to puppies

The two main toxic properties in chocolate are the methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine.

The more concentrated the cacao in the chocolate, the more toxic it is, the least toxic is white chocolate.

Adverse effects are noticeable within 6-12 hours after ingestion[1].

  • 20 mg/kg – Mild fffects can be seen
  • 40–50 mg/kg – Cardiotoxic fffects may be seen
  • ≥60 mg/kg – Seizures may occur

Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst
  • GI upset – Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Distended abdomen
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Pancreatitis

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet as soon as you know your dog has consumed chocolate. If your dog is presenting any of the symptoms above you will want to bring them into the vet immediately.

2. Bones – Can Be Deadly

Are bones safe for dogs to chew on splintering risk femurs
Fake bones can be a great choice, though!

Bones can:

  • Be a choking hazard
  • Cause an intestinal obstruction
  • Cause internal punctures in the intestinal walls

Symptoms

The common signs your dog has an internal blockage or bleeding are:

  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stool
  • Distended abdomen

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If you know or suspect your dog has eaten a bone, you should contact your vet immediately.

They will advise you whether you should wait and give it time to see if it will pass on its own, or may instruct you to come in and have your dog examined.

3. Dairy – GI Upset and/or Food Allergies or Sensitivities

Can dogs eat dairy milk cheese ice cream lactose intolerant

Dogs lack the lactase enzyme that’s needed to break down dairy products[2].

Some dogs can process dairy better than other dogs.

Additionally, dogs can suffer from food allergies or sensitivities from dairy.

Symptoms

  • GI upset like diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence.

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog has a severe reaction, you will want to contact your veterinarian; otherwise, most upset stomachs will pass in a day or two.

If your dog is allergic to dairy and shows signs of being itchy, contact your vet to find out proper Diphenhydramine, aka Benadryl, dosage.

4. Xylitol – Can Be Deadly

Xylitol is a sugar replacement commonly found in foods like gum, sugarfree foods, peanut butter, toothpaste, and baked goods.

Xylitol can increase insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia, which can cause kidney failure.Is sugar free xylitol gum candy safe for dogs potential issues

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog eats food containing xylitol, then you should call your vet immediately.

If it’s after hours, a holiday, or weekend, contact your local emergency vet.

5. Grapes, Raisins, Currants, and Sultanas – Can Be Deadly

Can grapes raisins currants sultanas make dogs sick

Oddly, why these fruits are toxic to dogs is unknown, but what is known is that the dried versions like raisins are the most poisonous.

Keep in mind if your dog eats foods containing raisins, like cinnamon bread or hot cross buns, those are equally as dangerous.

They can eat mulberries, though.

Symptoms

Symptoms often show within 6-12 hours[3]. Liver failure can occur after 24-72 hours.

Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

There is no safe amount of grapes or raisins, so if your dog consumes any of these fruits, contact your vet immediately.

It is likely they may recommend you bring your dog in to be evaluated.

6. Yeast Dough – Can Be Deadly

Yeast dough dangerous for dogs to eat expand in stomach

Yeast dough expands when in a warm, moist, dark place, and there are few places better for promoting yeast growth than in a dog’s stomach.

The result of the dough growing can cause your dog’s stomach to expand.

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If your dog consumes enough yeast dough, it can result in bloat[4].

Also, the fermentation process of bread can create alcohol, which is another poisonous food.

Symptoms

  • Distended stomach
  • Bloat
  • Vomiting
  • Retching
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Elevated heart rate

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately.

7. Macadamia Nuts – Toxic but not Fatal

Are macadamia nuts safe for dogs to eat toxicityIt is not known what in the macadamia nut is poisonous, just that it only impacts dogs[5].

Though the symptoms may be severe, the consumption of macadamia nuts is generally not fatal.

Symptoms

Signs generally appear within 12 hours and resolve between 12-48 hours

  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet.

Treatment may decrease the severity and duration of symptoms.

8. Alcohol – Can Be Deadly

Can dogs drink alcohol wine beer liquor liqueur spirits vodka whisky

Alcohol poisoning in dogs can be fatal; it all depends on the quantity consumed.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Depression
  • Labored Breathing
  • Tremors
  • Coma

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

9. Marijuana – Toxic but Rarely Deadly

Marijuana poisoning is on the uprise with the legalization of pot in several cities.

Some dogs may eat cannabis straight, but it is more likely that they will eat the edibles like candy or baked goods.

Consumption of any amount of marijuana can cause adverse effects[6].

Can dogs eat weed cannabis hemp marijuana safety

Symptoms

  • Glassy Eyes
  • Weakness
  • Stumbling or lack of coordination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Change in heart rate
  • Seizures and tremors

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately to start treatment. Marijuana poisoning treatment includes:

  • IV Fluids
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Oxygen
  • Ventilator/respirator support
  • Induced vomiting
  • Monitoring

10. Onion & Garlic – GI Upset

Are onions garlic cloves safe for dogs to chew GI upset anemia

These vegetables can cause red blood cell damage and GI upset.

Garlic is five times worse than onions, but both can cause anemia[7].

Symptoms

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Anemia – Pale gums
  • Increase respiratory and cardiac rate
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet as they may want to induce vomiting and use activated charcoal for decontamination.

11. Moldy/Spoiled foods – Can Be Deadly

Moldy foods, especially fruits and nuts, can carry fungal neurotoxins.

Dogs are susceptible to food poisoning, just like humans, so spoiled foods can be just as fatal for them as it is for humans[8].Can dogs eat moldy spoiled rotten bread food fungus

Symptoms

  • Lack of Coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced Appetite

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet as they may need to decontaminate your dog through induced vomiting and charcoal.

Your dog may also require medical monitoring.

12. Blue Cheese – Significant health issues, but generally not fatal

Is blue cheese stilton mold safe for dogs to eat potential dangersBlue Cheese may cause the same negative impacts as dairy products[9].

However, in addition to those issues, blue cheese contains roquefortine C, a toxic alkaloid, which can cause significant intestinal issues.

Symptoms

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased body temperature

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet as soon as you find out your dog has ingested blue cheese.

13. Avocados – GI Upset & Choking Hazard

Persin in avocado dangerous toxic to dogs pits choking hazard

Every part of the avocado and plant can contain persin, which can cause GI upset.

The most significant danger is the avocado pit, which can be a choking or blockage hazard.

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Intestinal blockage symptoms such as constipation, lack of appetite, and vomiting
  • Lethargy

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog eats a piece of avocado, observation is best.

But if your dog has eaten the pit, contact your vet.

14. Coffee and Caffeine – Can be Deadly

Can dogs drink caffeine tea coffee energy drink caffeinated beverages

Like chocolate, coffee and caffeinated drinks contain methylxanthines, causing significant heart and nervous system issues.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased abnormal heart rhythm
  • Tremors and seizures

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet or emergency vet as soon as possible.

15. Mushrooms – Can Be Deadly

Are mushrooms safe for dogs to eat wild store bought varietiesThere are about 100 varieties of wild mushrooms that are poisonous[10].

Some species to be aware of are:

  • Amanita
  • The Inocybe spp. and Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
  • Amanita muscaria and A. pantherina
  • The false morel (Gyromitra spp.)
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms

Grocery store mushrooms are safe for dogs.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Orange poop

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If it can be done easily and quickly, grab a sample of the mushroom to show the vet, then contact your vet immediately.

Your vet may induce vomiting and treat your dog with charcoal.

Additionally, fluids and further monitoring may be required.

16. Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Yeast – Severe GI issues

Baking soda yeast baking powder leavening agents chemicals dog hazardsChemical leavening agents can cause severe stomach issues as well as nervous system problems.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Spasms
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac problems

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately if your dog has ingested the above leavening chemicals.

They may choose to purge your dog’s system based upon the size of your dog and the amount of ingested.

Note: This does not include baked goods containing these ingredients. Traditionally, there are only small amounts in these items and often not enough to be an issue.

17. Rhubarb Leaves – Can Be Dangerous

Rhubarb vegetable dangerous for dogs to consume

Rhubarb leaves contain soluble oxalate crystals, which are poisonous if large amounts of leaves are consumed[11].

Symptoms

  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Bloody urine
  • Increased thirst and urination

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog consumes a large number of rhubarb leaves or shows any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

18. Cat Food – Can cause health issues if fed over an extended amount of time

Can dogs survive on cat food safe for puppies to eatCat food isn’t toxic, but it isn’t a balanced diet for dogs, especially when it comes to fat, protein, and fiber content.

Additionally, it lacks the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients.

Symptoms

  • Obesity
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog eats a bowl of cat food, it’s nothing to be concerned about.

However, if your pup is only eating cat food, contact your vet to find a more palatable balanced diet for your dog.

19. Fat Trimmings and Butter – Can Cause PancreatitisButter oil and fats can cause pancreatitis in dogs

Fatty foods such as fat trimmings from a steak, stick of butter, or fast food can cause your dog to have anything from a mild upset stomach to a severe bout of pancreatitis[12].

For example, the most dangerous part of a waffle to your dog may be the butter.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If symptoms are minor, in-home monitoring is generally enough.

Additionally, withholding food for a bit may be in order until your dog’s stomach has calmed down. Then, starting back with a bland diet is best.

However, for more severe reactions, veterinary intervention may be required.

If your pooch is suffering from pancreatitis, it is best to bring them to the vet immediately

20. Hops – Can Be Deadly

Are hops safe for dogs to eat beer IPA pale ales dangerous

Hops can cause malignant hyperthermia, which means the dog’s internal body temperature rises to dangerous levels[13].

If malignant hyperthermia occurs, it can cause severe and permanent damage to your dog’s organs and brain.

Symptoms

Symptoms can occur between 30 minutes to 12 hours after consumption[14].

  • Increase in body temperature
  • Panting
  • Increased breathing
  • Stomach upset vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Restlessness

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately.

They will likely want to induce vomiting and use charcoal to clean your dog’s systems.

21. Raw Meat, Fish, and Eggs – Can Be Dangerous

Can dogs eat raw foods meat fish eggs e coli contamination

Raw meat, fish, and eggs all have the potential of carrying salmonella and E. coli[15].

Also, raw eggs have avidin, an enzyme, negatively impacting the body’s ability to absorb biotin, which can lead to issues with your dog’s skin and coat.

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Shock
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Mucus in stool
  • Abnormally fast heart rate
  • Swollen lymph nodes

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If you suspect your dog is suffering from food poisoning, you must contact your vet.

Unfortunately, food poisoning doesn’t show up immediately after consumption, so if you know your dog has eaten raw meat, it is critical you monitor their health at home over the next few days.

22. Salt – Sodium Ion Poisoning Can Be Fatal

Too much salt causes excessive thirst, but can also cause sodium ion poisoning.Can dogs eat table salt sodium chloride kosher sea salt

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Increased body temperature

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet if your dog has eaten a significant amount of salt.

Excessive salt consumption usually occurs if your dog gets into potato chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks.

23. Tobacco – Can Be Deadly

All forms of tobacco, such as cigarettes, chew, pipe tobacco, nicotine patches, and Nicorette gum, can cause tobacco poisoning in dogs.Can dogs eat tobacco leaf cigar cigarette pipe chew hogie smokes

Symptoms

  • Lowered heart and respiratory rates that transforms to higher heart and respiratory rates
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Uncontrolled defecation
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Paralysis

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately.

They will need to assist your dog in purging their system of the poison.

24. Corn on the Cob – Blockage and Choking Hazard

Is it safe for dogs to eat corn on the cob choking hazard

Corn kernels are safe, besides the possibility of a food allergy or sensitivity.

But the cob is where the issues are since they can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Distended abdomen
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal discomfort

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If you see your dog eat a large piece of corn cob, contact your vet.

Depending on the size of your dog and the corn cob, your vet will determine the best course of action.

25. Medications for Humans – Can Be Deadly

Many drugs safe for humans are not safe for dogs.

Some of the more common pills that are toxic to dogs are[16]:Which human medications are dangerous for dogs to eat

  • Antidepressants
  • Ibuprophen
  • Naproxen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Indomethacin
  • Ambien
  • ACE Inhibitors
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Adderall

These are just the top 10 dangerous medications, as noted by the AKC.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the medication, but the common symptoms are:

  • Weakness
  • Stumbling
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Painful abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Agitation

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Contact your vet immediately.

They will need to induce vomiting and use charcoal to remove any chemical remnants.

26. Black Walnuts – Stomach Upset, Neurological Issues, and Possibly Fatal

Can dogs eat black English walnuts tree nuts are they safe poison puppyWalnuts are a choking hazard, but some varieties are also toxic.

Black, Japanese, and English walnuts can all cause GI upset.

Additionally, moldy black walnuts have tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause neurological issues[17].

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Neurological issues

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your dog has eaten a whole walnut, contact your vet so they can advise the next appropriate step.

If your dog has eaten a moldy walnut, it is essential to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian.

27. Spicy Peppers – GI Upset

Can dogs eat spicy food peppers capsaicin irritate stomach intestines

Spicy peppers are not toxic, but the capsaicin can cause significant GI irritation.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Discomfort defecating

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

If your pup has eaten the pepper, you need to wait and see how they react.

If they have excessive vomiting or diarrhea, you may need to call your vet for supportive medicine such as anti-nausea or anti-diarrhea medications.

28. Nutmeg – Severe Stomach Upset and Seizures

Can dogs eat food with nutmeg added spices herbs dangerous to dogsNutmeg contains a chemical, myristicin, that is toxic to dogs[18].

Large amounts of nutmeg can cause severe reactions, but even small amounts can cause mild side effects.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Disorientation

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Symptoms can last a couple of days, and unless the symptoms are severe (hallucinations, increased heart rate, etc.), you can usually provide proper care to your dog at home.

If your dog is experiencing severe effects, you will want to get your dog into the vet immediately.

29. Sugar – Adverse Effects Over Time

Though sugar isn’t toxic, it does contribute to obesity and diabetes.Is it safe for dogs to eat sugar can it cause diabetes weight gain

Symptoms

Signs of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of muscle & weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Cataracts
  • Lethargy

What to Do If Your Dog Ingests It

Small amounts of sugar are not harmful, but if your pup gets into the sugar bowl, it’s best to consult your vet to figure out the best course of action.

Resources

  1. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/chocolate
  2. https://ivcjournal.com/digestive-enzymes-dogs-cats/
  3. https://www.vets-now.com/pet-care-advice/my-dog-has-eaten-grapes-or-raisins/
  4. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/bread-dough/
  5. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/macadamia-nuts
  6. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/uncategorized/pet-marijuana-intoxication-rise/
  7. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-safety-tips/are-onions-poisons-to-dogs/
  8. https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/can-dogs-get-food-poisoning
  9. https://www.vets-now.com/2017/01/foods-poisonous-to-dogs/
  10. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-toxins-poisons/dogs-and-mushrooms
  11. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/rhubarb/
  12. https://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/5-Toxic-Foods-to-Avoid-Feeding-Pets.aspx?extcmp=smd-ebiz-BL0003
  13. https://beerandbrewing.com/ask-the-experts-are-hops-harmful-to-dogs/
  14. https://www.aspca.org/news/dogs-beer-getting-bottom-hops-toxicity
  15. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_salmonellosis
  16. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/the-10-human-medications-most-dangerous-to-dogs/
  17. https://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/Nut-Dangers-to-Dogs.aspx?extcmp=smd-ebiz-PR0001-hambone
  18. https://www.petmd.com/nutmeg-safe-dogs

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