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November 8, 2022

Toxic Food for Dogs: 12 Human Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

  • Can Dogs Eat
  • Dog Health
  • Dog Food
  • Dog
French Bulldog standing up on couch

Our furry friends love to try and steal scraps from our plates, and who can resist those puppy dog eyes? Sometimes sharing a small snack with your pet can be harmless, and can even help build the human-animal bond, but it is important to remember that there are many human foods that are unhealthy and dangerous for dogs. How do you know what to avoid sharing with your pup? Keep reading to find out!

Foods you should not feed your dog

1. Chocolate or caffeine/coffee

Although chocolate and coffee are often considered fan favorites when it comes to humans, these delicious treats can have detrimental effects on our pets. Chocolate and coffee contain caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Consumption of either of these stimulatory ingredients can cause increased blood flow to the brain and result in seizures, restlessness, and hyperactivity.

Coffee beans

2. Grapes or raisins

All types of grapes, including cooked, seedless, dried, peeled, or fresh, can be toxic to dogs. Even in small amounts, this sweet treat that we love can lead to kidney failure in our pets.

Green and purple grapes

3. Garlic or onions

Ingredients within the Allium family, like garlic and onions, contain thiosulfate, which when eaten in higher amounts, is toxic to dogs as it causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia.

Garlic on white background

4. Avocado

This vibrant “superfood” that we love so much is calorie-dense. Additionally, the fruit, pit, leaves, and flesh of the avocado contain persin; ingestion of which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage in dogs. Even the pit of the avocado can be a choking hazard!

Three avocados on cutting board

5. Macadamia nuts

Due to the fatty content of this crunchy snack, it has the potential to contribute to the onset of pancreatitis in dogs. However, this is a piece of it, but the actual mechanism of toxicity is unknown.

Macadamia nut on white background
Macadamia Nuts

6. Sugary foods/drinks

Eating too much sugar can do the same thing to dogs as it does to humans. It can cause weight gain and subsequently increase their chances of obesity. High sugar intake may cause problems with their dental health.

Four macarons on a plate
Sugary Foods

7. Xylitol or artificial sweeteners

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause low blood pressure, seizures, liver failure, or even death. It is not only sudden but 6-7x more than necessary as the body mistakes this for sugar, resulting in hypoglycemia, also known as a diabetic coma, in otherwise normally healthy pets.

Artificial sweetener in a spoon
Artificial Sweetener

8. Cooked bones

Consumption of cooked bones can be a choking hazard if the bones splinter into shards. Additionally, this could cause extreme damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines.

Cooked bones in a bowl
Cooked Bones

9. Pits/seeds

Pits and seeds found in apples, cherries, and nectarines are dangerous for dogs as they contain small amounts of the toxin cyanide. Signs of cyanide poisoning include muscle twitching, drooling, uncontrolled urination, seizures, diarrhea, and/or a coma.

Nectarines on cutting board with pits
Nectarine Pit

10. Alcohol

Dogs are unable to metabolize alcohol like humans, so beverages, food, or household products containing alcohol are toxic. Following the consumption of alcohol, dogs may present with lethargic behavior, respiratory depression, and low body temperature.

Two people cheering two cocktails

11. Raw yeast dough

Although some yeast products have numerous benefits that help to support your dog’s immune function and overall health, consuming raw yeast dough can be dangerous for your pet. The yeast and sugar in the raw dough ferment in the stomach to produce alcohol. The production of this alcohol will cause toxicity effects when absorbed into the bloodstream.

Raw yeast dough
Raw Yeast Dough

12. Offal

If your dog consumes too much offal, a vitamin A and vitamin D (which has a lower toxic amount) overdose may occur, resulting in problems with digestion, weak muscles, and bone spurs.

Person holding offal in hands

What to do if your dog eats one of these foods?

Always watch out for signs that your dog may have food poisoning.

Common signs of food poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy

Some additional signs include a lack of coordination, tremors, and in extreme cases, seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms or notice that your pet is eating something poisonous, remove the toxic ingredient and bring them to the veterinarian immediately. If possible, it may be of benefit to bring the ingredient label to your veterinarian for a reference. If you do not know what your pet ate, consider collecting a small sample of their vomit to be tested by your veterinarian.

Although there are a lot of foods to avoid sharing to keep your furry friend happy and healthy, there are a lot of foods made for dogs that they will love even more! Check out our Go! Solutions dry and wet food recipes to provide your pet with nutrients to keep them thriving!

GO! SOLUTIONS SKIN + COAT CARE Salmon and CARNIVORE Chicken, Turkey + Duck dry food recipes for dogs

Recommended Solution

Solutions for Your Pet's Unique Dietary Needs

If your dog is a picky eater, has a dull coat, or food sensitivities, feeding them a solutions-based food may be the answer to many issues.


Author icon

Taylor Richards

PhD Student - Companion Animal Nutrition

Taylor received her BSc in Honours Animal Biology, with a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, at the University of Guelph. She is currently completing her PhD in Companion Animal Nutrition in the Department of Animal Biosciences, also at the University of Guelph.