What can't dogs eat?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 27, 2024

Dogs, our loyal companions, often share our homes and sometimes our food. However, it's crucial to understand that not all human foods are safe for canine consumption. This detailed guide explores what dogs can't eat, ensuring their health and safety.

Common Toxic Foods


Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance highly toxic to dogs. Different types of chocolate have varying levels of theobromine, with dark chocolate and baking chocolate being the most dangerous. Consumption can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and even seizures.

Grapes and Raisins

Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. The exact substance causing toxicity is unknown, but symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Immediate veterinary attention is essential if ingestion is suspected.

Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic, and related vegetables like leeks and chives contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. These foods can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia. Symptoms may not appear for several days and include weakness, lethargy, and pale gums.

Artificial Sweeteners


Xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in gum, candy, and baked goods, is highly toxic to dogs. It can cause a rapid release of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure. Even a small amount can be life-threatening.

Alcohol and Caffeine


Alcohol can be extremely dangerous for dogs, even in small amounts. It can cause ethanol poisoning, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, disorientation, slow breathing, and potentially coma or death. Alcohol is found in beverages, certain foods, and even some household products.


Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and certain medications, can be harmful to dogs. It stimulates the central nervous system and heart, leading to symptoms like restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors. In severe cases, it can cause seizures or death.

Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid


Avocado contains persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. While the flesh is less toxic than the pit, skin, and leaves, it's best to avoid feeding avocado to your dog altogether.


Tomatoes contain solanine, especially in unripe green tomatoes and the plant's stems and leaves. Ingesting solanine can cause gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, weakness, and confusion in dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs, causing symptoms like weakness, overheating, vomiting, tremors, and depression. Even a small amount can lead to severe symptoms, necessitating immediate veterinary care.

Dairy Products

Milk and Cheese

Many dogs are lactose intolerant and cannot properly digest dairy products like milk and cheese. Consumption can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. High-fat dairy products can also contribute to pancreatitis.

Raw and Undercooked Foods

Raw Meat and Eggs

Feeding raw meat and eggs can expose dogs to harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. Raw eggs also contain avidin, which can hinder the absorption of biotin, leading to skin and coat problems.

Raw Fish

Raw fish, particularly salmon and trout, can contain parasites that cause "salmon poisoning disease." This potentially fatal condition requires immediate veterinary treatment. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Miscellaneous Hazardous Foods

Fat Trimmings and Bones

Fat trimmings, whether cooked or raw, can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter and cause choking, intestinal blockages, or perforations.

Yeast Dough

Unbaked yeast dough can expand in a dog's stomach, causing bloating and potentially rupturing the stomach or intestines. Additionally, fermenting yeast produces alcohol, which can lead to ethanol poisoning.


Excessive salt intake can lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. In severe cases, it can be fatal. Avoid feeding salty snacks like chips and pretzels.

While dogs are often eager to share our meals, it is our responsibility to ensure their safety. The foods listed above can pose serious health risks to dogs. Always consult with a veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog's diet. Being informed and cautious can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Related Questions

Why can't dogs eat chocolate?

Chocolate contains several ingredients that are harmful to dogs, the most notorious being theobromine and caffeine. These compounds belong to a class of chemicals known as methylxanthines. Both of these substances are stimulants that can affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and even the digestive system of dogs.

Ask Hotbot: Why can't dogs eat chocolate?

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