What cant dogs eat?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 8, 2024

Dogs are beloved companions, and ensuring their health and well-being is paramount for pet owners. One crucial aspect of this is understanding what foods are harmful or toxic to dogs. While some foods that humans enjoy are safe for dogs, others can be dangerous or even fatal. This guide delves into the various foods that dogs should avoid, providing a comprehensive overview for responsible pet care.


Chocolate is one of the most well-known toxic foods for dogs. It contains theobromine, a compound that dogs metabolize much more slowly than humans. This can lead to theobromine poisoning, with symptoms ranging from mild (restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea) to severe (muscle tremors, seizures, heart problems, and even death). Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate are particularly dangerous due to their higher theobromine content.

Grapes and Raisins

Both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, although the exact substance causing the toxicity is still unknown. Even small amounts can lead to sudden kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can lead to a lack of urine production and death.

Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic, and other members of the allium family (such as chives and leeks) contain compounds that can damage dogs' red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia. Symptoms may not appear immediately but can include weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and a reddish tint to the urine. Both raw and cooked forms are hazardous.


Alcohol can have a much more potent effect on dogs than on humans. Even small amounts can lead to alcohol poisoning, causing symptoms like vomiting, disorientation, muscle tremors, and central nervous system depression. Severe cases can result in a coma or death. This includes not only alcoholic beverages but also foods containing alcohol.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, and baked goods. In dogs, xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Symptoms include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure. Even small amounts can be extremely toxic.


Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and certain medications, is a stimulant that can be toxic to dogs. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and seizures. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are particularly toxic to dogs, although the exact reason is unknown. Ingestion can cause symptoms such as weakness, vomiting, hyperthermia, and tremors. While macadamia nut poisoning is rarely fatal, it can lead to significant discomfort and require veterinary intervention.

Fatty Foods

Foods high in fat, such as bacon, sausage, and certain cuts of meat, can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and can cause symptoms like vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and lethargy. Chronic cases can lead to long-term health issues.


Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can be toxic to dogs in large amounts. While the flesh is generally less harmful, the pit, skin, and leaves contain higher levels of persin and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, the pit poses a choking hazard.

Raw Meat and Fish

Raw meat and fish can harbor harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning in dogs. Certain types of fish, like salmon and trout, can contain parasites that are particularly harmful. Cooking meat and fish thoroughly can help eliminate these risks.

Raw Eggs

Feeding raw eggs to dogs can lead to biotin deficiency due to the presence of avidin, a protein that inhibits biotin absorption. Biotin is essential for healthy skin, coat, and metabolism. Raw eggs also pose a risk of Salmonella infection.


While bones might seem like a natural treat for dogs, they can pose several risks. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking, blockages, or tears in the digestive tract. Even raw bones can cause dental fractures or become lodged in the throat.


Excessive salt intake can lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. In extreme cases, it can be fatal. Common sources of high salt content include salty snacks, processed foods, and certain seasonings.

Yeast Dough

Unbaked yeast dough can expand in a dog's stomach, leading to bloating and potentially life-threatening gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV). Additionally, the fermentation process produces alcohol, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Artificial Sweeteners

Apart from xylitol, other artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin have not been extensively studied in dogs but are best avoided. Natural sweeteners like stevia are generally considered safer.

Certain Fruits and Vegetables

While many fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs, others are not. For example, cherries can cause cyanide poisoning, and tomatoes can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Always research and consult with a vet before introducing new produce to your dog's diet.


Wild mushrooms can be highly toxic to dogs, with some species causing severe liver damage, kidney failure, or even death. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures.

Human Medications

Many human medications, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and cold medications, can be harmful to dogs. Always keep medications out of reach and consult a vet before giving any medication to your pet.

Dairy Products

Some dogs are lactose intolerant and can experience digestive upset from consuming dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream. Symptoms include gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.


Excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes in dogs. Avoid feeding dogs sugary treats and foods to maintain their health and well-being.

Understanding what foods are harmful to dogs is essential for their health and safety. By being aware of these potential hazards, pet owners can better protect their furry friends and ensure they live long, healthy lives.

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