What NOT to feed your dog

What NOT to feed your dog

What foods/substances should you keep out of your furry friend's diet?

Us dog owners always know that moment when you're eating dinner and your canine companion is steadily focused on how much of it you won't finish. Although we love to share, many foods or substances that are perfectly safe for human consumption could make your dog ill or even be fatal. Here's what you should look out for. 

*Items listed in red indicate high toxicity


This one should be pretty intuitive. The long term effects of alcohol consumption in humans can cause liver failure among many other complications, and your dog is no different. Be careful not to leave beer or liquor in an open glass for your curious pet to ingest.

Apple Seeds

Apple seeds are encased in a natural chemical called amygdalin which releases  deadly cyanide upon ingestion. This one's an easy fix. Make sure to cut the core and seeds out of apples before giving them to your pet.


Avocados contain a chemical called persin which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart congestion. If you suspect your dog has ingested an avocado pit, you should call your vet asap. If only a small piece of avocado was eaten (excluding the persin-rich core), frequently monitor your dog and call your vet if complications occur.


Candy is quite obviously sugar-filled and often contains xylitol, which can cause loss of coordination, vomiting, seizures and even liver failure. Be careful not to leave candy in your dogs reach, even wrapped candies aren't much of a challenge to some dogs.

Cat Food

Cat foods are simply not designed for the chemistry of your dog. Fat and protein levels in your cat's food are far too high for your puppy and can lead to obesity and pancreatitis.


Chocolate is the most well known "no-no" for your dog, but why? Chocolate contains caffeine and more importantly theobromine, which stimulate the central nervous system and cause a rise in your dogs heart rate. Chocolate poisoning does depend on the type of chocolate ingested as well as your dog's weight and age. If your dog ingests chocolate you should pay close attention to how much and what kind if possible as well as any abnormal behaviors.

Ingestion of theobromine and caffeine in chocolate may result in: diarrhea, elevated heart rate, increased urination, vomiting, restlessness, elevated heart rate, tremors, seizures and death.

Most dangerous to least dangerous chocolate to dogs:

Cocoa powder
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
Semisweet chocolate
Dark chocolate
Milk chocolate
White chocolate


    We have included a link to PetMD's “dog chocolate toxicity meter” to help you know how serious your dog’s chocolate ingestion may be.

    Coffee and Tea

    Caffeine can be very dangerous for your dog. Within a couple hours of ingestion your dog could be suffering from mild to severe hyperactivity, vomiting, tremors, elevated heart rate, seizures and even death. Make sure to keep your coffee covered or above your dog's reach as caffeine is a commonly underestimated danger. 

    Cooked Bones

    Cooked bones easily splinter and could cause internal bleeding and intestinal problems, however on the other side, raw uncooked bones are perfectly healthy for your dogs teeth and nutrition. 

    Corn on the Cob

    Corn itself doesn't pose much of a problem, however when the cob itself is ingested it can cause intestinal blockage and is a choking hazard. Simply cut the corn off and dispose of the cob before feeding it to your dog.

    Fat Trimmings

    Pancreatitis has been linked to ingestion of both cooked and uncooked fat trimmings.


    Garlic directly attacks and kills bacteria in your dog, including red blood cells, which can cause anemia. Garlic in small amounts is not as dangerous and is even used for flea treatment, but be careful not to let it slip into your dog's bowl too often. 

    Grapes and Raisins

    Grapes are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts. As little as 1-2 grapes for a 10 lb dog could be fatal. Keep grapes and raisins far, far away from your pup.

    Human Vitamins

    You should not be giving your dog your human vitamin supplements for a simple reason; they are for humans. Multi-vitamins and prenatal vitamins specifically contain large amounts of iron which can cause toxicity. Call your vet immediately if your dog has ingested prenatal vitamins.


    Liver contains high amounts of vitamin A which affects your puppy's muscle and bone development. With that said, small amounts of liver can be great for your dog's health.

    Macadamia Nuts

    Macadamia nuts are extremely toxic to dogs and even lethal. Even small amounts can cause vomiting, weak muscles and tremors. Symptoms can be exacerbated if the macadamia nuts were eaten with chocolate, which is often the case. Call your vet immediately if your dog has ingested macadamia nuts.

    Milk and Dairy Products

    Large amounts of dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt can cause digestive issues and trigger food allergies. Small amounts here and there shouldn't be much of a problem other than some occasional gas.

    Onions and Chives

    Onions contain sulfoxides (thiosulphate) and disulfides which damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Whether raw, cooked or powered, onions and chives should be kept out of your pets diet.

    Peach and Plum Pits

    Both peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is very toxic to both you and your pet. Always make sure to cut out and dispose of the pits so your dog's nose and curiosity don't get the worst of them. 

    Raw Fish or Meat

    By cooking a fish you remove the parasites within. By feeding your dog raw fish these parasites can cause "salmon poisoning disease" or what's known as "fish disease", characterized by fever, vomiting and enlarged lymph nodes. Raw meats and fish also contain varying types of bacteria which cause food poisoning and intestinal discomfort. Always cook your meats before feeding your pup. 

    Rhubarb & Tomato Leaves

    Rhubarb and tomato leaves contain oxalates which can cause the following; weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, lethargy, and bloody urine.


    Too much salt is equally bad for your pet as it is for you, and even worse. Sodium ion poisoning can cause diarrhea, tremors, vomiting, increased temperature, seizures, and even death. Always take an extra second to dust the salt of your food before offering it up as a snack. 


    Similar to humans, high sugar intake can cause dental problems, diabetes and obesity in your dog as well. This goes for all sugars, but specifically the commonly found high fructose corn syrup is the worst. It's best to limit the amount of sugary treats you give your pup, or switch to an organic sugar-free alternative.


    If you are a tobacco user you should make sure not to leave your cigarette or chewing tobacco laying around for your curious pup. Nicotine found in tobacco can be lethal to your dog. Symptoms include tremors, vomiting, abnormal heart rate and weakness and can surface as early as 1 hour after ingestion. 


    Xylitol is a sugar found in many candies, gums, baked goods and other sugar-substituted items. It is boasted as better for your teeth than traditional sugars and appears to be non-toxic to humans, but is extremely dangerous for canines. Even small amounts can cause seizures, liver failure and death.


    Yeast is dangerous for your dog because it expands within it's stomach and can even cause rupturing of stomach and intestines. Another danger is presented as yeast rises alcohol is created which then can lead to alcohol poisoning. 


    Other Foods To Keep Out Of Your Dog's Reach

    Some other items that you should be pretty suspect about are:

    Human Snacks

    Many of the foods listed above like onion and garlic powder, raisins, macadamia nuts or chocolate find their way into our favorite snacks like cookies or chips.

    Leftovers/Table Scraps

    Feeding your dog leftovers daily will cause malnutrition and lead to various complications. When you do give them a treat, always make sure to take out any bones and trim down the fat on meats and dispose of any pits or cores of fruits.

    Old Food

    Bacteria in spoiled food contains many toxins that can cause a wide range of illnesses so this one should be pretty obvious. Your dog loves the smells and tastes of fresh food just like you!


    When To Call Your Vet

    If your dog is avoiding you or acting strangely they could be experiencing symptoms including lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, tremors, etc. If you suspect they may have consumed something toxic, please seek a veterinarian immediately. In serious cases time is of the essence.

    In Case Of Emergency

    If you cannot reach your veterinarian you should contact:
    Use Vet Locator to find your local animal emergency clinic
    The Animal Poison Hotline at (888) 232-8870
    ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.


    We aim to educate pet owners around the world to ensure all dogs are healthy and safe. Sign up for our newsletter to receive useful pet information for your companion.

    Previous article Does Having A Pet Increase Happiness?

    Leave a comment

    Comments must be approved before appearing

    * Required fields