After sharing our dog food research and encouraging variety in your dog’s diet, we thought that maybe we should share things that your dog SHOULD NOT eat. Some things on the list are general knowledge but some might surprise you! Some things yo

u would never consider giving your dog, but may be around the house and problematic if your dog would help himself. A dog’s metabolism is quite different from ours, so just because we can eat it, doesn’t mean that the dog can too. If you find yourself wondering if you should give your dog a bite of something, error on the side of caution and don’t until you have a chance to look it up and get the facts.

If you know of others that we failed to mention, please feel free to add to the list.

  • Alcoholic beverages- Just like it affects our liver and brain, so it does to a dog, but just a small quantity can do a lot of damage. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, intoxication, coma, and death. Small dogs will be affected by very small amounts. It isn’t funny to watch a drunken dog – it’s jeopardizing its life.
  • Avocado – The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Yes, there are some dogs food with avocado in them – ask your vet for advice if you are feeding one of them.
  • Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources – Any bone from our kitchen, cooked or raw, can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. Dogs love bones, but give them only sterilized, treated bones sold specifically for dogs, and even then, give under supervision.
  • Cat food – Generally too high in protein and fats, which is probably why dogs seem to love it! Just because they are both our pets, it is not ok to share food between the species.
  • Chocolate – Contains theobromine, or theophylline, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and can be toxic to the heart and nervous systems.
  • Caffeinated beverages – same as chocolate.
  • Fat trimmings – Can cause pancreatitis. We don’t eat it and neither should our dogs.
  • Fish (raw, canned or cooked) – If fed in high amounts or as the only protein, can result in a thiamin deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. Certain kinds of fish such as salmon, trout, and sturgeon can contain a parasite causing a disease that if not treated, can be fatal within 2 weeks. The first signs of illness are vomiting, fever, and big lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking the fish will kill the parasite.
  • Grapes and raisins (and other currants) – Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys and cause kidney failure. Just a small amount can make a dog ill. Repeated vomiting is an early sign. Within a day, the dog will become lethargic and depressed. Keep the fruit bowl out of your dog’s reach.
  • Hops – It is not yet identified what specifically causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death, but keep your dog away from Hops.
  • Human vitamin supplements containing iron – Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
  • Human medications – These are a common source of poisoning in dogs. While many human medications are prescribed for dogs, never give your dog any over-the-counter medicine unless told to do so by your vet. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, found in many pain relievers and other over-the-counter medications, can be deadly for your dog.
  • Kitchen Pantry – Many other items commonly found on kitchen shelves can harm your dog. For instance, baking powder and baking soda are both highly toxic. So are nutmeg and other spices.
  • Macadamia nuts – Contain a toxin that can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle and it can be fatal. As few as 6 raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.
  • Marijuana – Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate. Like alcohol, it is NOT funny to get a dog high.
  • Milk and other dairy products – Dogs don’t digest dairy well. Some dogs may develop diarrhea if given large amounts of dairy products. Dairy products can also cause allergies and itching. A small piece of cheese may be ok as an occasional treat, but don’t overdo it.
  • Moldy, spoiled food and garbage – Dogs may be scavengers but that doesn’t mean they should eat old food or dig in the trash. Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.
  • Mushrooms – Can contain toxins that may affect multiple systems in the body, leading to shock and result in death.
  • Onions and garlic – (raw, cooked, or powder) – Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, and breathlessness. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
  • Persimmons Seeds – can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
  • Pits from peaches and plums – -Can cause obstructions. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs. But humans don’t eat them; dogs do. Dispose of pits properly. If you have a fruit tree in your yard, pick up any fruit that drops from the tree.
  • Raw eggs – Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin. This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
  • Raw meat or fish – May contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Raw potatoes or potato plants – (cooked is ok, sans the butter, sour cream and chives!)
  • Rhubarb leaves – Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
  • Salt -Too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death. No chips and salsa for your dog!
  • Sugary foods – Pretty much the same for dogs as for us. Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes.
  • Table scraps (in large amounts) – not very nutritional so they should never be more than 10% of the diet. Omit meat fat (see above) and bones.
  • Tobacco – The nicotine affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can cause rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
  • Yeast dough – Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
  • Xylitos (artificial sweetener) – Can cause very low blood sugar, which can result in vomiting, weakness and collapse. In high doses can cause liver failure. Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, the dog may have seizures. Liver failure can occur within just a few days.

My Dog DID Eat THAT! What to do…..

Dogs will be dogs, so in the event that yours eats something he shouldn’t, call your vet, local emergency clinic or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) right away. Keep these numbers next to your phone so you aren’t hunting for them in case of an emergency.

For more information – there are some great web sites out there that go into much detail about the effects of the items mentioned above, including toxic doses, signs, action to take and treatment. Fosters and Smith as well as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center are two good sources of free information.





Fosters and Smith, 2011. Foods to avoid feeding your dog.