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10 Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on March 7, 2017

It can be difficult to remember everything that’s toxic for dogs to ingest, so hopefully we can help refresh your brain a little bit. For an added reminder and to let others know that might be staying at your home, our handy Toxic Dog Foods refrigerator magnet is a great way to keep this information easily accessible. Still, it’s important to understand the foods and ingredients that should be avoided when it comes to feeding your dog.

#1 – Chocolate

Chocolate is the obvious ingredient that most owners are knowledgeable about. This is good, because chocolate can be very toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to ingest. This is because chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine – both ingredients that are toxic to dogs. These ingredients in excess can be fatal, so seek veterinary attention right away if your dog eats any chocolate.

Image source: vanderlaan.fotografeert | Flickr

#2 – Caffeine

Caffeine, mostly found in coffees and teas, is a substance that is toxic to dogs. Dogs are more sensitive to the affects of this chemical than humans are and small amounts can become dangerous. Moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea leaves, energy drinks or caffeinated medications can be quickly fatal to some dogs.

#3 – Grapes & Raisins

Many owners claim to give their dogs grapes and raisins without issue, but too much can be toxic and it is advised to avoid feeding them. Their toxicity is actually not well understood and does not seem to be dose-dependent, meaning small amounts can be severe for one dog while large amounts might do no damage to another. Ingestion can lead to serious kidney failure, however, and should not be on your list of people snacks to share.

#4 – Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and toothpaste, to name a few. Ingestion has resulted in liver failure and severely low blood sugar and can be fatal in dogs of any size. It’s best to keep these items out of reach of our dogs, as stealing chewing gum and mints out of purses and pockets is something commonly done by many pets.


Image sourceL Tricia | Flickr

#5 – Onions, Chives & Leeks

The onion family has been shown to be dangerous for our dogs to ingest. Sensitivity to these ingredients seems to vary between breeds, but as a whole they should be avoided.

#6 – Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are moderately toxic to our dogs and should be avoided. Depending on the amount ingested, the symptoms can range from mild vomiting to temporary paralysis. Although the toxic mechanism in these nuts is unknown at this time, it’s suspected to interfere with nerve function.

#7 – Salt

Dogs are omnivores, but roughly 80% of their diet consists of meats. Meat is a very salty food, so any extra salt is typically going to be unnecessary and even potentially dangerous to dogs. In fact, dogs can actually succumb to salt poisoning should they ingest too much at one time. If left untreated, the condition can be potentially fatal.

#8 – Raw Yeast Dough

When yeast dough is eaten, the warmth of the stomach encourages the yeast to rise. An expanding stomach may cause pressure on the diaphragm, which would lead to difficulty breathing. If a dog has eaten yeast dough, monitor him carefully if the stomach becomes swollen contact the vet.

Image source: Bryce Bradford | Flickr

#9 – Alcohol

Owners who are sharing their daily libations with their pup bring the risk of tremors, loss of coordination and in extreme cases may send a dog into a coma or possible death. When in doubt, don’t share. Alcohol is not something dogs should consume and not something owners should consider offering their dogs. Just like people, dogs can be poisoned by alcohol.

#10 – Moldy Food

It should be common sense not to offer dogs moldy food as the dangers are the same for them as they are for us. If you have a dog that enjoys digging in the trash, it’s best to curb this desire so that your dog doesn’t pull out the moldy food you’ve tossed in the garbage. Mold can cause vomiting, tremors, seizures and more.

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