19 Toxic Foods Never to Give Your Dog

Top 20 Toxic Foods For Dogs

We as pet parents find it hard to resist those puppy dog eyes especially when we sit at the dining table and our beloved pooch whines to get a taste off our dinner plate. Sometimes we may also indulge by giving them small scraps as treats. However, pets have different nutritional needs when we compare them to us humans, and feeding them certain food items is causing them more harm than we can expect.

The general thumb rule of our pet’s diet is that only 10% of our pet’s diet must comprise any human food or treats. While many foods are not harmful to our dogs, certain foods such as those we have listed below are deadly. 

Below is an overview of toxic food for dogs:

1. Alcohol, spirits, and wine 

Dogs who have ingested alcohol can show toxicity symptoms in 30 minutes. The liver of dogs are not capable of breaking down alcohol. It can cause decreased body temperature and blood pressure, seizures, and respiratory failure. There are 4 main hazards of alcohol poisoning which are seen in dogs – low blood glucose levels, metabolic acidosis, central nervous system impairment and gut distress. Any amount of alcohol ingestion can be dangerous and debilitating.

2. Artificial sweeteners (Xylitol)

Sugar substitutes have been present in a large variety of food items in the recent past to cut down the calories present in food like gums, bakery products, and desserts. In dogs, consumption of xylitol stimulates the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin resulting in a rapid and dangerous drop in blood sugar. Vomiting, lethargy, and other symptoms can occur 24 hours later as well.

3. Avocado

A toxin called persin, present in avocado leaf, tree, bark, and fruit can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs. Though the flesh/pulp contains comparatively lesser amounts of persin, it must never be fed to dogs. The so-called healthy fat can also put your pooch at risk of pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of pancreas due to its high fat content. 

4. Blue cheese

Blue cheese such as Stilton is a type of cheese made from the strain Penicillium. It has a strong and distinct smell and taste. Dogs are sensitive to this strain required to make blue cheese. It can lead to vomiting, fever, and seizures. The more the blue cheese our doggy consumes, the higher the risk.

5. Caffeine

Caffeine is not limited to coffee. It is also present in chocolates, medicines, energy drinks etc. Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine. It is important to dispose of coffee grounds carefully, out of reach of your pet. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea can be noticed 30 minutes to 1 hour after consumption

6. Chocolate

Chocolates contain two methylxanthine compounds – Theobromine and caffeine. Dark chocolates are especially more deadly than milk and white chocolates. They can affect the nervous system and lead to abnormal heart beat, seizures, and muscle tremors. The treatment will depend on the quantity and recency of the chocolate consumed.

7. Cooked bones

Cooked bones can shatter and splinter when consumed. These small pieces can get stuck and block the airway. Some sharp pieces may puncture and cut into the rectum and cause constipation and severe pain. It may restrict the flow of the digested food through the gastrointestinal tract.

8. Macadamia nuts

Toxicity is not life threatening but consuming six or more macadamia nuts can result in muscle tremors, fatigue, hind leg weakness, and fever. The minimum toxic dose is 1 nut/Kg body weight. Cakes, cookies, desserts, trail mixes may contain this toxic substance in cumulative with other toxic ingredients such as chocolates, xylitol, raisins making the toxicity even more serious etc. Storing and proper disposal of such food products is essential.

9. Milk and milk products

Cow’s milk and milk products in particular are safe to consume in tiny quantities. We are conditioned to feed our dog, milk and milk products such as ice cream on a hot summer day. It is a potential allergen and can stimulate an upset tummy, skin redness and severe itching. Puppies when nursing have abundant enzyme lactase, to digest lactose. While growing up, the production of this enzyme decreases after weaning. However, goat’s milk or camel milk occasionally can be beneficial for your dog.

10. Fat trimmings

Fat trimmed from cooked and uncooked animal meat can cause pancreatitis in your pet depending on the frequency and quantity. The risks of cooked fat are – digestive upset and excessive weight gain. The age, breed of the dog, existing medical conditions, quantity of fat ingested and the recipe are influencing factors of the intensity.

11. Garlic, onion, chives

They belong to the allium family of plant classification. They can cause symptoms of toxicity when consumed in minute amounts in powdered form or fresh as well. The first sign of poisoning is vomiting, fatigue, pale gums, and discoloured urine. It may also lead to anaemia and Red blood cell damage.

12. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a complex food group, store bought mushrooms are not toxic to dogs. Only a small number of mushroom species are safe for consumption. Wild mushrooms are harmful to humans and dogs alike. It is important to keep an eye on what your dog eats during walks and other adventures. Unlike popular beliefs, dogs are not intuitive of what food is toxic to them. The symptoms of mushroom poisoning are – Vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice, salivation, weakness, liver failure, seizures and worst case coma, death.

13. Grapes and raisins

There is insufficient research to point out the exact toxin responsible for toxicity caused by grapes and raisins. Tartaric acid and tannins are possible toxicity-causing pigments. There are two stages of poisoning. The first stage is characterised by lethargy, no appetite, heavy breathing and dehydration. The last and final stage is kidney failure.

14. Nutmeg

Myristicin is a harmful substance present in nutmeg seeds. It can cause high blood pressure, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, seizures, and sticky saliva. The toxic threshold is 5 grams in dogs. Inhaling nutmeg powder can also damage the lungs in dogs.

15. Raw potatoes

Avoid giving your dogs potato skins, green, uncooked and raw potatoes. White raw potatoes contain solanine which can lead to gastro-intestinal symptoms. Cooking can reduce the effect of solanine.  However while cooking for your pooch, do not add certain ingredients like onion, garlic, butter, salt. Plain cooked or steamed potatoes are healthy.

16. Rhubarb

Rhubarb offers many nutritional benefits for humans but in terms of dogs, the stem as well as leaf is poisonous since they contain soluble oxalate crystals which when consumed in large quantities can result in kidney failure, excessive drooling, salivation and swollen tongue. Most pets spit it out owing to its sour taste but it is still mildly toxic.

17. Salt

Sodium chloride present in salt, helps in normal functioning of the organ system and regulating body fluids but high amounts of salt can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, swelling of the brain, muscle cramps, and stiffness of joints. In some cases, it can lead to heart failure and death. Dog food must contain less than 0.3% of sodium for safe consumption. So, it is important to read dog food labels.

18. Chillies and peppers

Chillies and peppers contain capsaicin. It can cause a burning sensation to your dog’s mouth and throat. Accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms like an upset tummy and vomiting needless to say. It is important to understand your dog’s sense of taste and observe any side effects of spice.

19. Raw bread dough

Raw dough contains yeast and sugar which may continue fermentation in the stomach producing alcohol. It can result in retching, depression, elevated heart rate, ataxia and a bloated stomach. Immediate treatment can help your pooch. It is important to keep raw dough away from pooches.

This blog may have helped you understand and identify any of the signs and symptoms of toxicity you may observe in your beloved dog. If you identify proof that your dog has ingested any of these toxic substances, contact your veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination and conduct necessary blood tests to confirm the diagnosis of the poisoning. 

Poisoning caused by these substances can constitute a medical emergency, if immediate action is not taken the poisoning can lead to death. The size of the dog does influence the seriousness of poisoning. For example: there is a major difference between a Saint Bernard consuming a piece of chocolate and a Teacup Pomeranian. But, whatever may be the case it is of crucial importance to contact the veterinarian immediately.

Our pets make our life whole and we would not want even the tiniest of inconvenience to them due to our utter negligence. We must safeguard them with a kind heart and a proactive mindset.


Clinical Dietitian, Simplyweight

The London Obesity & Endocrine Clinic specialises in Weight Loss and Endocrine disorders at the Specialist Weight Loss Centre in Chennai, India. We offer face to face and virtual consultations with our specialist clinical lead, Dr Rajeswaran, who has 25+ years experience in this field. We support people with Obesity related medical conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver, Infertility, Erectile Dysfunction, and Endocrine disorders like Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, PCOD, Hirsutism, Adrenal Dysfunction, Menopause, Pituitary problems and Sexual Dysfunction. Our services predominantly cover major cities in India including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune. Many of our patients say that we are the best weight loss clinic or slimming centre in Chennai. We also offer aesthetic treatments including but not limited to: lymphatic drainage, deep tissue massage, Hydrafacial for treating skin conditions such as acne, sun damage and to help brighten the skin, CM Slim for muscle building and fat reduction, LED light therapy (including red light therapy) and much more. In addition,  we offer health checkups such as our Metabolic Master Health Checkup, diabetes health checkups, genetic testing and VO₂ Max testing for fitness and cardiorespiratory health. All of our aesthetics treatments and Bespoke Weight Management Plans are non-surgical solutions for weight loss and wellness. We have newly launched a Bespoke Wedding Weight Loss & Aesthetics Plan for brides & grooms to be. Get in touch to transform your life!

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