Dogs might love to beg for human foods, but not all human foods agree with them. In fact, some of the foods that we eat can actually be toxic for our pets. The ways that dogs’ bodies metabolize food are very different from how human bodies do so, and understanding that some foods can hurt your pup is a good way to keep him or her safe.
While the foods discussed below are not an exhaustive list of those that can hurt your pet, they are some of the most common. If you have any questions about whether or not a food is safe and you don’t see it on this list, you should err on the side of caution.
The Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog
There are a whole host of foods that your dog can’t eat and ones that are best for them, so it’s good to familiarize yourself not only with which foods these might be, but also with why your dog should avoid them. Fortunately, there’s a good explanation for each food on this list.
No, your dog shouldn’t drink. Not only can your dog get intoxicated from alcohol, but he or she can encounter all kinds of health problems after ingesting a little too much.
Apple seeds actually contain a toxic chemical that turns into cyanide upon digestion. While it’s not enough to kill your dog on its own, eating too many seeds can cause the cyanide to build up and lead to some toxic effects.
Not only is the avocado’s pit a choking hazard for most dogs, but the fruit itself contains a chemical called persin that can make your dog sick. Though the latter problems should certainly be monitored, you do need to contact your vet immediately if you think your dog has swallowed an avocado pit.
Surprisingly, while cat food is often perfectly fine, in some cases is can be bad for your dog. It contains fat levels that can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, to say nothing of more typical stomach problems.
Most people are fairly aware of the fact that chocolate can be dangerous for your dog. Chocolate has an awful impact on a dog’s nervous system, which can lead to some serious side effects. Even worse, the caffeine in chocolate can speed up your dog’s heart rate and lead to severe cardiac issues.
Coffee and Tea
Since the caffeine in coffee is dangerous for dogs, it makes sense that the caffeine in coffee and tea would have a similar impact on your pet. Coffee and tea can lead to a number of issues that range from hyperactivity and restlessness to vomiting, seizures, and even death. As such, you should keep all of these substances away from your dog.
It’s not what’s in the bones that are a problem, but rather how they shatter. Cooked bones break easily, which can lead to splinters that can cause internal bleeding when swallowed. If you are going to give your dog a bone, make sure that it is raw.
Corn on the Cob
While corn itself is fine, if a little hard to digest, you definitely want to avoid giving your dog corn on the cob. An excited dog can easily eat the cob, which is both a choking hazard and has the potential to block up your dog’s GI tract. If you must give your dog corn, make sure it is off the cob.
Garlic isn’t a food that dogs should eat very often. Much like onions (also on the list), garlic can cause dogs to become anemic. Oddly enough, though, garlic can be a great aid in getting rid of fleas on your dog.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes (and their dried form, raisins), are awful for dogs. While many of the items on this list are only dangerous in large amounts, grapes can cause kidney failure even if your dog only eats a few of them. You should absolutely keep grapes and raisins from your dog and call your vet if he or she gets into either food.
Don’t let your dog near anything with hops in it. Hops are so toxic to dogs that in worst-case scenarios, they can lead to death.
The liver is a food that’s full of Vitamin A. While this is great for humans, it means that it can cause some real problems for your dog’s muscular and skeletal systems. As such, you should only let your dogs have liver in very small amounts.
Macadamia is another one of those incredibly lethal substances. When combined with chocolate, though, it can be fatal even more quickly. As such, you should avoid letting your dog eat even foods that have touched these nuts.
Milk and Dairy
No, dairy won’t kill your dog. It will, however, give your dog some very real digestive issues. If you’re not a fan of sick stomachs and excess flatulence, you’ll definitely want to go easy on any dairy products. If you give your dog too much of any dairy product, though, you might also find yourself dealing with some nasty food allergies.
Onions are in the small list of foods that can cause dogs major health problems even in small accounts. Because they contain thiosulphate and disulfides, they can actually hurt your dog’s red blood cells. As such, you should keep onions in all their forms away from your pets.
The good news is that you can give your dog bell peppers from time to time. Though dogs aren’t necessarily geared to digest them that easily, they can be a great snack that’s full of vitamins. With that said, dogs definitely can’t handle the hotter peppers and even mild peppers like bell peppers need to be chopped up small and given in moderation.
Don’t give your dog the pits from fruits like peaches, persimmons, or plumbs. These pits not only contain cyanide, but they also cause some severe intestinal problems. As such, you should make sure that your dogs generally stay away from these fruits if they’re still whole.
Any Raw Meat, Poultry, or Fish
The truth is that while dogs might be designed to eat meat and fish, raw meat and fish aren’t always safe for them. The problem here has to do with the bacteria and parasites that these foods might carry, which can lead to some severe health problems in dogs. Dogs are more than capable of eating the cooked versions of these foods, at least as long as you remove the bones.
Note that you can feed your dog any raw meat that’s designed to be consumed raw. It should generally be packaged so that it can’t be contaminated and it should be labeled as safe for raw consumption.
Tomato leaves (and rhubarb leaves, for that matter), contain a compound that can cause some major health problems for dogs. These issues are all serious enough that the leave should be avoided entirely.
Salt is less healthy for dogs than you might think. Too much salt can poison your dog, which can lead to issues as varied as diarrhea and seizures. As such, you should make sure to limit your dog’s salt intake as much as possible.
Sugar is another substance that isn’t great for your dog. Sugar’s in more human foods than you might imagine, and it’s as bad for dogs as it is tasty. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes in dogs, to say nothing of other problems like obesity or dental damage.
Xylitol is quite dangerous for dogs. It’s unfortunately found as a sugar substitute in a whole host of items and it is quite toxic. While humans might like it, dogs can end up with liver failure, seizures, and sometimes even death if they ingest this compound. Always check any food you give your dogs to make sure that it doesn’t contain this ingredient.
Yeast continues to rise if it gets into a dog’s stomach. If your dog ingests a little, he or she will get gassy and feel uncomfortable. If he or she ingests too much, you could look at his or her intestines rupturing. In addition, yeast ferments – and that means your dog could get alcohol poisoning from this substance. As such, you should never feed your dog anything that contains active yeast.
What If Your Dog Eats One of These Foods?
The first step is to stop and observe. In some cases, the food will do little more than cause your discomfort. In others, though, you should definitely call your vet. If your dog is acting unusual, get him or her into the vet as soon as you can so that your vet can check to see if his or her symptoms are in line with those that are common after eating one of these foods.
If you can’t get your vet, it’s a good idea to get a dog to an emergency clinic. Doing so will allow you to figure out your next move. If time is of the essence, though, you’ll want to contact an animal poison hotline to figure out if you need to induce vomiting in your dog. Note that this isn’t always the right choice and that doing so unnecessarily can hurt your dog.
In some cases, you may even have to take your dog in for surgery. As such, it’s important to remember that prevention should always be your goal. If you can keep your dog from eating something that can hurt him, you won’t have to worry so much about what to do in an emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What food is poisonous to dogs?
If you’re looking for foods that are strictly toxic to dogs, you’ll be looking at a shortlist. Included on this list are apple seeds, garlic, onions, peach pits, and grapes among other foods. These foods all have major impacts on your dog’s body and they can all lead to death. With that said, there are also many foods that can cause your dog harm that isn’t necessarily poisonous but rather can cause problems when consumed too often or in large amounts.
2. What are dogs allowed to eat?
Dogs can eat many things. Lean meats, cooked fish, many fruits and vegetables, and white rice are all great for dogs. The best things for dogs to eat, though, are those foods that are made specifically for dogs. It’s almost impossible to find anything out there that’s going to be quite as good for your dog’s health as good dog food that’s designed with pet health in mind. Even good human foods should only be a sometimes treat for dogs, and eating them too often can cause them to gain weight and have other health problems.
3. What are dogs not allowed to eat?
There’s a long list of foods that dogs aren’t allowed to eat. The most pressing are foods that contain onions, garlic, grapes, or xylitol. Also important to avoid are raw fish, cooked bones, and apple seeds. Even peach pits are good to avoid, as are a variety of other foods like raw bread dough and even tomato leaves. As a rule, though, it’s important to avoid giving your dog too much food from the table as doing so will not only cause your dog to gain weight, but it will put your dog in danger of consuming unknown ingredients that could cause major health problems for him or her.
4. What fruits can dogs not eat?
The only fruit that dogs must outright avoid is grapes. Grapes are highly toxic to dogs and can lead to long-term damage even if dogs only eat a few grapes. While there are other fruits like apples and peaches that should be carefully cut up so that the dogs don’t accidentally eat the seeds or the pits, the truth is that the only fruit that needs to be completely avoided because of its high level of toxicity remains grapes.