Compare healthy food choices for your dog

Foods Dogs Can’t Eat-29 Human Foods to Avoid for Your Dog!

Have you ever wondered what you absolutely should not feed your dog and consequences of such. Stay tuned here for the facts, the potential consequences of bad foods for your dog.
Dog with human food to choose from

We all have seen how our pets will eat just about anything we humans feed them at home. Unfortunately, dogs do not safely digest all human food and are at risk of mild to serious health conditions due to toxicity. Potential organ damage such as kidney failure, liver failure, pancreatitis, or even death can result from some toxic human foods dogs will eat. Below, I go over the list of dangerous human foods dogs can’t eat.

1-Chocolate-foods dogs can’t eat!

Chocolate is very high on the list of common toxic poisoning of dogs from human foods. Theobromine and caffeine are two toxic ingredients found in chocolate that dogs are not able to metabolize very well. 

The darker and more bitter chocolates contain the highest concentrations of these poisonous agents.

  • Baking and gourmet dark chocolate contain a highly toxic dose of 130-450mg of theobromine per ounce.
  • Milk chocolate contains roughly 44-58mg per ounce
  • White chocolate has .25 mg pf theobromine which causes a low incidence of poisoning
  • For example, a 50lb dog ingesting only 1 ounce of bakers’ chocolate could show symptoms of poisoning
  • The same 50lb dog ingesting 9 ounces of milk chocolate would similarly show potential symptoms of poisoning

Possible symptoms of “chocolate poisoning” include

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • high blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • hyperactivity
  • panting
  • seizures
  • possible death

2-Coffee, Tea, and soft drinks CONTAINING CAFFEINE

Similar to chocolate, we find coffee, tea and soft drinks with CAFFEINE in them are dangerous for dogs. The subset here includes whole coffee beans, brewed coffee, tea leaves, and also coffee grounds


The toxic substance in alcohol for dogs is “ethanol”. The more ethanol present in the drink, the greater the poisoning level. 

Ethanol is present in “bread dough” so avoid having your dog get a bite of such. Symptoms of dogs with alcohol poisoning include

  • central nervous system depression
  • inhibited motor function
  • vomiting
  • coma
  • liver failure
  • death


I’m sure you have heard of artificial sweeteners; yes they are very dangerous to canines. This toxic substance to dogs is considered a “sugar alcohol” which is a sugar substitute in many human foods. A definite for “foods dogs can’t eat”.

Other terms it goes by are “birch sugar” or “wood sugar”.

Low-calorie artificial sweeteners are contained in chewing gum, candy, toothpaste, and multiple sweets products. Chewing gum is the main occurrence of xylitol poisoning, about 80 percent of cases involving xylitol. The list goes on!

  • breath mints
  • baked goods
  • cough syrup
  • chewable vitamins(adult and children products)
  • mouthwash
  • human toothpaste(pet toothpaste should be ok)
  • some peanut butter and nut butter
  • over the counter medications
  • dietary supplements
  • sugar-free desserts and ice cream

Perhaps a good way to confirm whether a product contains xylitol for a sugar-free item is to look at the “nutrition facts” label on every consumer food product. (this is the same label that lists “calories, total fat, total carbohydrates, etc.” “Xylitol” can be listed as sugar alcohol.

Unfortunately for our canine friends, xylitol is very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream causing a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

 As you might guess, dangerous low-blood sugar levels ensue(hypoglycemia) and liver failure. Symptoms may include

  • vomiting 
  • coordination issues
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • collapse
  • seizures 

It only can take 10 to 60 minutes from ingesting this dangerous toxin, where the life-threatening low-blood sugar condition will result, in a potentially life-threatening condition.

 Immediate veterinary care is vital to survival. In some cases, significant symptoms may not be present for 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. Hospitalization could be required for monitoring your dog

5-Grapes and Raisins

Grapes, raisins, and currants are never seen as ingredients in dog food for good reason. Classified as fruit, include them as highly toxic substances to dogs and certain to cause an upset stomach.

4 or 5 grapes eaten by a small dog are enough for toxic poisoning. The exact cause is not fully understood how this human food negatively affects canines.

There does not appear to be a set rule of how much grapes and raisins can get a dog sick. Individual sensitivity varies among dogs where a few grapes could poison one dog while it would take a higher amount of this fruit to affect another dog.

Without prompt veterinary treatment, permanent kidney damage can occur. Treatment such as induced vomiting and giving activated charcoal by the vet is a common medical procedure to block the toxins.

6-High-Salt Foods

Being an owner of 3 dogs, I just hate reading news articles where dogs playing in the ocean died or were severely poisoned by drinking salty water from the ocean. The list of common sources of high salt exposure to dogs:

  • Play-dough
  • Soy sauce
  • Table salt
  • Ocean water

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions

7-Gum and Candy

As mentioned previously under Xylitol poisoning, it should be added here that “gum and candy” are dangerous to a dog’s diet due to possible choking or intestinal blockage. Candies are a common cause involving fractures of a dog’s teeth.

8-Yeast Dough

Besides the alcohol and ethanol present in the raw dough, the uncooked bread dough in a dog’s stomach will expand causing gas, bloating, and pain. Worst case scenario, the stomach will twist or intestines rupture.

9-Milk and Dairy

As you probably can guess here, like some humans, lactose intolerance is an issue for dogs. Most dogs do not have enough “lactase” enzyme to digest efficiently, “milk and dairy products”

dog eating ice cream cone

A dairy product like cottage cheese and other cheeses, that are higher in protein and fat, but lower in carbs(lactose) digest easier with some dogs. Ideally, a dog’s diet should refrain from high-fat foods, so cheese should be fed in moderation to your dog(s).

10-Nuts(especially Macadamia nuts)

The problem with nuts is the high concentration of oils and fats.

Macadamia nuts are the number one toxic substance not to feed your dog. Serious health conditions occur which is not completely understood. Symptoms of Macadamia nut poisoning include 

  • vomiting
  • ataxia(loss of control of body movements)
  • weakness
  • hyperthermia(highly elevated body temperature)
  • depression

Macadamia nuts are found in

  • baked goods like cakes
  • cookies
  • muffins
  • trail mix

Even a very small amount of nuts can poison a dog! Macadamia nuts are the worst in the family of nuts to give a dog, however other nuts can cause symptoms like

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • damage to the pancreas(pancreatitis)

11-Fatty Foods

A large amount of fat is unhealthy in a dog’s diet and Pancreatitis is a risk factor for your dog. Overweight dogs should not be on a high-fat diet. Excessive fat translates to weight gain.

Dogs do well-using fat for energy as one can see high-fat content in commercial dog food. However, consistency is an issue here as sudden changes in either the quantity or type of fat can be unhealthy for your dog.

Fatty human foods that are unhealthy are

  • bacon
  • sausage
  • ribs
  • fried fast foods
  • pork


Many pet foods have low quantities of “citric acid” which functions as a “natural preservative” to keep the pet food fresh. The small amounts here are of no concern to your dog’s health

However, citrus human food items like Lemons, Grapefruit, or Oranges have way too much “citric acid” which can get a dog very sick. Symptoms occur such as 

  • central nervous system depression
  • upset stomach

13-Raw Meat, Raw Egg, and Raw Bone

All of the above, if not cooked, should not be fed to a dog due to possible parasite exposure. I have heard other opinions of giving a dog a raw meat diet, which is controversial in my opinion.

E Coli and salmonella are two germs present in raw meat that, in large enough quantity, can cause harm to pet owners handling these products as well as harm to your dog. Be on the safe side by feeding your dog cooked bones as a healthy treat.

Even though dogs love their bones, the risk of bones splintering, forming sharp pieces can rupture your dog’s digestive tract or your dog can choke on them. I would keep a close eye on your dog chewing bones if you choose to feed them bones.

14-Onions, Garlic, and Chives

Onions could cause anemia in dogs, specifically called “Heinz Anemia“. Heinz Anemia causes low red blood cell count and damage to kidney function. Similar culprits are garlic or chives. 

Symptoms of Heinz Anemia include

  • pale gums
  • heartbeat irregularity
  • fatigue
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • bloody urine

Onions and garlic in raw form are most toxic to dogs, however, cooked forms should be avoided also. Such toxic poisoning will require blood transfusions and IV fluid treatment by your vet


Avocados contain a toxic ingredient called “Persin” which is present in the skin and pit portion of the Avacado. Too risky to take a chance, as this toxin will cause vomiting and severe diarrhea in dogs at high doses.

16-Fruit Seeds and Pits

There are certain seeds or pits in fruit that may contain Cyanide, the same deadly poison that affects humans. We know not to chew on the hard pits, but dogs won’t hesitate. 

Examples of these fruits include

  • apples
  • peaches
  • apricots
  • plums
  • cherries

17-Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Never feed a dog “raw potato“. A similar vegetable is the “tomato” where both of these vegetables contain solanine, which is toxic to some dogs.

Can we feed our dogs potatoes? Yes, but with certain precautions such as baking or boiling before serving. Unhealthy forms of potatoes are

  • potatoes fried in oil
  • french fries
  • potato chips
  • potatoes with butter or salt

Dogs who are diabetic should not be fed potatoes, period. Potatoes are converted to sugar which raises blood sugar levels.

Sweet potatoes are a more nutritious alternative. They contain good stuff like

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin C
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • iron

Give your dog a small amount, for the first time, of any potato to see how well digestion occurs.


There is too much of a good thing. Liver has lots of Vitamin A which, in excess, can harm a dog’s bones and cause muscle damage. Liver can only be fed to dogs in small quantities.

19-Moldy or Spoiled Foods

Seems sort of obvious here. Dangerous toxins or bacteria present can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Avoid this risk to your dog’s health

20-Baby Food

Not good for dogs. Onion powder and garlic powder are included in some baby foods which can damage red blood cells. Higher quantities of baby food fed to dogs can result in nutritional imbalance.

21-Raw Eggs

Risk of bacteria such as salmonella 

Contain avid which inhibits the absorption of biotin. Biotin is an important B vitamin that involves the utilization of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids.

Cooked eggs are healthy for your dog, in moderation. Feed the cooked eggs in their entire product form, both egg white, and yolk.

22-Raw Fish

Again the magic word here is “raw” as this form of food can be infested with harmful bacteria and parasites.

Uncooked fish can cause a thiamine imbalance which can lead to loss of appetite, seizures, and death.

23-Fats in excessive amounts

It will put your dog’s vital organ, the pancreas at risk for pancreatitis which regulates blood sugar.

24-Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salts

If ingested in large quantities, an electrolyte imbalance can develop leading to loss of muscle control and heart attack.


Unfortunately, mushrooms can contain toxins that cause kidney and liver damage


Not good for your dog. Ingestion may lead to tremors, seizures, and nervous system abnormalities


Avoid all vitamin products that contain Iron. Iron can be harmful to dogs causing digestive tract damage to the stomach, intestinal lining, and other organs.


It is well-advised to avoid your dog eating this fruit because the seeds and pit can cause intestinal blockage and enteritis.


Yes, the same ingredient used to make foods and beer is very toxic to dogs. Symptoms of hop poisoning

  • heavy panting
  • heart rate increase
  • fever
  • seizures
  • death
22 Foods Dangerous for Dogs to Eat
Check out this list of foods potentially dangerous to your dog’s health



<p><strong>Please include attribution to with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=''><img src='' alt='22 Foods Dogs Can't Eat' 540px border='0' /></a></p>