While some dogs are finicky eaters, most will consume anything they can find on the floor. While there are some foods that dogs tolerate very well, there are many human foods that are dangerous or even poisonous for them to eat. Dogs do not understand that some of the foods their masters enjoy can actually make them sick. It’s up to owners to learn which foods should never be given to dogs, along with the reasons why. Some human foods are worse for dogs than others. While we’ve included the most dangerous in our list, we’ve also listed those that can lead to mild sickness because it’s important to do everything within your power to keep your dog healthy and happy. We’ve put together a list of the 20 worst foods you could give your dog, so you’ll know what you avoid.
In years gone by, many loving dog owners would sprinkle garlic oil or powder on their dog’s food because of the belief that it helped to rid them of worms and fend off pests including fleas and ticks. There are still many pet owners who hold firmly to this belief, but we’re here to dispel the myth and give you the honest facts. While garlic is healthy for humans, it can eventually lead to the development of anemia in canines. Garlic is found in many different prepared dishes including Italian sauces, meats, casseroles and a variety of prepared foods. This is one very compelling reason not to ever feed your dog table scraps, unless you know that they contain only ingredients that are safe for your dog to ingest. Dogs that develop anemia may show initial signs that include a general malaise and lethargy, accompanied by poor appetite and muscle weakness. Your dog will not have the energy or drive that he once had. Anemia can advance to the point of causing irreparable damage and death.
Garlic and onions are in the same family and they have the same effect upon dogs. You should never allow your dog to eat onions in any form. This includes dried, cooked, powdered or raw onions. Chives and leeks also fall into this category. Avoid allowing your dog to eat foods that are seasoned with any form of onion. While it may seem okay to give them the remains of a hamburger with onion as a treat now and then, repeated ingestion of small amounts over time can make your pup terribly sick and it’s justs not worth the risk. Many of the prepared foods that we purchase for quick meals are heavily loaded with onions or garlic in some form. This is the same for frozen and canned foods as well. In particular, sauces tend to rely on onions for seasoning.
Apricots and Peaches
While the flesh of these fruits are not in themselves dangerous, the pits or stones certainly are. They contain a form of cyanide that is deadly for both animals and humans. Puppies are particularly at risk for poisoning from the stones, because they are avid chewers. It is when the stone is broken that the inner contents release the toxic/poisonous materials that can sicken your dog or even cause death. If you own apricot or peach trees, it’s a good idea to keep your dog away from any fallen fruit that is lying on the ground. Your dog has no idea that he is putting his life on the line by chewing on the stones. If you suspect that your pet has ingested either of these stone types you should call your local vet immediately. If the vet is not available, call the animal poison control center for advice on how to proceed. Although some dogs have passed these stones through the other end without consequence, others have not been as lucky.
Foods products and beverages that contain alcohol are poisonous for dogs. Just leaving a beverage on the ground unattended can be a tragedy waiting to happen. Dogs have a habit of knocking glasses over and lapping up the spillage. Some dogs develop a fast preference for beer or cocktails that contain milk products or sweeteners. The holidays are an exceptionally risky time for canine alcohol poisoning if you allow drinking in your household. When a dog ingests alcohol, it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and the loss of muscle co-ordination. The central nervous system becomes depressed and they may also experience breathing problems, tremors and changes in the acidity of their blood. These may lead to a coma and ultimately death. It’s never a good idea to give your dog alcohol. In some states, this is against the law and offenders may face serious consequences if convicted. It’s wise to inform any member of your household who consumes alcohol that they must keep all alcohol out of the dogs reach. If your dog does ingest alcohol, you should call your pet doctor immediately, or phone the Animal Poison Control Center for advisement about what needs to be done. Hops are another food that are dangerous for dogs to consume. These are used in the brewing of beer.
Chocolate is another human food that is dangerous for dogs to eat. It contains methylxanthines, which are compounds that are not harmful to people, but can be deadly for dogs. The most common ways that dogs develop this type of poisoning are candy bars that are left within reach, and small children who want to share their treats with the dog. Chocolate is found in a variety of different candies, baked goods and beverages. Ingestion of chocolate may cause diarrhea, vomiting, an insatiable thirst, excessive urination, panting, hyperactivity, tremors, disturbances in the rhythm of the heart, seizures and in extreme cases, even death. The mot dangerous form of chocolate is the darker type. This has the highest levels of dangerous compounds. White chocolate has the least, but it is still not a safe human food to feed your dog.
Caffeine has the same dangerous substance as chocolate. It is found in a variety of different foods and beverages. Coffee contains high amounts of caffeine as well as teas that are not the herbal variety. This includes black tea, orange tea and green teas. Chocolate and cocoa also contain caffeine. Leaving coffee within the reach of your dog could result in a tragedy if he laps it up. Drinks that contain milk products and sweeteners present the greatest temptations, but any caffeinated beverage presents a risk. It’s best to keep them all safely out of your pets reach so they are not accessible.
Oranges and Grapefruit
Oranges and grapefruit are yet more human foods that are dangerous for your dog to eat. This includes the fruit, the peels, the seeds and even the leaves and stems of the plants. The danger to your pet is found within the essential oils that are found in oranges and grapefruit. These oils contain citric acid that can cause serious irritation if ingested. In more severe cases, when higher amounts are eaten, the central nervous system can be negatively affected. The fruit itself, minus the seeds and peel do not present a great risk and are only likely to cause an upset stomach.
Lemons and Limes
Lemons and Limes present the same type of threat that oranges and grapefruit do. The fruit, peels, seeds, leaves and stems are all potential irritants and should be avoided. It’s also a good idea to avoid allowing your pet to eat foods or drink beverages that contain citrus fruits of any kind. Specialty breads that contain lemon or orange zest can be particularly bad for your dog. It’s best to avoid any risk and stick to healthy dog treats and a nutritious dog food formula that are made for the nutritional needs of canines.
While humans can enjoy coconut and coconut oil in moderate amounts, the same is true for your dog. If you’re not aware of the hazards of ingesting large amounts of coconut milk/oil, it can cause stomach upset, diarrhea or at a minimum loose stools. There are also large quantities of potassium in coconut water. Humans can get by fine with these products in moderation, and while they are not deadly to pets, it’s never good to give your dog a food that could make him even moderately ill. Some baked goods and prepared foods are made with coconut products so if you’re unsure of the ingredients, pass on sharing any of these snacks with your pup. If you feel guilty and want to give him a treat, then use doggy treats that are made just for him.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins have long been foods that stir up a controversy when it comes to pets. It is unclear exactly what the substances in these foods are that cause the problems, but something in grapes/raisins can lead to kidney failure in pets. More research is needed on the topic. Until more is understood about this, it’s best to keep all products containing raisins and grapes away from your pet.
Macadamia nuts are the large white ones that are commonly used in fruit cakes, cookies and a variety of other baked good. When a dog eats macadamia nuts, it can cause tremors, depression, weakness and vomiting. If you are unsure whether your dog has eaten them, it’s always a good idea to contact the family veterinarian immediately for advisement. If the vet is unavailable you can call the animal poison control center for more advise. In general, if symptoms are going to develop, they will do so within 12 hours of your pet eating the macadamia nuts. Once the symptoms commence, they generally last between twelve to forty eight hours.
Milk and Dairy
Many pet owners believe that giving their pup a warm dish or milk is a treat, but it really isn’t. Dogs do not have the ability to process milk and other dairy products. Ingesting it can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and other gastric disturbances. Foods that are likely to contain dairy products include milk, ice cream, butter, cream cheese, and all kinds of cheeses. Foods that are prepared with milk products should also be avoided. There are so many human foods that contain milk or dairy products that its difficult to know which do and which do not unless you prepare the food from scratch yourself. Some foods that are known to have high levels of dairy include dips, lattes’ pizza, lasagna, cream pies, gravies, puddings, custards, flan, cheesecake, enchiladas and a host of others. When in doubt, pass on feeding your begging pooch a piece of what you’re eating and keep a few doggie treats in your pocket so you can safely share a snack with your buddy.
We’ve listed nuts as a separate category than macadamia nuts. While they are all nuts, macadamias and other types represent different health risks for your dog. Almonds, walnuts and pecans are loaded with fats and oils. These can cause your dog to develop diarrhea or vomiting. There is also a high risk that your dog will develop pancreatitis if they eat a large amount of nuts, or small amounts on a regular basis. This food does represent a significant danger for your pet and it should be strictly avoided. Nuts are found in a variety of baked and prepared foods. You should also beware of the oils from nuts that are often used in prepared foods. It’s a good idea to read the labels if you feel inclined to give your pup a bite of your snack. It’s a better idea to stick with a strict regimen of nutritious dog foods or specially formulated doggy treats that you know will be safe for your furry friend to eat.
While lean, cooked meat that is lightly or not seasoned at all does not present a risk for your dog, raw meat does. E. coli and Salmonella are two common bacteria that are found in undercooked or raw meats of all kinds. Avoid allowing your dog to eat meat unless it is properly prepared. In addition to this, all the fat should be trimmed from the meat because large amounts of unhealthy fats in your dog’s diet can lead to the development of pancreatitis which is painful, and often fatal.
Raw eggs are another food that should never be fed to your dog. Raw eggs contain avidin which is an enzyme that can cause problems with your dog’s coat and skin. It’s perfectly fine to feed your dog eggs that have been fully cooked because cooking effectively neutralizes avidin. Be careful to keep all products that contain raw eggs out of your dog’s reach. A few examples of these are eggnog, raw cookie dough and cake batters.
Bones have long been a popular treat that owners have given to their dogs. There are a few dangers in feeding your dog bones. The major problem is that all bones have the potential for splintering. This makes them razor sharp and they can damage the inside of your dogs mouth along with his throat, stomach and entire digestive system. The second risk is that your dog will choke on them. Small bones are a big threat for becoming stuck in the throat. Even larger bones can break apart and choke a dog. Another risk is when the bones are raw and contain chunks of raw meat, which can introduce harmful bacteria into your dog’s system and make him sick. If there is fat left on the bones, it also has the potential for making him sick. Some commercially processed real bones that are packaged and labeled for pet consumption have been recalled because of the choking risk. Bones that become lodged in the throat or digestive tract can result in misery and suffering for your dog as well as high medical bills. In some cases surgery is required to remove bones that have become lodged in the body and treatment in severe cases is not always successful.
Salt and Salty Snack Foods
Salt is a food that is commonly consumed by humans, in unhealthy amounts. It is found in most processed foods unless they are labeled as salt free. When a dog consumes large amounts of salt, also known as sodium, it can make him excessively thirsty. He will also urinate more than usual which can lead to dehydration. Sodium poisoning in pets can be very serious. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, depression, seizures, fever and in severe cases, death. Foods that contain high amounts of salt are pretzels, potato chips, bacon, ham and other cured meats. Salt is a substance that is simply too common in most human foods. It isn’t good for you in large amounts and it can be deadly for your dog.
Anything with Xylitol
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is used in products that are supposed to be sugar free or low in sugar. It is found in chewing gum, baked goods, toothpaste, candies and some ice creams and beverages as well. This substance is highly toxic to dogs and when they eat products that contain Xylitol, it is like giving them a dose of poison. It causes a release of insulin that can result in failure of the liver. The sugar levels in your dogs blood are lowered, resulting in hypoglycemia. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a product that contains Xylitol, you should call the vet or an animal poison control center immediately. The first signs of this type of poisoning are lethargy, poor muscle coordination which may cause clumsiness, trouble walking or unsteadiness on the feet and vomiting. These are just for a starter. the next stage is seizures. It takes a few days for liver failure to take place and this often leads to death in dogs.
Yeast dough is another human food product that you should never allow your dog to eat. Before the dough is cooked, it rises. When your pet eats raw yeast dough, it continues to rise after he’s eaten it. This can lead to the accumulation of gas within his digestive system. It causes a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort. It can cause a bloating of the stomach and there is a potential for twisting to occur within the digestive system. This condition quickly escalates into a life threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention, and possibly risky and expensive surgical procedures. Another potential threat for dogs who eat raw yeast dough is that the byproducts caused by the action of the yeast creates ethanol. This is the same as ingesting alcohol. At a minimum, your dog could become drunk. In a worst case scenario, he could begin vomiting, develop a fever, experience irregularities in his heartbeat, have seizures, fall into a coma, or even die.
Avocados are another human food that should never be eaten by dogs. Although it is a known danger for rabbits, donkeys, horses, sheep and birds, it is unknown what effects it could have on dogs. There hasn’t been enough research conducted to know for certain. When in doubt, it’s best to avoid it altogether. In other animals, avocados is known to cause damage to the cardiovascular system resulting in death. In some species it causes the neck and head to develop edema and swell.