21 Foods & Substances That Are Dangerous For Your Dog

Most dog owners can relate to the panic of seeing your furry friend eating something they probably shouldn’t be eating. Even small amounts of certain foods can make them seriously ill, so do them, and yourself a favour and take a look at foods that you shouldn’t be feeding your dog.

We’ve put together a helpful guide to the kinds of things that could potentially be bad for your dog. Rather than just listing what foods your dog should avoid, we’ve also listed any potential side effects that may occur, and things you can feed them instead.

If you think your dog has eaten something they probably shouldn’t have, then the best thing to do is to visit your veterinary as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at the 21 harmful foods that you’ll want to avoid giving to your best friend:

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in tons of sugar-free products, from yogurts, to toothpaste and even the peanut butter that your dog loves.

It might be the go-to sugar substitute for those looking to cut down on calories, but it is toxic when consumed by dogs.  When consumed by dogs, it can decrease their blood sugar levels, causing hypoglycaemia. Other side effects include vomiting, sluggishness, and if left untreated, liver failure.

Humans are able to regulate their blood sugar in ways that dogs simply cannot, so make sure you haven’t got any packs of chewing gum lying around within your dog’s reach. And always check the label to look out for xylitol when buying food, too – foods containing xylitol often have sugar-free written on them.

Why not try: fruits which contain naturally occurring sugars? Just make sure that they’re safe for dogs to eat and avoid the fruit that’s next on our list, which brings us to…

2. Grapes

Eating grapes and their dried raisin variants can prove to be fatal for your pup, no matter what breed, age or size they are. Whilst scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what’s in grapes that pose a massive danger to them, they’re toxic and can cause kidney failure. Signs your dog may have eaten them include weakness, dehydration and vomiting.

Why not try: there ARE fruits that are perfectly fine to feed your dog in moderate amounts, such as watermelons and apples. Be careful of their seeds as they can cause intestinal problems and blockages.

3. Cherries

Another fruit that can be toxic to dogs, particularly its leaves and seeds, are cherries. Not only will consuming the pit and leaves cause blockages inside your dog, it can also lead to cyanide poisoning. Fun fact: the cyanide in cherries exists to protect itself from predators. A not so fun fact, is that symptoms of poisoning from cherries include tremors and trouble with breathing properly, and excessive consumption can lead to death.

Comic image of Snoopy the dog sneezing on a girl

Peanuts: Good for humans, bad for dogs.

4. Nuts

Certain nuts in high quantities have been known to cause stomach aches in dogs, because they’re difficult to digest.

Walnuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts, for example, contain mycotoxins that can cause seizures. They’re also pretty rich in fat, making them another cause of an upset stomach. To be on the safe side, avoid them.

Why not try: peanut butter is generally considered safe for dogs in moderation – just make sure you’ve read the ingredients and buy xylitol-free ones.

5. Avocado

Whilst avocadoes aren’t on the top of the list of things one would think of when deciding on what to feed your dog, it still happens. The skin and pit contain a fungal toxin that can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting. The pit is also a choking hazard, so seek medical attention if you reckon your dog has helped themselves to some

Why not try: cucumbers can make a refreshing treat that can even help with energy levels. They’re full of vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to stay strong and healthy.

6. Onions

Whilst they’re a great way to add flavour to your food, onions couldn’t be further from being good for your dog, so avoid them at all costs, too. They can cause serious damage to your dog’s red blood cells. Symptoms include dehydration, weakness, and red or brown coloured urine.

Don’t confuse dogs with hot dogs!

Human foods may also contain powdered onion, so ensure that you resist the temptation of giving them your snacks and leftovers.

Why not try: celery for a crunchy and vitamin-rich alternative?

7. Salty Foods

This one should apply to both you and your dog: watch your sodium intake. Dehydration is a common symptom of a diet high in salt, and could even lead to vomiting and tremors. Always remember to make sure your dog stays hydrated.

8. Caffeine

Depending on the amount, consuming caffeine could be potentially fatal for your dog. A lot of commonly found substances, like tea, coffee and energy drinks contain caffeine, and caffeine poisoning can be life threatening for them.

Symptoms include increased heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, with seizures and tremors happening in more severe cases.

9. Yeast

What we’re referring to here is raw bread dough. The main danger with yeast for dogs is how it can expand in their stomach, causing symptoms such as bloating and diarrhoea.

Beware of dangerous varieties of bread that contain foods that are harmful for dogs – many contain raisins, certain kinds of nuts and garlic, so always check the ingredients list beforehand.

Why not try: considering that bread does nothing nutritionally for your dog, try brown rice – it’s higher in protein and contains less fat.

10. Alcohol

Yeast also produces ethanol, and can cause alcohol poisoning. And although this might seem like an obvious one, you never know when your dog could accidentally help themselves to a glass that’s lying around.  Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include decreased blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature.

While human beer is considered dangerous, companies like Snuffle make more dog-friendly booze.

While human beer is considered dangerous, companies like Snuffle make more dog-friendly booze.

11. Incorrectly Stored Meat

Making sure you cook and store your meat properly applies to your dogs as much as it applies to you. Salmonella, E. Coli and other harmful bacteria can be present in incorrectly stored meat, which could make your dog poorly. Signs of this in your dog include vomiting, loss of appetite and weakness.

12.  Milk & Dairy

A small amount of milk every now and then is unlikely to cause major problems for your dog, unless, however, they’re lactose intolerant. On the whole, giving them large amounts all in one go isn’t recommended either, and can cause bowel irritation and diarrhoea.

The reason dogs struggle with digesting milk is because they don’t have lactase, a type of sugar needed to break lactose down.

Why not try: If you’re worried about your dog’s calcium intake, a balanced diet with calcium rich meats and vegetables should provide them with enough. Giving them plenty of water will also keep hydration levels optimal.

13. Chocolate

Chocolate made for humans is incredibly dangerous for canines, even in small amounts. That’s because it contains theobromine, a chemical that dogs can’t process like we can.

High amounts of this can be fatal, leading to seizures, internal bleeding and even a heart attack. Chocolate might sound like a nice little treat to give to your dog, but it can prove to be quite harmful and potentially even fatal for them, so reward them with something better.

Why not try: several pet supply stores sell chocolate dog treats that have been specially designed for them, meaning that they don’t contain any of the substances that would harm your dog.

This image from PetMD shows the dangers associated with dogs eating bones.

This image from PetMD shows the dangers associated with dogs eating bones.

14. Cooked Bones

It might be tempting to give your dog leftover lamp chops, but cooked bones can pose as a risk to them because they can splinter easily. As is the case with pits and seeds, bones can also cause blockages in their digestive system. Look out for bones that can easily be swallowed to make sure they aren’t at risk of injuring themselves.

15.  Blue Cheese

Although we’ve already touched on dairy previously, blue cheese deserves a special mention for a very good reason. The fungus found in blue cheese (Roquefortine C) can make your dog really ill.

Symptoms include vomiting, all the way up to more serious cases such as seizures. So keep your dog well away from any of your stilton and Roquefort.

16. Coconuts

Although they aren’t toxic, coconuts are high in fat, which makes them difficult for dogs to process and can cause an upset tummy.

The shell and little hairs are also hazards, as these can become lodged in your dog’s throat and interfere with their digestive tract.

Salmon and salmon-flavoured food are a great alternative for shellfish.

Salmon and salmon-flavoured food are a great alternative for shellfish.


17. Shellfish

Foods like prawns and crab contain harmful toxins, and possibly even carry heavy metals that could make your dog poorly. Not only can they be high in salt, but there’s also potential for allergic reactions.

If you notice your dog reacting with itchiness, a runny nose or runny eyes, then it’s time to get them to a vet.

Why not try: fish such as salmon are much safer bets.



18. Food Past Its Expiry Date

If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to them! Anything mouldy can make your dog poorly as much as it could you unwell, too.

Mouldy food contains harmful mycotoxins, which can cause the usual symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, all the way through to high body temperature and tremors.

Keep food waste and bins well out of reach from them so there’s no risk of them running into food past its expiry date.

19. Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms in particular contain toxins that can lead to poisoning. Dogs may be particularly prone to stumbling across mushrooms when they’re out on walks, so always keep an eye on your pooch. Your dog may experience weakness, stomach pains, seizures and poisoning can seriously damage their nervous system.

dog looking at mushrooms

20. Fat Trimmings

The fatty bits from your beef can upset their stomach, and in more severe cases can lead to pancreatitis. As a rule of thumb, foods high in fat should be given in moderation to support a healthy diet.

21. Sugary Foods

Finally, although sugar isn’t a toxic substance, too much can be extremely unhealthy – something that both you and your dog should keep in mind. Tooth decay and plaque build up can be really unpleasant.

Why not try: bananas in moderation can be a safer alternative to a diet full of sugars – instead of giving your dog empty calories, you’d be giving them fibre and potassium.

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Your dog’s diet is just as important as your own, so we hope you’ve found this guide useful when it comes to figuring out what your dog should and shouldn’t eat.

If you’re wondering about what dogs can’t eat, then we’re guessing you have one. If that’s the case then you might be interested in seeing our collection of our wooden kennels and dog cabins, and we’re only a phone call or email away if there’s anything else you need!