Foods that you shouldn’t feed your dog

It’s tempting to use your dog to help clean up after family meals and, although there is nothing wrong with giving your pet a balanced diet similar to yours, there are some human-safe foods that could be quite toxic to man’s best friend.  From fruits and vegetables to nuts and chocolate, pet owners should be very careful not to feed their dogs any of the foods listed below.

Foods NOT to feed your dog…


Avocados contain a substance called persin which is highly toxic to many animals, including dogs.  Persin has been known to cause heart and lung damage.  Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting and explosive diarrhoea.


Although booze is not necessarily in the food group, it rates near the top of the list of things NOT to feed your dog.  Evidently, alcohol has the same effect on dogs as it does on humans. The only difference is that it will take a lot less to do damage to your pet’s liver and brain than it does to damage yours.  Because alcohol contains ethanol, it only takes a small dose to cause serious damage to a dog’s central nervous system.  Symptoms of poisoning include depression, problems with co-ordination, and difficulty breathing.  In some cases, death has occurred.

Onions and Garlic

A dog’s red blood cells can be depleted by substances found in both onions and garlic.  Anaemia and kidney failure are common results of ingesting large and/or regular quantities.  Symptoms of poisoning include pale gums, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and blood in the urine.  Blood transfusions and fluid therapy are common treatments in severe cases.


Caffeine found in coffee, tea and other beverages is very harmful to dogs.  Ingesting large quantities has been fatal in some instances.  Caffeine will stimulate your pet’s central nervous and cardiac systems. Symptoms of poisoning include restlessness, heart palpitation, muscle tremors and bleeding.

Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine

If your dog ingests caffeine in large enough quantities it can be fatal and, unfortunately, there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include the likes of heart palpitations, fits, muscle tremors, and rapid breathing.


Chocolate contains a toxic substance called theobromine.  If eaten in large quantities, it can cause death.  Symptoms of poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration and rapid/irregular heart beat. Although all varieties of chocolate contain theobromine, dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most toxic to dogs – ingesting only two ounces has been fatal in some instances.


Dogs should not eat nuts, especially walnuts and macadamia nuts, because they contain substances that are poisonous to them.  Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, increased body temperature, elevated heart rate, inability to stand or walk, and paralysis.  These symptoms can take up to 12 hours to become apparent. Nuts combined with chocolate have been known to be fatal.

….and a few others

Ingesting only four or five grapes and/or raisins can lead to kidney failure and death in dogs.  Other things to avoid feeding your dog are fruit seeds and pits which can cause obstructions in the intestines.  In addition, certain fruit seeds and pits are known to contain cyanide, another fatally toxic substance for dogs. Some examples include: apples, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries.

Image supplied by jenefeldt, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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6 Responses to “Foods that you shouldn’t feed your dog”

  1. meryl parr says:

    Thank you for the info regarding seeds in fruit. Knew all the rest.
    What about seeds in tomatoes ,as my cocker spaniel loves tomatoes.

    • Pet Pupz says:

      Hi Meryl,

      The ‘fruit’ is fine – tomatoes are used in lots of dog foods… Just don’t let your dog eat the actual plant as that’s poisonous.


  2. Laura says:

    I’ve heard that turkey meat gives dogs diarrhea. Is that true? I have always avoided giving it to my dogs, so I don’t actually know if that is the case.

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