12 Foods Your Dog Can’t Have

We are all guilty of feeling the urge to feed dogs “table scraps” when they give us those sad puppy dog eyes. They know just how to reel us in by putting on their sweet charm. It is so important to be aware of the foods that can make dogs sick or kill them before you make the decision to give in and feed them a piece of your food.

Grapes & Raisins


It is extremely important that your dog never eats these because they cause kidney failure. If a dog already has health problems, the signs of kidney failure from eating grapes or raisins will be dramatic.

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy

 

 Avocado

Avocados contain a toxin called persin, which is mildly poisonous to dogs and deadly to other animals.  The biggest risk with avocados is that they can cause obstruction if they are swallowed whole, and the seeds are large enough to block the intestinal tracts of smaller dogs.

Symptoms:

  • Intestinal problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of stool production

 

Onion & Garlic

Onions are the more dangerous than garlic and can cause the dog’s red blood cells to burst. Poisoning occurs a few days after the dog has eaten the onion.  All forms of onion are problematic including dehydrated, raw, cooked, and table scraps. Garlic is less toxic, and the dog would have to eat a large amount to experience complications. Occasional low doses of these foods are found in some dog foods and are not likely to cause a serious problem.

Symptoms:

  • Labored breathing
  • Liver damage
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Discolored urine

 

Mushrooms

Certain species of mushrooms can be fatal for dogs. The most commonly reported severely toxic mushroom is amanita phalloides.

Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

 

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough is meant to rise, and when it is ingested it causes gas to accumulate in the dog’s digestive system. This can be painful and cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. After the yeast has fully risen, the risk is gone and pets can have small pieces of bread. Bread does not have strong nutritional value for dogs, so do not allow your pet to have more than 5-10% of its calories be from bread each day.

 

Chocolate

Cocoa seeds contain methylxanthines, which can be found in other caffeinated foods. Chocolate contains the chemical theobromine that is toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your dog. Baker’s, semi-sweet, and dark chocolates are the most dangerous. Many people assume their dog is unaffected by consuming chocolate, but be warned that signs of toxic consumption may not occur for several hours after ingestion, and death can occur within 24 hours.

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Seizures
  • Death

 

Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts

These nuts are very commonly used in cookies and candies, so make sure you do not let your dog get ahold of them. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog very sick. Their high phosphorus content leads to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, weakness, and sometimes paralysis of their hindquarters. Signs of illness from consumption of these nuts usually appear within 12 hours and last up to two days.

Symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Panting
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Hyperthermia
  • Swollen limbs

 

Salt

Consumption of large amounts of salt causes excess thirst and urination, which can result in sodium poisoning. Many dog foods contain large amounts of sodium to make the food taste better. Make sure to check your dog’s food for sodium content and feed him healthy food and treats.

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Death

 

Xylitol

This sugar substitute is EXTREMELY dangerous for dogs. Even small amounts can cause extreme complications or death. If xylitol is one of the first 3-5 ingredients listed, then it is going to poison your dog. Symptoms appear as quickly as 15-30 minutes after consumption.

Symptoms:

  • Liver failure
  • Hypoglycemia (life-threatening low blood sugar)
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Black stool
  • Death

 

Alcohol/Food Containing Alcohol

Alcohol is extremely hazardous to give to your dog, and even a small amount can be very toxic. Hops (the plant used to brew beers) is also toxic to dogs.

Symptoms:

  • Low body temperature
  • Neurological depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased coordination
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

 

Milk/Milk-Based Products

Dogs are not born with a substantial amount of lactase in their bodies, which is an enzyme that breaks down the lactose in the milk. There are lactose-free milk products available for pets.

Symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive discomfort

 

Coffee/Caffeine

A large enough amount of caffeine can be fatal to a dog, and there is no antidote once they have consumed too much. Caffeine can be found in common items like tea, coffee beans and grounds, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks, cold medicines, and painkillers.

Symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle tremors
  • Bleeding

 

The safest decision you can make as a dog owner is to only feed them their food and treats. However, if you make the decision to treat your dog to some tastier, more human cuisine, always remember what is safe to feed them. To be extra careful, it is a good idea to have important emergency phone numbers on your refrigerator or somewhere you and your guests can easily access them. Included on this list should be your vet, the closest emergency vet clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline: (888) 426-4435. Food is a wonderful part of life, and it is our job as pet parents to make sure our dogs have a safe and healthy experience.

Here are all of the foods your dog should not eat in one easy to use image for your convenience. You can even keep it posted on your refrigerator as a reminder for you and your guests.

 

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