Secure Checkout

What Foods are Toxic to Dogs?

by Burns Team Writer

We understand that it can be almost impossible to resist the big round eyes of your dog, asking for you to sneak them a bit of food under the table. However, it’s important to remember that a lot of the food that we eat is actually toxic to dogs.

To make sure you don’t accidentally put the health of your dog at risk, we have put together a list of toxic foods for dogs.


1. Chocolate

You probably already know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. This is due to a chemical in chocolate called theobromine, which is very similar to caffeine. (This means that chocolate covered espresso beans are definitely off the table). Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate are known to be particularly dangerous, as they contain higher levels of the chemical. Whilst humans are able to metabolise theobromine, dogs are not able to digest it so easily. If your dog does manage to get their paws on some chocolate, you will likely notice panting, vomiting and excessive urinating.

2. Garlic and onions

Garlic, onions, leeks, chives and shallots are all dangerous foods for dogs to consume. As they are all part of the allium food group, these foods can lead to serious medical problems for your dog. Whilst the symptoms of allium food poisoning can be delayed, some of the symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

3. Grapes and raisins

Grapes, raisins and sultanas are poisonous foods for dogs. Whilst it is unknown what exactly makes them so dangerous for dogs to eat, they can cause severe symptoms in just a few hours. Even if a dog only eats a small amount, it can cause kidney failure, meaning they will require urgent medical attention.

4. Ice cream

As most dogs are lactose intolerant, you should not let your dog have any ice cream, milk and dairy products. Your dog’s digestive system does not have the enzymes required to digest these products, which can lead to indigestion and diarrhoea. Whilst it is unlikely to cause a serious medical problem, it could certainly make your dog feel quite unwell.

5. Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are very toxic to dogs, although the reason why is not fully understood. If your dog eats macadamia nuts, you will likely see symptoms within 12 hours. These include weakness, vomiting, tremors and even depression. Fortunately, the effects of digesting macadamia nuts are usually non-fatal, and you can expect your dog to be back to their normal self within 48 hours.

6. Salt

Whilst dogs can digest salt, too much salt can make them very unwell. Regularly allowing your dog to eat foods high in salt can lead to heart and blood pressure problems, as with humans. So, it’s important to dog proof your kitchen to make sure they aren’t sneaking any salty snacks whilst you are out. It is also advised to keep an eye on them at the beach, in case they are prone to drinking the salty water.

7. Bacon

Although bacon is not toxic to dogs, eating something so high in fat can lead to an upset stomach. While a small piece that is dropped on the floor won’t cause any serious problems, regularly feeding your dog bacon can lead to a painful condition called pancreatitis. This is when your dog’s pancreas becomes so inflamed that it cannot release the enzymes your dog needs to digest food. If this happens, it can be fatal for your dog.

8. Bones

Whilst cooked bones are not toxic for dogs to eat, they can be dangerous. Cooked bones are prone to splintering, which can cause an internal injury if eaten by your dog. However, raw bones can be given to your dog, and are often used as a good source of nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus.

9. Avocado

The most dangerous part of an avocado is the pit. Due to the size of the pit, it is a serious choking hazard for your dog and can lead to a blocked airway. Avocado leaves and skin are also considered mildly toxic for dogs, and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The only part of an avocado that is relatively safe for dogs is the flesh. This contains a number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can improve the health of dog. However, too much can cause them to gain a significant amount of weight and could eventually lead to obesity.

10. Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is often used in ‘sugar free’ foods. However, it is also found naturally in corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, berries and plums. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, as it tricks their body into thinking they have eaten something high in sugar. This causes them to produce lots of insulin, dropping your dog’s blood sugar to a dangerously low level. Following the ingestion of xylitol, you can expect to see effects within 10-60 minutes. In the event your dog eats a lot of xylitol, it can lead to liver failure and even premature death, so it is important that you are extra vigilant when you have these products in the house.


What should you do if your dog eats toxic food?

If you think your dog has eaten any of the toxic foods listed above, it is best to make contact with your vet immediately and let them know what they have eaten and how much of it they ate – as this is also important. They will be able to inform you if you need to take them for treatment or let you know of any symptoms to watch out for.

What are healthy alternatives to feed your dog?

Dogs don’t necessarily need tasty treats; it is just us owners that love to give them!

Some human food that you can let your dog eat, include broccoli, green beans and carrots. These vegetables are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A, supplementing your dog’s diet of wet and dry food. They can come in handy when training your dog or just as a healthy snack if you have a particularly greedy dog!

Aside from human foods, there are a huge range of dog foods and treats, that have been specifically designed for dogs to eat. From turkey and chicken to pork and carrot, we have a selection of tasty treats that have been developed by vet surgeon, John Burns.

Speak to a Nutritionist

No query is too small for our Nutrition Team, so please fire away!

Get in touch
Get in touch Get in touch