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15 foods that can cause your dog to be poisoned, choke or harm

Top 15 Human Foods That Can Poison, Choke Or Harm Your Dog- Explained

If you feel your dog can eat anything, think again!

I always thought my dogs belly was made of steel. Until the day came my poor bulldog had to go to the vet because of a reaction to grapes. Until that vet visit, I had no idea some common human foods are poisonous to dogs. To save you all the heart ache, I’ve shared my research for what dog’s are allergic to and cannot eat! 

The below foods/ingredients can be poisonous or cause choking to dogs-

1) Coffee, Tea & Other Caffeine- Poisonous

2) Chocolate- Poisonous

3) Grapes & Raisins- Poisonous

4) Avocado- Poisonous

5) Alcohol- Poisonous

6) Salt- Poisonous

7) Artificial Sweetener (XYLITOL)- Poisonous

8) Raw Dough- Poisonous

9) Onions, Garlic & Chives- Poisonous

Not Deadly But Still Harmful

10) Macadamia Nuts- Poisonous

11) Milk and Dairy Products- Could Be Allergic/Intollerant

12) Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches & Plums- Poisonous

13) Mouldy Food- Poisonous

2 Extras Foods That Can Choke Dogs

14) Corn on the cob- Choking

15) Cooked Bones- Choking

Many of these ingredients are found in everyday human foods and it’s important to ensure dogs never consume them!

If your dog consumes any of these ingredients or is displaying symptoms, consult your vet immediately.

1) Coffee, Tea & Caffeine

Caffeine is the ingredient of most concern with Coffee, Tea and Energy Drinks. Many everyday brand soft drinks also use guarana or caffeine.

Why Is It Poisonous- Caffeine itself is poisonous to dogs

How it affects the dog- According to petpoisonhelpline.com, caffeine can speed up the heart rate in dogs, just like it does humans. If taken in an excessive amount, it can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), hypertension (elevated blood pressure), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) seizures, and collapse. Ultimately, a high level poisoning can cause death.

Some of the less deadly symptoms may be stimulating the nervous system, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lack of bladder control.

You need to be careful when drinking any of these high caffeine drinks, just a few sips (especially for tiny dogs) can be fatal. 

2) Chocolate

white and brown chocolate is poisonous to dogs
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs

It may come as a surprise but chocolate is indeed poisonous to dogs! Chocolate comes in many different variations, most of which are poisonous to dogs. 

Why Is It Poisonous- Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine.
Dark chocolate, cocoa and cooking chocolate have the highest concentration

How It Affects The Dogs- According to hillspet.com, Theobromine is toxic to dogs and can cause muscle tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, heart attack. Some of those can be fatal. 

The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

If your dog ingests chocolate, call your vet immediately. They will want to know what brand, type and amount of chocolate the dog ate. Depending on the size of your dog and type of chocolate will determine how poisonous it is. For more info, click here.

3) Grapes & Raisins

There are so many fruits and veggies your dogs can eat, but grapes and raisins are a definitely no! 

Why Is It Poisonous- It is not known exactly what in grapes and raisins causes harm to dogs, but it’s clear for some dogs, it can be incredibly toxic and even fatally.  

How It Affects The Dogs-  According to Purina.com, eating either may cause decreased appetite, lethargic or weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, increased thirst & urine, tenderness in abdomen, decreased urine production & kidney failure.

Tip: If you have a fruit bowl, be sure to keep away from dogs or maybe just avoid the grapes & raisins in it all together. If your dog ingests a grape, contact your trusted vet immediately. For more info, click here.

4) Avocado

Avocado is poisonous to dogs
The avocado meat, seed and skin is poisonous to dogs

Crazy to think that something so healthy to humans can harm dogs right, but it’s true. The humble avocado can cause death in dogs through consumption of the avocado contents, the pip or even the leaves.

Why Is It Poisonous- Avocados contain Persin, a fungicidal toxin. The meat of the avocado contains the smallest concentration of Persin, the leaves, skin and pip containing the highest.

How It Affects Dogs- According to the AKC, in large amounts, it can cause vomiting, diarrha, myocardial damage. Also, the dog can choke on the stone in the centre of the fruit.

For more info, click here.

5) Alcohol

Alcohol is poisonous to dogs for sure. It probably is one that doesn’t come as much of a surprise though.

Why Is It Poisonous- Both Ethanol (beer, wine & liquor) and hops cause alcohol intoxication.

How It Affects Dogs- According to Hillspet.com, consumption of alcohol can cause vomiting, restlessness, excessive panting, high blood temp, muscle tremors, seizures, intoxication and organ failure. If left untreated it can cause death.

The good news is dogs are not naturally attracted to the smell or taste of most alcohols. Accidents do happen though and if you’re dog ingests alcohol, consult the vet immediately. Try provide as much info as possible such as dogs breed, weight, type of alcohol, amount consumed and how long ago it was taken. For more info, click here.

6) Salt

Salt is poisonous to dogs in very high concentrations! It’s a surprise isn’t it.

Why Is It Poisonous- If the concentration of sodium chloride in the dogs bloodstream gets too high it becomes toxic. 

How It Affects Dogs- According to wagwalking.com, salt poisoning can cause high fever, headache, coma, confusion, convulsions, fluid build up, extreme thirst & urination, muscle spasms, vomiting, nausea, increased heart rate and much more including death.

The main thing to note when it comes to salt poisoning is it’s often got a lot to do with lack of water. If a dog has too much salt in it’s system, it can often try to dilute it with extra water consumption. If your dogs consumes too much ocean water, rock salts, homemade play dough etc, please contact your vet.

For more info click here.

7) Artificial Sweetener (XYLITOL)- Poison

Xylitol is a substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute for drinks and some foods.

Why Is It Poisonous- Xylitol in excess can cause a sharp decrease in the dogs blood sugar levels, which causes hypoglycemia. 

How It Affects Dogs- According to vcahospitals.com, if left untreated, Xylitol can cause vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, difficulty walking or standing, tremors, seizures, coma and liver failure which can be life threatening.

If your dog has induced xylitol, call your vet straight away. Depending on the dogs blood glucose levels, they may or may not induce vomiting. For more info click here.

8) Raw Dough

raw dough is poisonous to dogs
Raw dough can cause death in dogs

There is a big difference between raw dough and cooked dough for dogs. Raw dough can be very dangerous for dogs when ingested.

Why Is It Poisonous- The fermenting yeast creates alcohol poisoning.

How It Affects Dogs- According to petpoisonhelpline.com, eating unbaked dough can cause vomiting, non-productive retching, a distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, weakness, collapse, drops in blood sugar and blood. The most severe cases causing seizures, respiratory failure and death.

As with any of the bad foods for dogs, if you think your pup may have ingested unbaked dough, please immediately contact your vet. For more info click here.

9) Onions, Garlic, Chives & Leeks

No matter which way your dog eats onion, garlic & chives, it’s poisonous to them. This includes cooked, raw, chopped, powdered, etc. They are poisonous plants to dogs.

Why Is It Poisonous- Onions contain a toxic principle known as N-propyl disulfide

How It Affects Dogs- According to vcahospitals.com, any of these ingredients can cause excessive drool, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, increased heart rate, elevated respirations collapse and in severe cases, death.

All four species of herbs belong to the Allium family but garlic is the most toxic. If your dog ingests any of these, seek immediate advice from your vet. For more info, click here

10) Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia Nuts are poison to dogs
Macadamia Nuts are poison to dogs

Macadamia nuts are most definitely not good for dogs. Luckily, most dogs make a full recovery with minimal intevention.

Why Is It Poisonous- The mechanism of toxicity is not known

How It Affects Dogs- According to thesprucepets.com, dogs eating macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, ataxia, hyperthermia, blood changes, increased heart rate and more. If left untreated, there is potential for lethal poisoning.

Prognosis is good with treatment so if you believe your dog may have eaten macadamia nuts, seek vet advice. For more info, click here.

11) Milk and Dairy Products

This is an interesting one as it would seem milk is perfectly harmless to dogs and the truth is it is safe, in small amounts. Milk can however cause big issues if excessive amounts are consumed. Because milk is high in fat and natural sugars, it’s best to feed it to your pup in small quantities or as a treat.

What’s wrong with milk?- Milk is not poisonous to dogs, however, some dogs are allergic or intolerant to it.

How It Affects Dogs- According to the AKC, if the dog ingests too much milk or is lactose intolerant/allergic, it can cause loose stools, gas, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Dairy products for the most part are ok, just keep it to small amounts and not too regular. For more info click here.

12) Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches & Plums

I know this one will surprise many! It’s not the actual fruits itself that’s the problem, it’s the seeds people!

Why Is It Poisonous- Seeds contain amygdalin which can lead to cyanide poisoning

How It Affects Dogs- According to petmd.com, if dogs ingest too many apple seeds or cores it can cause hypoxia, brick-red mucus membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting and shock.

Just remember when feeding dogs apples etc, take out the seeds and core first! For more info, click here.

13) Mouldy Food

Not all foods that are mouldy are harmful to your dog but as a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t let your dog.

Why Is It Poisonous- Not all moulds are poisonous. Some however produce tremorgenic mycotoxins, which are neurotoxins.

How It Affects Dogs- According to greenbrier-emergency.com, ingestion of mouldy food can cause muscle tremors and diarrhea. 

Often the culprit of this kind of thing is dairy products, grains, nuts and pastas. If you believe your dog has ingested mouldy food, you should contact your vet to see how urgent it may be. For more info click here

14) Corn On The Cob

It’s always surprising to think of different human foods that can harm your pets. Corn on the cob is more than a choking hazard, if induced, it needs to be surgically removed.

Why Is Corn Dangerous- The corn itself is ok in moderation, it’s the core that’s a big issue

How It Affects Dogs- According to mybrownnewfies.com, the big risks in a dog eating the core of a corn cob is getting stuck in the intestines, choke the airways or rest in the stomach until surgically removed. Signs of a corn cob obstruction can be vomiting, straining to defecate, loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy and stomach pain or tenderness in the abdomen. 

The core is not digestible and could be in the dogs stomach for weeks or months without you knowing. If you have concerns your dog may have eaten a corn core, best to contact your vet. For more info click here.

15) Cooked Bones

Cooked bones are not the same as raw bones, cooked bones can splinter. 

Why Are Cooked Bones Dangerous- Cooked bones can splinter in to jagged pieces. 

How It Affects Dogs- According to Animal Emergency Service, The jagged pieces can choke or cause serious damage internally like broken teeth,  mouth injuries, constipation, peritonitis, obstructions and more.

No matter which way the bone is cooked, it’s best to adopt the golden rule of anything bone that’s been cooked, don’t serve it! For more info click here.

Conclusion

Dogs are certainly hardy animals in regards to many things they can do and eat. Some things dogs can chew on like bones we certainly cannot. It’s important to remember though that the reverse is also true, there is plenty of human foods out there that aren’t suitable for dogs.

If your dog ever eats something you are unsure of, it’s always best to call the vet to get the low down on if it’s harmful or not. If however you are wondering before you give them food, guides like this one can help you know what is and is not ok to feed your dog!

DISCLAIMER

The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.