Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

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Dog begging for cookies

Photo by Gabriela Pinto / CC BY 2.0


Whether you feed your dog a high-quality dry food or have jumped on the raw (or BARF) diet bandwagon, occasionally your dog is probably going to get some people food. Most of us know not to give our dogs chocolate or alcohol, but there are many other foods you should never feed your dog. The foods listed below can pose health risks for your dog and while some foods may only cause mild digestive issues, others can cause severe reactions that could require medical treatment.

Harmful Foods for Dogs

Alcohol – Effects the liver and brain, can cause coma or death
Apple Seeds – Seeds contain cyanide
Avocado – Contains persin, can cause digestive issues
Bones – Can cause choking, bones can splinter and create obstructions or lacerations
Cat Food – Contains excess protein and fat
Chocolate – Causes digestive, heart and nervous system issues (especially dark chocolate)
Corn Cobs – Cob pieces can become lodged in the intestine creating a blockage
Fat Trimmings – Excess fat can cause pancreatitis
Grapes/Raisins – Contains an unknown toxin that can damage the kidneys
Macadamia Nuts – Contains an unknown toxin that can damage various organs
Milk/Dairy Products – Lactose can cause digestive issues and trigger food allergies
Mushrooms – Some mushrooms can be toxic to dogs
Onions/Garlic – Can damage red blood cells and cause anemia
Peaches/Plums – Pits contain cyanide and can cause intestinal obstructions
Persimmons – Seeds can cause intestinal inflammation and obstructions
Raw Eggs – Risk of salmonella and enzyme interferes with absorption of Vitamin B
Raw Fish – Raw salmon and trout could contain a bacteria infected parasite deadly for dogs
Salt – Large quantity can cause electrolyte imbalance or sodium poisoning
Sugary Foods – Large quantity can lead to obesity, dental problems and diabetes
Yeast Dough – Raw dough can expand and rupture the stomach or intestines
Xylitol – Artificial sweetener found in many products, can cause liver failure

I occasionally hear dog owners say their dogs can eat chocolate or other foods from the list above without having any problems, but keep in mind, you may not notice specific symptoms with your dog even though they could be suffering an adverse reaction.

Always be careful when sharing leftovers with your dog. Analyze the ingredients to make sure they are safe and are contributing to a healthy, balanced diet. Never give moldy or spoiled food to your dog and make sure discarded food is safe from dogs that enjoy raiding the kitchen trashcan when you’re not looking. And speaking from experience, safely store food away from counter-surfing dogs. (Haley once ate an entire plate of dark chocolate brownies from the countertop, yikes!)

Let me know if I’ve missed any foods that should be on the list and please consult with your veterinarian if you’re worried about something your dog may have eaten or if you have any questions about how to feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet.

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6 Comments on “Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog”

    • I think it’s good to be aware of all these potential dangers and make decisions accordingly. Obviously some foods are more dangerous depending on the amount the dog consumes.

      For example, I’m not concerned about the tiny amount of cyanide in apple seeds. I don’t eat apples very often, but when I do I usually give the core to my dog, with the seeds. Believe it or not, he actually eats everything but the seeds, so it’s like he knows not to eat them. But even if he eats the seeds or if I happen to eat the seeds, I’m just not concerned.

      But maybe someone with a tiny dog would be more concerned. Or someone who had an apple tree in the yard where the dog was constantly eating the apples. Who knows … every situation is different.

      • That’s funny that Ace spits out the apple seeds! I believe they have to be chewed or broken to release any cyanide, so even if he did eat a few, he probably would swallow them whole. Ace is an adorable dog. 🙂

    • Our older dog Roxie (almost 12) has suddenly started getting on the counters and taking food. She has ate chickens, ribs, cat food, well to cut down on time…anything left out on the counter. Our vet told us the same thing…just watch her. She has had no adverse reaction yet. Oddly even if she is caught and scolded, she acts like she doesn’t care. She’ll even keep on eating whatever she pulled down like we’re not even there. It’s making the other 2 dogs mad, they look at us like “why does she get that and we don’t?”

      • Aw, I can imagine it’s pretty hard to be mad at Roxie. My parent’s senior dog did that too when she was older. Maybe it’s like human seniors, they feel like they’ve been around long enough that they’re earned some perks, lol. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Mary! ?

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