As a dog owner, it's important to know which foods may be harmful to your pet. Even if your furry friend begs for table scraps or treats, certain human foods can cause serious health problems, ranging from upset stomachs and diarrhea or constipation to fatal conditions.
What Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?
Truthfully, there are quite a few foods your dog should avoid due to harmful effects. The reaction your pet will have to the food items listed below will depend on the amount ingested, the weight of the dog in question, and various genetic dispositions. We’ve included some guidelines for “how much is too much” of these substances. When in doubt about your pup’s symptoms, call your vet.
Here’s a list of bad foods for dogs to share with your household and guests:
Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause dogs to experience vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially dangerous.
How much chocolate can a dog eat without suffering? It takes less than an ounce of theobromine to be toxic to your pet, which is roughly 1.5 ounces of chocolate per 10 pounds of body weight.
- Coffee and caffeine
Coffee and caffeine can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and even death in dogs.
How much coffee is toxic to dogs? A lethal amount is about 150 mg per 2 pounds of the dog’s weight. So, it’s unlikely that your dog could drink enough coffee or tea to get very sick, but it’s bad news if they eat coffee grounds or tea bags.
Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, and death in dogs. Even small amounts can be dangerous.
About 300 mg of ethanol, the main ingredient in hard alcohol, can be toxic to dogs.
- Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, even in small amounts. Signs of grape poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
The number of grapes it takes to poison a dog will vary based on the dog’s weight. Grapes become toxic to dogs at 0.7 ounces of grapes per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the dog’s weight. So, a 10-kilo dog (22 pounds) would need to ingest 7 ounces of grapes to get sick. An average seedless grape is about 0.2 ounces, so about 36 grapes are considered toxic.
- Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms may not appear for a few days and can include weakness, pale gums, and decreased appetite.
It takes 100 grams (~7 ounces) of onion per 44 pounds of a dog’s weight to be considered toxic.
For garlic, it takes about 0.5 to 1 ounce of garlic per 2.2 pounds of a dog’s weight to be poisonous.
Avocado contains persin, a substance that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs if too much is consumed. The pit and skin can also cause choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.
It’s debated how much avocado is toxic to dogs. Some say you can feed them to your pet in moderation if it doesn’t contain the avocado’s skin, pit, or leaves. However, we recommend keeping this food away from furry friends to be safe.
- Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia (overheating), and weakness in dogs. Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to two days.
Roughly 12 macadamia nuts can cause toxicity symptoms in dogs.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many sugar-free gum and candy products. It can cause a rapid insulin release in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and liver failure.
Dogs can experience life-threatening toxic reactions if they have even a little of this substance. Less than 0.1 grams of xylitol per pound of the dog’s body weight will cause symptoms; 0.5 g per pound of the dog’s weight will result in liver failure.
- Fatty foods
Fatty foods like bacon, sausage, and fried foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
On average, you want your pet to get about 20% of its calories from fat. More than this can result in the above symptoms.
This one may seem counterintuitive, but cooked bones can splinter and cause dogs to choke or have gastrointestinal obstruction. They can also cause dental problems or puncture the digestive tract, which can lead to infection and sepsis if left untreated.
Toxic Food for Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions
Is salt bad for dogs?
Salt is a natural electrolyte that’s essential to your pet’s health. However, too much salt can cause salt toxicosis. This is when your dog consumes large amounts of salt in a short period and their body can’t process it quickly enough.
Signs your dog has had too much salt include:
- Excessive thirst or urination
What vegetables can dogs not eat?
Vegetables to avoid giving your dog include garlic, onions, asparagus, and mushrooms.
What fruits are bad for dogs?
In addition to grapes and avocados, dogs should also avoid cherries and tomatoes.
What Food Can I Give My Dog Safely?
Every dog is different and has their own preferences, allergies, and reactions to different foods. It’s always recommended to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog new food. Although a lot of the food we eat is safe for dogs, it’s best to only give them moderate amounts of snacks outside of their regular diet.
Here are some human foods that are safe for dogs to eat:
- Chicken – plain
- Peanut butter – plain
- Popcorn – plain
- Turkey – plain
- White rice – plain
Again, it’s best to check in with your vet to determine how much of these foods to give to your furry friend.
Get Help Cleaning Up After Your Pet
Speaking of things dogs shouldn’t eat, if you’re looking for a way to help your dog stop eating its own poo, DoodyCalls can help. We provide residential dog poop clean-up services to help you maintain your yard all year round. With frequent clean-ups, your dog won’t be able to munch on their old waste anymore. Contact us for a free quote today at (888) 659-6558 or find a DoodyCalls location.