Foods That Are Bad for Dogs Know Your Dog Feeding No-Nos

Dogs and cat looking at food on a table
expert or vet photo
vet verified Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, NY

While we tend to stock our cupboards with foods we like, many of our favorite dishes contain ingredients that are bad for dogs. That means before you share anything, you should first know what might give your pet a bad reaction. This list will help you identify problem foods, so next time you feel like being generous, you can do so safely.

Food is one of the best pleasures in life. A good meal could change an entire day, so is it reasonable for you to share that joy with your pooch? As luck would have it, many of our favorite delicious foods are bad for dogs. Sharing that food won’t be much generous of you.

It is advisable to feed your pup only dog food. So you must ensure enough dog food storage shopped from the best dog food brands. However, in extreme situations, if you wish to share human food before you scoop those last couple of morsels into your pup's dish, check out this list of foods to know what should be avoided when splitting dishes with our furry friends.


Whether in coffee, tea, or cocoa, caffeine is a chemical compound that can result in mild or severe heart complications in your dog. While a sip may not poison your dog, if they get into the coffee grounds or some loose tea, they might exhibit symptoms of caffeine poisoning, such as hyperactivity, throwing up, rapid heartbeat, seizures, or a collapse.


Chocolate is not suitable for dogs mainly because of the chemical theobromine, an alkaloid in chocolate that dogs cannot metabolize, resulting in potentially significant complications, such as seizures, heart attacks, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. While chocolate is dangerous to cats and dogs, cats generally do not have a taste for chocolate. In contrast, dogs may develop a taste for sweets, making the risk for chocolate poisoning higher.

Garlic, Onions, Shallots, Scallions

These delicious dish enhancers are dangerous to dogs since every relative of the onion contains sulfoxides and disulfides, chemicals highly poisonous to dogs and can result in anemia. This includes any form of these foods, too: raw, cooked, or powdered. Symptoms of onion poisoning are pale gums and a lack of energy due to a reduced amount of red blood cells.

Gum and Toothpaste

A key ingredient in gum, toothpaste (and many foods designed for diabetic patients), xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener. It can be severe if your dog ingests, resulting in liver failure. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning are lethargy, low blood sugar, vomiting, seizures, jaundice, coma, and possibly death. If you suspect your dog has ingested anything with xylitol, get them to the vet immediately, as the reaction can occur within 10 minutes.


Dogs cannot metabolize alcohol as well as people, so they are much more susceptible to alcohol poisoning. While the symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs are much the same as it is in people (drooling, vomiting, dry heaving, coma, death), it takes substantially less to put them over the edge; so much so that even the consumption of a rum cake or unbaked dough with yeast in it can send your dog reeling. Since the effects set in quickly if you have reason to believe that your dog got into the sauce, get them to the vet.

Raisins and Grapes

Strangely enough, the actual cause for why grape-based foods affect dogs is unknown, but the fact is that dogs that eat them end up rueing that decision. Occasionally resulting in acute kidney disease, eating enough grapes or raising can cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Macadamia Nuts

While not as lethal as the other entries on this list, macadamia nuts can cause your dog considerable pain, often resulting in weakness in the rear legs, pain, tremors, and a low-grade fever. Luckily, the symptoms of this condition will pass, usually within 48 hours, and your dog will be up and walking around as if nothing happened.

Bread Dough

Aside from the potential alcohol poisoning (noted above) that could result from the yeast in dough fermenting in the stomach, the dough may also begin to expand, putting a strain on the stomach lining, diaphragm, and other innards. This expansion can cause breathing difficulties, blood flow issues, and even tissue death.


While this may go without saying, don’t feed your dog moldy food. Occasionally people get the notion that a dog has a steel-lined stomach. They do not. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your dog (except for dog food and treats, obviously). If you have moldy food, throw it out.


Salt is in many foods, as it is a delicious flavor enhancer, but by itself, consumption of this mineral is too much for our taste. However, dogs don't particularly care how unpalatable we might find straight salt and have been known to clean off a plate full of the stuff. The real trouble here is that salt is a potent dehydrator that can cause your dog to vomit, lose energy, have seizures, become comatose, or even die. Salt consumption can also result in sodium ion poisoning.

Fruit Pits

Dogs will eat anything, which can be a big problem. They aren’t spitting out the pit if they see fruit lying around. This can become an issue, as many fruit seeds or pits contain cyanide, a very potent poison that can be lethal. Fruits with pits that have cyanide include cherries, apricots, and peaches. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, bright red gums, and death.

Another fruit pit that can be dangerous to your dog, although it does not contain cyanide, is the avocado, as the seed is substantial and has been known to obstruct the movement of a dog's bowels or block their windpipe, causing them to choke. 

If you suspect your dog has eaten any of the foods mentioned above, contact your vet immediately and follow their instructions. If you wish to treat your dog, then instead of feeding it human food, try dog treats like Nature's Own USA Vanilla Flavored Cow Ears for Dogs

Feed Your Dog Only Dog Food

Feeding your dog high-quality food, such as Authority dog food, is essential for several reasons. First, providing your dog only dog food will help you keep your pet healthy. Dogs are carnivores, so they must eat meat to thrive and stay healthy. Feeding your dog a diet that contains too many carbohydrates or proteins may cause digestive issues or lead to other health problems.

Second, feeding your dog only dog food helps you get the most out of your pet's training. Dogs need meat like cow ears to be able to perform the way they were meant to—and if you feed them a diet that doesn't contain enough protein or fat, they won't grow as fast or be able to learn new skills as well as they could if you fed them good quality food.

Third, feeding your dog fresh dog food or even freeze-dried dog food ensures that their fur stays beautiful and shiny instead of dull and matted! This makes dogs look more attractive when people see them on walks around town with their owners and look more like their human counterparts than other dogs—which can help improve relationships between humans and their pets!

What Are Some of the Best Dog Food?

We've rounded up some of the best dog food on the market today to help you decide what's best for your pup.

Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin's Veterinary Diet Canine Hydrolyzed Protein HP makes the best dog dry food for any pup that loves to gorge on dry food. This brand offers a variety of options, including gluten-free and grain-free dog food options for sensitive stomachs. Their dry kibble can help keep your dog's teeth clean, and their freeze-dried treats are ideal for training or as an alternative to kibble.

Wet Dog Food

This brand offers several different wet dog food options, including canned dog food (which is excellent if you want to feed your pet something that doesn't require prep time) and canned with gravy or meatballs included in the package. They also offer different kinds of wet dog food flavors so your pup can try something new every time they eat!

These Are The Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

As a responsible dog parent, you must ensure your pet’s utmost health and well-being. And a well-balanced diet forms a significant part of ensuring that your four-legged friend stays strong and happy for years. In addition to providing your ‘doggo’ with adequate portions of nutritious meals every day, you must also remain extra cautious of any food items that might be toxic for their systems if ingested. Have a look at our list of all such foods that are downright dangerous for your pet.


Except for a few ignorant individuals, most pet owners are well aware of the toxicity of chocolate to a dog’s system. Chocolate comprises two essential ingredients, caffeine and theobromine, which are incredibly harmful to dogs. That said, dark chocolate with higher cocoa content is even more dangerous than sweetened milk chocolate. Since the ingredients mentioned above in chocolate can even be lethal in large concentrations, you must immediately take your dog to a vet if he ingests some.

Garlic, Chives, and Onions

Regardless of whatever form (cooked, raw, or powdered) they are ingested in, garlic, chives, and onions have been associated with blood cell damage in cats and dogs and can end up irritating and inflaming your furry little friend’s GI tract.


A major sweetening agent in all kinds of baked goods, candies, gums, and even toothpaste, xylitol has been known to cause excessive blood sugar levels when ingested by a dog. More significant concentrations can even end up causing liver failure! Some common tell-tale signs that your dog might have ingested xylitol in some form include coordination issues, lethargy, vomiting, and seizures.


While alcohol is not suitable for us humans either, its negative impact is amplified in the case of dogs, so much so that even a little wine, beer, liquor, or a food item with an alcoholic ingredient can cause considerable discomfort to the animal. Starting as common symptoms such as lack of muscle coordination, vomiting, breathing problems, and diarrhea, the effects of alcohol can even lead to coma and the eventual death of your canine friend. Suppose you suspect that your dog might have accidentally or intentionally ingested any of the food above items. In that case, you must immediately take him to the vet for examination and ensure adequate treatment.

More on Dog Food

Your Dog Food Questions Answered
Is Your Dog Allergic to Certain Food?
How to Change Dog Food

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

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