Join Dogful Login

Poisonous, Harmful and Toxic Food For Dogs

toxic food for dogs

Alcohol and Yeast Dough

Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol – a seriously toxic chemical compound that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression. Uncooked yeast doughs also produce ethanol.

Even small amounts of ethanol can cause toxic effects.

Ethanol Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia (low body temperature).

Ethanol is rapidly absorbed into the system, so it is important to seek medical attention quickly. It is not usually helpful to induce vomiting. Treatment includes aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications. Under controlled circumstances, alcohol is used by veterinarians as an antidote for antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning.

Avocado, Fruit Pits and Seeds

Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide.

Cyanide Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy or difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmia, coma, skin irritation.

In some cases, antidotes are available. Other treatments include oxygen therapy, fluids and supportive care.

Also take note that the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. In addition, the fat content is not healthy for dogs as it can cause difficulty breathing and pancreatitis

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Although baking powder and baking soda are not really food, they are commonly used as leavening agents in baked goods to create a gas, which causes doughs and batters to rise.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder combines baking soda with an acid of some kind, usually cream of tartar, sodium aluminum sulphate or calcium acid phosphate, or a combination of the three.

If your dog eats a large amount of either of these powders, he can suffer from electrolyte changes, muscle spasms and congestive heart failure.

Baby food

Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.


Chocolate and cocoa contain a chemical called theobromide that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.

Pure baking chocolate is the most toxic, while milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. A 20 pound dog can be poisoned after consuming about 2 ounces of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause harm. Ingestion of cacao bean mulch can also be toxic.

Theobromide Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, drunken gait, hypothermia and coma.

Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.

Caffeinated Items

Caffeine is quite similar to the toxic chemical in chocolate. It can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.

Commons sources of toxicity include caffeine pills, coffee beans and coffee, large amounts of tea, and chocolate.

Caffeine Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, drunken gait increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions.

Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.

Cat Food

Cat food usually contains higher level of fat and protein than dog food. When consumed regularly and in large amounts, the pancreas is worked too hard resulting to pancreatitis.

Dairy Foods

Can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhoea. A small amount of non-fat, plain yogurt is usually safe.

Egg Whites (Raw)

Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins. Biotin is essential to your dog’s growth and coat health. The lack of it can cause hair loss, weakness, growth retardation, or skeleton deformity.

Grapes and Raisins

Can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possible resulting in death. Ingesting as few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog, though the exact toxic dose is not established.

Grape or Raisin Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production (possibly leading to lack of urine production), weakness and drunken gait.

Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours (though they can start just a few hours after consumption). Your vet may start by inducing vomiting, or the stomach might be pumped (gastric lavage). Treatment involves aggressive supportive care – particularly fluid therapy and medications.

Human vitamins

The doses of vitamins for humans and for dogs are different. Human vitamins especially those with iron are dangerous to the pet as too much iron damages the lining of the digestive system. Moreover, because iron is toxic to dogs liver and kidney disorders can also develop.


Ibuprofen, like antifreeze, may smell sweet. Dogs will eat it if they’re found lying on the floor and don’t be surprised if your dog tries to chew threw a bottle to eat the entire contents. This is definitely toxic to dogs. It causes ulceration and perforates the lining of the stomach, and decreases the blood flow to the kidneys.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts, while generally not considered fatal, can cause your dog to experience severe illness. The actual toxin is not known, nor is the mechanism of toxicity. Ingestion of just a handful of nuts can cause adverse effects in any dog.

Macadamia Nut Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/muscle pain, and joint swelling. Onset of signs typically occurs within 6-24 hours.

Dogs are typically treated symptomatically and recover within 24-48 hours. In-hospital supportive care may be recommend for dogs that become very sick.


Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death. Wild mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, or death.


Can cause tremors, seizures and death.

Onions and Garlic

Onions can cause a form of hemolytic anemia called Heinz body anemia, a condition that causes the destruction of red blood cells. Kidney damage may follow.

Toxicity may occur from similar foods such as garlic and chives.

It is not clear what quantity of onions is poisonous, but the effects can be cumulative. Poisoning can result from raw, cooked and dehydrated forms. Avoid feeding table scraps and any foods cooked with onions (including some baby foods). Check your ingredients!

Onion Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs are secondary to anemia, such as pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody urine.

Treatment: blood transfusions and/or oxygen administration may be necessary, followed by specific fluid therapy.

Raw fish

Regular ingestion of raw fish can result to thiamine deficiency that would lead to loss of appetite, seizures and in worst cases could result to the death of the dog.

Rhubarb Leaves

Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.

Rotten or Moldy Foods

Moldy or rotten foods can cause many problems for your dog, some more serious than others. Any food that seems “past its prime” should be kept out reach. Be especially careful to keep your dog away from trash cans.

Botulism, often from garbage, can cause paralysis, slow heart rate, constipation, and urine retention. An antitoxin is effective only if poisoning is caught early enough.

Rotten fruit produces ethanol, causing the same effects associated with alcohol or dough ingestion.

Moldy foods contain toxins that may cause muscle tremors, convulsions and drunkenness.

Therapy depends on the toxin. Your vet may induce vomiting. Sometimes, treatment includes activated charcoal. Supportive care with fluids and medications is often necessary.


Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.


Walnuts are poisonous to dogs.


Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener most often found in chewing gum and candy. In dogs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol ingestion can also cause severe liver damage.

As few as two pieces of gum can be hypoglycemia to a 20 pound dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage.

Xylitol Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs:

Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes and include weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.

Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. The affected dog will likely need to be treated intravenously with dextrose (sugar) and monitored closely for 1-2 days. Many dogs improve with supportive care if treated early enough, though liver damage can be permanent.

Other Foods to Avoid

Certain foods, while not considered toxic, can still be unhealthy for your dog. Avoid any foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium. These foods can contribute to indigestion, obesity, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and more.

Dairy products may be difficult for dogs to digest. Corn cobs and bones can cause GI obstruction. Cooked bones may splinter and break easily, risking GI damage.

Like people, too much junk food can cause poor condition and decreased energy. Remember that your dog is smaller than you and may be sensitive. What seems like “just a bite” for you is more like a small meal for your dog. If you want to feed homemade food, seek advice from your vet. You may wish to meet with a nutritionist for diet recommendations.


Disclaimer: All content provided on, is meant only for educational purposes on health care and medical issues that may affect animals or pets and should never be used to replace professional veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any veterinarian or other medical health care practitioner’s advice, diagnosis or treatment.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Additionally, a 503 Service Unavailable error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.