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20 Foods That Are Harmful to Dogs (Every Owner Must Know!)

Our lovable furry pals bring so much joy and companionship into our lives, and as caring owners, it’s crucial to look out for their well-being. While tossing a few bites to them might seem harmless, some human foods can be seriously harmful. In this blog post, let’s dive into the top 20 foods that are harmful to dogs and understand why they’re a no-go.

Top 20 foods that are harmful to dogs

1. Chocolate

20 foods that are harmful to dogs

Oh, chocolate—a treat for us but a risky business for our furry buddies. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that can mess with a dog’s nervous and cardiovascular systems. Dark chocolate is the riskiest, and symptoms from chocolate ingestion can range from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and, in severe cases, even death.

2. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins, seemingly harmless snacks, are toxic to dogs. The substance causing the toxicity is unknown, but ingestion can lead to kidney failure. Even small amounts may result in severe reactions, including vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain.

3. Xylitol

You should watch out for xylitol, a sugar substitute found in sugar-free gum, candies, and some peanut butter brands. It can have devastating effects, triggering insulin release and causing hypoglycemia in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures, with severe cases leading to fatalities.

4. Onions and Garlic

As much as we love their flavor, onions and garlic are a no-no for dogs. They belong to the allium family, which can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and organ damage.

5. Wild Mushrooms

While mushrooms are a delight for us, certain wild varieties can be life-threatening for dogs. Some contain toxins affecting the liver and nervous system, resulting in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even coma. Quick veterinary attention is crucial if mushroom ingestion is suspected.

6. Macadamia Nuts

Say no to macadamia nuts for your furry friend, as ingestion can cause weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia. While not usually fatal, it can be uncomfortable for your canine.

7. Caffeine

Keep coffee, tea, energy drinks, and medications containing caffeine away from your dog. Ingesting caffeine can lead to restlessness, increased heart rate, and tremors, potentially causing life-threatening conditions.

8. Yeast Dough

Raw yeast dough poses a double threat: it can expand in the stomach, causing bloating and potential obstruction, and as it ferments, it produces alcohol, leading to alcohol poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, disorientation, and respiratory failure.

9. Pitted Fruits

Certain pits and seeds in fruits like peaches, plums, and cherries contain cyanide, a toxic substance. Ingestion may cause difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, and, in severe cases, death.

10. Alcohol

Dogs get intoxicated quickly from even small amounts of alcohol. This can cause disorientation, lethargy, and even respiratory failure and death if too much is consumed. It’s important to keep alcoholic beverages out of reach to prevent harm to your furry friend.

11. Bitter Almond

While sweet almonds are safe for dogs in moderation, bitter almonds contain cyanide and are toxic. Ingesting them can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, and seizures. Do not feed your dog foods that contain bitter almond extracts!

12. Moldy Food

Moldy food can be toxic, with some molds producing mycotoxins, leading to severe health issues. Symptoms include vomiting, tremors, and liver failure. Therefore, always discard moldy food and secure trash bins.

13. Salty Foods

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While a bit of salt is necessary for a dog’s diet, excessive salt intake is harmful. Foods like salty snacks and processed foods can lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms include excessive thirst, urination, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and even death.

14. Nutmeg

Nutmeg, a common spice in our kitchens, contains a compound called myristicin, which can be toxic to dogs. Ingesting nutmeg leads to symptoms such as increased heart rate, hallucinations, and seizures. You must keep foods containing nutmeg out of your dog’s reach to avoid potential toxicity.

15. Rhubarb Leaves

When it comes to rhubarb and dogs, it’s important to know that while the stalks are okay to share with them, the leaves are not. This is because the leaves contain oxalates, which are harmful if ingested by your furry friend. They may experience symptoms like drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it could even lead to kidney damage. To keep your dog safe, only give them the stalks of rhubarb and avoid the leaves altogether.

16. Unripe Tomatoes

Tomatoes themselves are generally safe for dogs, but the leaves and stems contain solanine, a toxic substance. Ingesting unripe tomatoes or parts of the plant may cause symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, and weakness. It’s best to opt for ripe tomatoes and remove any leaves or stems before sharing them with your dog.

17. Corn on the Cob

While corn is not toxic to dogs, the cob can pose a choking hazard and lead to intestinal obstruction. Dogs may be tempted to chew on or ingest the cob, which may cause blockages in the digestive tract. If you want to share corn with your dog, remove the kernels from the cob before offering it as a treat.

18. Raw Potatoes

Potatoes, when cooked and prepared correctly, can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet. However, raw potatoes and green potato skins contain toxic solanine. Ingesting raw potatoes may lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures. 

19. Milk and Dairy

While many dogs are lactose intolerant, even those that aren’t may have difficulty digesting milk and dairy products. Feeding your dog dairy can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and stomach cramps. If you want to offer your dog a dairy treat, choose lactose-free options specifically formulated.

20. Fatty Foods

Dogs can develop pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas if they eat too many fatty foods like fried items and fatty cuts of meat. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can cause organ failure. To prevent your dog from developing pancreatitis, it’s best not to share greasy or fatty foods with them.


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This list is a handy guide to keeping your furry friend healthy and happy. By being aware of potential hazards, we can create a safe and loving environment for our dogs, nurturing their well-being and cherishing our unique bond.

Last but not least…

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.


  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/certain-foods-and-household-products-can-be-dangerous-to-dogs/
  • https://www.webmd.com/pets/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat 
  • https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/what-can-dogs-not-eat
About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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