What foods are toxic to dogs?

Is there anything that causes panic more than the realization that your dog just ate a chocolate bar? Well, these ten foods are also toxic for dogs, and may bring on just as much panic. Here's how to steer clear.

Dogs love to eat, but there are some foods that should always be avoided.
Dogs love to eat, but there are some foods that should always be avoided.  © Unsplash/龙赵

There are very few foods more dangerous and likely to cause harm to your dog than a lovely piece of dark chocolate, yet such a sweet tooth isn't the only risk that faces your perfect pooch when it ventures into the kitchen cabinet.

Indeed, a shocking number of humans foods are viciously dangerous for dogs and can cause not only some pretty nasty food poisoning, but sometimes death.

So what foods are toxic to dogs? These ten foods are the most toxic food for dogs and are likely to cause great harm when consumed.

Dog politely knocks on neighbors' door for the sweetest reason!
Dogs Dog politely knocks on neighbors' door for the sweetest reason!

Why are they so dangerous, though, and how much is too much?

Why are some foods toxic to dogs?

Human bodies are not the same as dogs', and our canine companions will need very different things from their food. That same physiological difference, though, will mean that some foods deemed perfectly okay for humans have the potential to poison dogs, and can be very dangerous.

Of course, we should never go and feed our doggos raw meat or eggs, as bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli will attack your dog in the exact same way it would attack you. Other issues, like those associated with nut allergies, are also relevant to both humans and dogs. Some foods, though, are simply toxic for dogs while being completely okay for humans.

The reason why a certain food is toxic to dogs but not humans is specific, of course, to the food and dog in question. As a result, it is best to simply adopt a philosophy that says ,"Maybe I shouldn't feed my non-human dog food that is mean for a human."

While giving your dog a piece of cheese or a sliver of steak every now and again is okay, simply make sure that you feed your dog mostly food that is designed for, well, dogs. If you do so, and keep these toxic foods in mind as well, everything should be fine for your pup.

Top 10 foods toxic to dogs

Simply feeding your dog food that has been specifically designed for a doggy diet is a good step to take, but does not mean you can be clueless of what's safe and what's not. Learning which foods are toxic for dogs is important because your beloved pet is likely to eat scraps off the floor and steal food from time to time.

If you have caught your dog eating something that's toxic, you need to react appropriately. These ten foods are the most poisonous and toxic for dogs, and should always be avoided.

Important: If your dog has eaten toxic food, it should be taken immediately to the veterinarian. There's no space for question, nor a need to wait and observe for symptoms. When in doubt of poisoning, take it to the vet ASAP.

Dogs should never eat corn, as it can cause some very serious stomach problems.
Dogs should never eat corn, as it can cause some very serious stomach problems.  © Unsplash/Wouter Supardi Salari

10. Corn on the cob

While corn is perfectly okay for dogs, and is actually featured as an ingredient in many dog foods, corn on the cob is completely indigestible for your perfect pooch. Due to this inability to digest corn on the cob properly, a dog who has consumed it risks having to undergo serious surgery.

In extreme circumstances, the vegetable can cause such severe damage that it leads to death.

9. Avocado

Avocados are delicious, but they're not for dogs.
Avocados are delicious, but they're not for dogs.  © Unsplash/Bethany Randall

The flesh of an avocado contains persin, a chemical that is toxic to dogs. It's worth noting, of course, that the nut of the avocado contains a far higher concentration than the flesh, and a small amount of avocado flesh may be okay if accidentally eaten.

If your doggo does eat a significant amount of avocado, though, it could lead to heart failure and even death.

8. Chicken bones

When you eat chicken, never let your dog chew on the bones.
When you eat chicken, never let your dog chew on the bones.  © Unsplash/K Kannan

Your dog is not "allergic" to the bones of a chicken, and technically the bones are not "toxic," but they are extremely dangerous.

Unlike more solid bones, like those of a cow, chicken bones are extremely brittle. As a result, if your dog chews on a chicken bone, it is likely to shatter, lodging sharp bones into your dog's mouth, and down its throat.

Such a disaster can cause serious bleeding, both internally and externally, and can quickly kill a dog if severe enough.

Important: Due to the risks associated with bones breaking down while being chewed by dogs, it is best to only ever provide your dog with a bone you have purchased from a pet store that are safe for dogs. This way, you are guaranteed the highest-quality and strongest product around.

7. Raisins or grapes

Raisins and grapes contain substances that are highly toxic for dogs.
Raisins and grapes contain substances that are highly toxic for dogs.  © Unsplash/Syed F Hashemi

Grapes are potentially life-threatening for any dog, whether it is a raisin, sultana, or juice. This is due to the extreme risk of kidney injury and anuria brought on by the small fruits.

If your puppy consumes more than 2–3 grapes, or your fully grown (10-pound-plus) doggo consumes more than 8–12 grapes, it runs the risk of kidney failure, which can be both fatal and extremely painful.

6. Caffeine

Coffee is extremely dangerous for dogs, so keep them away from it.
Coffee is extremely dangerous for dogs, so keep them away from it.  © Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao

When a dog consumes caffeine, the symptoms will generally begin about 30 minutes afterward. Sadly, caffeine is so severely toxic to dogs that the symptoms can last as long as twelve hours, and can be fatal.

This means that dogs cannot have coffee, should never be given tea, and should be kept away from chocolate and other snacks that include caffeine.

5. Nuts

Nuts are delicious, but can be highly toxic for dogs.
Nuts are delicious, but can be highly toxic for dogs.  © Unsplash/Maddi Bazzocco

It is true that some nuts, such as Brazil nuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and cashews, are okay for your dog in small quantities. Sadly, though, nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios are all seriously dangerous and could be potentially poisonous for your dog.

We go deeper into detail on nut-toxicity for dogs here, but it is worth also mentioning that dogs can run the risk of anaphylaxis as well, and should be checked before any nut consumption.

4. Dairy

Dogs are lactose intolerant, so they should never drink milk.
Dogs are lactose intolerant, so they should never drink milk.  © Unsplash/Ahmadreza Rezaie

In small quantities, milk is relatively safe for dogs. In general, though, it is worth understanding that dogs are lactose intolerant and will respond badly to large quantities of dairy.

While not "toxic" per-say, milk and other lactose-containing products can cause your dog to experience severe diarrhea, vomiting, and extreme discomfort.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is very dangerous for dogs, and for any animal.
Alcohol is very dangerous for dogs, and for any animal.  © Unsplash/Adam Wilson

Alcohol poisoning is a very serious and a potentially deadly condition for your dog. Even very small amounts of alcohol have the potential to cause real harm, and should be avoided at all cost.

Dogs that have consumed alcohol will see their gastrointestinal system, central nervous system, heart, and respiratory system all affected. In particular, a dog's liver and kidneys are likely to fail upon alcohol consumption.

2. Onions and garlic

Onions, garlic, and all allium ingredients are highly poisonous for both dogs and cats.
Onions, garlic, and all allium ingredients are highly poisonous for both dogs and cats.  © Unsplash/Sincerely Media

Dogs cannot eat any member of the allium family – that includes onions, garlic, leeks, etc. If they do consume any of these plants, they will find themselves at the risk of poisoning, leading to not only nasty side effects like vomiting and diarrhea, but multiple organ failure and death.

Garlic is so poisonous that dogs have been known to die from small amounts eaten off the floor after their humans have cooked a meal.

1. Chocolate

Chocolate can kill dogs, so you need to be extremely careful.
Chocolate can kill dogs, so you need to be extremely careful.  © Unsplash/Tetiana Bykovets

Chocolate is famous for how unbelievably toxic and dangerous it is for dogs. This potentially deadly treat can cause organ failure, as well as a vast array of nasty and extremely painful symptoms.

If your doggo is ever caught having eaten chocolate, you must immediately take it to the veterinarian. In the worst cases, dogs can die from chocolate poisoning within hours of having consumed the stuff.

Always be careful what you feed your dog

Whether you have been careful about foods that are specifically dangerous, you should still avoid giving your dog any human food. It is just simply not healthy for your beloved four-pawed friend. The fluffy little dude will enjoy, of course, but will face the risk of obesity and other health issues if you consistently give it human food.

Ultimately, though, it should all come down to what your vet recommends. Make sure to consult your veterinarian on what your dog's diet should consist of, and stick to it through-and-through.

Cover photo: Unsplash/龙赵

More on Dog Guide: