Dangerous Foods for Dogs

Catherine Forman

You may have heard that certain people foods are dangerous, even deadly for your dogs.

  • Chocolate - a BIG no-no. Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most dangerous, because they contain more of the problem stuff -- theobromine. This compound is a cardiac stimulant that can cause the dog to become hyperactive, thirsty, and suffer an irregular or increased heart rate. A dog may take up to 24 hours to show signs of theobromine poisoning. And chocolate is not only a danger in the house -- if you use Cocoa Mulch in your garden, your dog is at risk from theobromine poisoning.

  • Onions - onions are dangerous in all forms: raw, cooked, and dried. Onions contain thiosulphate, which causes a form of anemia in pets. Red blood cells burst while circulating through the body. A dog with onion poisoning may not show symptoms for several days, but will develop symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea and breathlessness. Garlic also contains thiosulphates, but in much lower amounts. Garlic is far less dangerous than onions for pets.

  • Macadamia nuts - an unknown compound in macadamia nuts can cause movement difficulties like tremor, weakness, and paralysis. As few as six macadamia nuts can cause symptoms, but most dogs recover from the poisoning with or without veterinary care.

  • Fruit pits - pear and apple seeds, and peach, plum, and apricot pits contain trace amounts of cyanide.

  • Coffee, tea, and sodas - anything with caffeine can be dangerous for dogs, because they can't process it as well as humans can. Caffeine can cause hyperactivity, tremors, and even seizures.

  • Alcohol and Tobacco

  • Raisins and grapes - grapes can be a choking hazard. Both raisins and grapes can cause liver failure in dogs.

  • Yeast dough/bread dough - dough continues to rise in your pet's stomach, producing alcohol and sometimes growing beyond your pet's stomach capacity.

Garbage can foraging can be dangerous because it allows your dog access to moldy or spoiled foods that can make him very sick. Try to keep your garbage can covered, or in a room where your dog isn't allowed!

If you believe your dog has been exposed to something poisonous, stay calm. Call the veterinarian and warn them that you are on your way in with a suspected poisoning. Tell them what your dog ate, how long ago, and what the symptoms are. If you can, bring the container that held the dangerous food, and gather up a sample of what your dog has thrown up or passed. These things may help your veterinarian determine exactly what poisons are involved in your pet's illness.


If you can't get to a veterinarian quickly, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP. The hotline is available twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. There is a small fee for the service.

June 2, 20060 found this helpful

Well my Jack ate an entire small can of Macadamia nuts oh and they were flavored garlic with sour cream. The dog got them off a tall table and snuck the can to a corner and proceeded to eat them while

no one was watching her. These nuts were sent from

Hawaii to us and we scolded doggie. She did not get

sick but had horrid breath til I got her some mint

breath dog biscuits. We were lucky.

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June 3, 20060 found this helpful

thanks for posting this! i had no idea! my little lola enjoys her table scraps but this will make me look twice before sneaking her a scooby snack!

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October 11, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is it true that you can't give potoes to dogs? I have a small Chihuahua.

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October 11, 20150 found this helpful

Dogs can have cooked potatoes. But I wouldn't feed potatoes to a chihuahua.

Two reasons: First, chihuahuas are very small and gain weight easily. Starchy foods like potatoes will cause this weight gain.

A chihuahua gaining a few ounces is like you or me gaining extra pounds. You can easily get an overweight dog.

The second reason: It is a bad idea to feed very small dogs human food. They tend to have delicate digestive systems and will often get constipation, then diarrhea, then constipation again, over and over. I know small dog owners who think this is normal, but it isn't.

If you have a small breed dog: Don't feed human food. Find a high quality dog food and stick with it. Don't feed lots of treats. They are "junk food" for dogs and are high calorie with poor quality ingredients.

If you resist the urge to feed your cute little dog everything he happens to want he will have fewer upset stomach problems. You wouldn't want to always be sick to your stomach and your dog doesn't either. And he will have less weight on which means more energy, better breathing, and better quality of life.

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October 12, 20150 found this helpful

If you decide to give your dog potatoes;never give it a raw potato and sweet potatoes are in some dog foods and is nutritious. Always give any human food to the little tot very small portions and not make it a daily habit.

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October 18, 20150 found this helpful

I have four chihuahua's. The only people food my vet said was okay is a little cottage cheese once in a while and also a few Cheerios mixed with a small amount of Nutri-Cal (obtained from vet). This is given by itself when a small dog is suffering from low blood sugar. Hope this helps.

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