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what foods are toxic to dogs

What Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?

What you will learn in the article

Your furry four-legged friend is your partner in crime. You want only the best for them – from their morning walk to their healthy treats. Most dog owners find their pets under their feet during mealtimes, but dangerous food for dogs can lead to deadly consequences.

We’ve all spotted our dogs have a cheeky snack on food that’s fallen off our plate or that someone else has given to them. Your dog’s diet is just as important as your own. First-time dog owners find themselves asking their vets questions like, “are grapes poisonous to dogs?” or “is sugar bad for dogs?”. If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide gives an insight on what foods are toxic to dogs, including chocolate poisoning in dogs, garlic, onions, cooked bones, raw meat, raw eggs and what fruit should be kept far away from your furry friend.

what foods are toxic to dogs


Chocolate poisoning in dogs is one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vets. While chocolate might make your mouth water, it’s toxic for dogs as it contains theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals act as a muscle relaxant, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and diuretic. Dogs can’t digest theobromine and caffeine the same way we are. While chocolate poisoning in dogs is rarely fatal, it can lead to kidney failure.

Symptoms to look out for if you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate include hyperactivity, panting, seizures, and extreme thirst. You can also look out for drooling, pacing, and muscle tremors. Although milk and white chocolate have lower theobromine levels, they can still pose fatal for your dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are amongst the most toxic for dogs and can lead to muscle tremors and seizures. Immediately contact you vet after you dog has ingested chocolate!

Garlic and onions

While onions are infamous for giving you bad breath, you might find yourself wondering, “are onions bad for dogs?”. Onions – including those that are cooked – can lead to red blood cell damage and gastrointestinal irritation in dogs. Unlike other foods that are toxic for dogs, you won’t see the signs of sickness until a few days after the onions have been consumed.

Garlic has a similar effect on your dog as it can lead to abnormalities in your red blood cell structure, including agglutination and haemoglobinuria. Early signs to look for if you suspect your dog has been poisoned by garlic or onions is bruising, laboured breathing, and pale gums. One of the most important things to do is to give your dog liquids if you suspect they’ve had garlic or onions.


Although avocado on toast might be your go-to brunch, it can prove poisonous for your pets. When we look for an answer to “is avocado poisonous to dogs?”, we must look at what’s inside the food. Avocado skin contains Persin that can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs. It can also lead to heart muscle damage and tissue necrosis in dogs. Watch out for symptoms that include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and lack of energy.


One food that you might not realise is toxic to dogs is rhubarb. The leaves of a rhubarb can increase salivation in your dog’s mouth and can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Rhubarb is poisonous to dogs as it contains oxalic acid that leads to crystals forming in the urinary tract, damaging your dog’s kidneys. In extreme scenarios, rhubarb can lead to kidney failure in dogs.

what foods are toxic to dogs

Grapes and raisins

You’ll find raisins in most of your favourite sweet treats, but you want to keep them away from your pet. While we’re not sure which active ingredient is toxic to dogs, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure and liver damage. Although grapes are toxic to dogs, it can often take 24 hours for the symptoms to show. You want to look out for changes in their urine, a lack of appetite, and vomiting. Watch out for grapevines that are outside or on your walking path.  

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are bad for dogs as they negatively affect their muscles and nervous systems. You’ll usually notice that your dog has had a reaction to macadamia nuts when they start to pant and have weak or swollen limbs. One of the most popular question dog owners asks is whether walnuts are bad for dogs. Just like macadamia nuts, walnuts and almonds can be toxic to dogs as they can upset their digestive system due to their rich fat and oil concentration.

Cooked bones

We’ve all given our dogs an uncooked bone to chew on after cooking dinner, but you want to keep cooked bones away from your pets. The issue with cooked bones is that they can splinter and cause a perforation of the gut. When bones are cooked, it leads to the bone brittle due to the nutrients that attach to it. In the worst-case scenario, this can prove fatal for your dog. Other potential risks include internal bleeding, broken teeth, and mouth injuries.

Raw eggs, meat, and fish

Raw eggs are a leading cause of dog poisoning as they can contain salmonella. They also contain an enzyme called avidin that can make it difficult for your dog to absorb a vitamin called biotin that’s vital to maintaining their skin and fur health. Raw meat is also at risk of being contaminated with E. coli which can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses in your pets. Raw pork can contain Aujeszky’s disease (or pseudorabies), although uncommon in Western countries, it may still be present (also on boar meat).  Similarly, raw fish carries bacteria that can lead to food poisoning and make your dog unwell.

Salt and sweeteners

We all have a soft spot for salt and sweets. If your dog finds their way into your sweet jar, it can cause them to go into hypoglycaemia. This reaction happens because of an artificial sweetener known as Xylitol that releases insulin into your dog’s body. xylitol is sometimes listed as Birch sugar on food labels. Some salts and sweeteners are toxic to dogs as they can result in blood clotting disorders and liver failure. If your dog consumes too much salt, it can lead to seizures, vomiting, tremors, and diarrhoea. If you find that your dog has eaten any of these, you want to take them immediately to the vets.

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