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Harmful Foods for Dogs - Human Food Dogs Should Avoid

Many of the foods we think of as delicious, and even healthy, can be quite dangerous for dogs to eat and should be avoided. Indulging dogs with table scraps, or leaving tasty morsels where your dog can reach them can lead to accidental poisoning. While individual cases will vary according to breed, weight, and other factors – in general dogs should avoid the food on this list to avoid accidents.


Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

ChocolatePlease do not be tempted to give human chocolate to your dog, and take care that it isn't left anywhere that inquisitive noses can discover it. Chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain substances which, when ingested by dogs, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate and baking chocolate are more dangerous than milk chocolate and white chocolate, however avoiding all human chocolate is the safest option for your dog.



Alcohol is extremely toxic to dogs and it only takes a small amount to kill them. Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Alcoholic drinks aside, alcohol can be found in some surprising places. Rum-soaked cakes or other unbaked deserts containing alcohol may contain enough alcohol to cause poisoning in pets. 



AvacadoWhile the flesh of the avocado fruit is highly nutritious and included as an ingredient in some manufactured pet foods, this fruit often appears on lists of human foods which should be not be consumed by dogs. There is a choking danger from swallowing the seed of an avocado. The leaves and bark of the avocado tree along with the skin and seed of avocado fruit as contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. 


Macadamia Nuts

Macademia NutsNuts are typically good for us, and for our dogs, but there are some exceptions. Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and cereals and sweet treats, however, they can cause problems if eaten by your canine companion. Macadamia nuts have been known to cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. 


Grapes & Raisins

Grapes RaisinsOriginally thought to be an urban legend, it is now known and well documented that raisins and grapes are indeed toxic to some dogs. Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs. The most common early symptom of grape or raisin toxicity is vomiting, usually within a couple of hours of ingestion. Next, the dog may develop diarrhea, excessive thirst, excessive urination or lethargy and muscle weakness. Acute kidney failure from a toxic dose of grapes or raisins will usually develop within 1-3 days. Symptoms of kidney failure include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal pain, and tremors or seizures. If the toxicity progresses, the kidneys will shut down and the dog will not produce any urine.


Yeast Dough

Yeast DoughYeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, dogs can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not form a significant part of your dog's daily diet.



Xylitol - Sweetener

XylitolXylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol, and in nature it is found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other hardwood trees and fruits. Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, sweets and candies, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to lowered sugar levels. Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. 


Onions, Garlic, Chives

OnionThese vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. If a large amount of onion is eaten at one time sudden anaemia may develop. If the dog eats a small amount of onion every day for many days, he may gradually develop anemia over weeks or months. Garlic can cause the same problems as onions, but as garlic tends to be used in small quantities dogs aren't likely to ingest a toxic quantity. Typical symptoms of onion toxicosis are classic signs of anemia and low oxygen such as lethargy, weakness, red urine, decreased stamina, and pale or bluish gums, especially with exercise. 



milkJust like people, some dogs can suffer from lactose intolerance while other dogs have no problems digesting dairy products. In order to be able to digest lactose, the enzyme lactase is required. Many dogs do not have the ability to produce significant amounts of lactase and as a result consuming fresh milk and other milk-based products can cause them diarrhea or other digestive upsets. Hard cheese, cottage cheese and yoghurt contain significantly less lactose than milk. Lactose-free milk is a widely available alternative.


Corn on the Cob

Corn on the CobCorn on its own is not a danger to dogs, however the cob is undigestible and, if swallowed, can cause serious problems. While the corn kernels can be digested the cob can lodge in the small intestine, and if it’s not removed surgically, can cause a blockage which may prove fatal to your dog. Corn kernels in large quantities can upset the digestive tract as well so be cautious to not feed to much.



SaltLarge amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in dogs. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Sharing your take-away left-overs with a four legged friend is really not to be advised.