Toxic Foods for Dogs

Toxic Foods for Dogs


Do you ever give your dog scraps from the dinner table? We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. Although this may seem like an innocent gesture it could turn into a scary emergency trip to the vet if the wrong food was consumed. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you we’ve compiled a list of foods you should never give to your dog.


1. Chocolate


Although a delicious treat for many pet parents, chocolate is a food not to be ingested by dogs. The component responsible for toxicity is the amethylxanthine alkaloid, theobromine, an alkaloid found in higher quantities the darker (higher ratio of cacao solids) the chocolate is.[i]


2. Raisins and Grapes


The ingestion of grapes could cause renal failure in your dog with as little as 10-57g of fruit per kg[ii]. At this time the component in grapes that cause toxicity is unknown.


3. Xylitol


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many human food products. Unfortunately, because of xylitol’s anti-microbial activity, it can also be found in pet products, including some drinking water additives for dental health[iii]. In dogs, it stimulates insulin release, which can lead to dramatic drops in blood glucose levels resulting in hypoglycemia and even liver failure[iv]. Vomiting is usually the first sign of xylitol poisoning and doses as low as 0.03g/kg have resulted in hypoglycemia.


4. Avocados


The avocado fruit, pit, leaves and the actual plant are all toxic to dogs. The component responsible for this is a fungicidal toxin called persin. The dose at which clinical symptoms start to show are unknown at this time[v]


5. Coffee


The theobromine found in chocolate is also found in coffee making it another substance that could cause toxicity affects in your dog.


6. Onions


The ingestion of as little as 15g/kg of onions could cause damage to red blood cells in dogs leading to haemolytic anaemia[vi]. The component contained in onions responsible for this toxicity is n-propyl disulphide. Be careful to read product labels carefully as dried onion is added to many foods prepared for human consumption.


7. Macadamia nuts


The component of macadamia nuts considered toxic to dogs is unknown and the dosage range is large but still pet parents are advised to keep dogs from ingesting. Symptoms of macadamia toxicity include difficulties with movement, weakness, dyspnea, tremors and swollen limbs[vii]



8. Plants


It’s not just the foods in your home that could be toxic to your dog but the plants in and around the home. The following is a list of poisonous plants to avoid compiled by the pet poison help line[viii]:


  1. Autumn Crocus
  2. Azalea
  3. Cyclamen
  4. Kalanchoe
  5. Lilies
  6. Oleander
  7. Daffodils
  8. Lily of the Valley
  9. Sago Palm
  10. Tulips



Rickilee Walls is the chief medical herbalist for TGIPT, and co-founder of, a herbal supplement company for dogs and cats. A passionate educator, Rickilee enjoys teaching pet parents about herbal medicine and how to make their own herbal remedies for their pet. She is an advocate for the environment discouraging the use of endangered plant species and encouraging sustainable practices.

[iii] Murphy LA, Coleman AE Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2012 Mar; 42(2):307-12, vii.

[iv] Retrospective evaluation of xylitol ingestion in dogs: 192 cases (2007-2012). DuHadway MR, Sharp CR, Meyers KE, Koenigshof AMJ Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2015 Sep-Oct; 25(5):646-54.

[vi] Desnoyers M. Anemias associated with Heinz bodies. In: Fedman BF, Zinkl JG, Jain NC, editors. Schalm's veterinary hematology. 5th edn. Baltimore,Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000. pp. 178–180

[vii] Knott E, Gürer CK, Ellwanger J, Ring J, Darsow UJ Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008 Nov; 22(11):1394-5.


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