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Dog Poisonous Foods

Some dog poisonous foods are fairly obvious, but many are common edibles that you probably wouldn't think twice about using - unless you were aware of their dangers.

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Puppies in particular are notorious for getting into things they shouldn't, and they tend to operate on the assumption that everything is edible until proven otherwise.

If your little guy thinks it's perfectly okay to eat that cardboard box, he won't think twice about snacking on anything that you leave lying around!

So, keep Fido safe by making sure he never gets a chance to eat (or drink) any of the dog poisonous food or grocery items below.

List of Dog Poisonous Foods


Dogs should never drink alcohol, not even a sip of beer!

Depending on the amount of alcohol ingested it can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Death

Hops (which are in beer) can cause:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Seizures
  • Death


Avocados contain a toxin called Persin which can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal problems

The Avocado pits are also a danger in terms of:

  • Choking
  • Intestinal or bowel obstruction

Candy & Gum

Candy that contain the sweetener Xylitol which can cause:

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Liver failure

Hard candies of all sorts are the ones most likely to contain Xylitol, but other candies and gum (even sugarless gum) can also have Xylitol as an ingredient.



Chocolate contains large amounts of natural stimulants called Methylxantines.

The darker the chocolate the higher the concentration of these compounds and the more danger to your dog.

Even white chocolate can cause problems.

Cocoa powder has similar dangers and cocoa beans are extremely toxic.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include:

  • Nervousness
  • Extreme panting
  • Seizures
  • Death

It's important to be especially careful during holidays such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas, when lots of chocolate and candy is in your home.

You can learn more about what happens when a dog eats chocolate and what to do to keep him safe on my Help - My Dog Ate Chocolate! page.

Citrus Fruit

The peel, pith and seeds of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes.) can cause  irritation to your dog's digestive system, especially if eaten in large quantities.

Grapefruit has the potential to actually be toxic to your dog.

The peel, pith and seeds of grapefruit are the most dangerous as they contain chemical compounds which can cause:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Photo-sensitivity (light sensitivity)
  • Drooling
  • Trembling
  • Death

If your dog ingests grapefruit have him examined by a veterinarian right away so that you can make sure that he is safe.

Grapes & Raisins

These can be dangerous to your dog and cause a bad reaction if ingested.

Symptoms of toxicity can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Renal (kidney) failure


Mushrooms can be poisonous to dogs.

Mushrooms contain toxic compounds which can cause serious problems such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

Iron Tablets, Vitamins 

Iron tablets, or vitamins that include iron (including pre-natal vitamins) can cause serious problems for dogs, potentially even fatal ones.

Initial signs of toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Although symptoms may seem to improve, within 12 to 24 hours your dog could relapse and experience:

  • Shock (signs incl. weakness, lethargy, low BP, difficulty breathing)
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure


Cigarettes, E-cigarettes, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all highly toxic to dogs and can kill Fido very quickly.

Symptoms (or even death) can occur in as little as one hour!

Signs of nicotine poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rate (high)
  • Drooling
  • Trembling
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Collapse
  • Death

If treated quickly a dog can often be saved or the damage reversed, but there is NO TIME to wait and see.

If you think Fido may have ingested nicotine in ANY form, get him to your vet or an emergency vet immediately.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are surprisingly toxic to dogs.

They can cause temporarily paralysis - which is obviously very dangerous.

Onions & Garlic

Onions and garlic contain a toxin called Thiosulphate.

Symptoms of dog poisoning from onions or garlic usually begin as:

  • Digestive system upset (diarrhea and/or vomiting)
  • General fatigue and weakness

Thiosulphate affects the red blood cells in your pup's body.

Within a few days symptoms could progress to include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Death

Garlic is more dangerous than onions, approximately 3 - 6 times more dangerous.

Toxicity levels for onions is 0.5% of a dogs body-weight, or approx 15/30mg per kg of body weight. For garlic it is 5mg per kg of body-weight.

In general it's best to just avoid giving you dog ANY amount of onions or garlic.

Peanut Butter

Yes, you read that right... peanut butter!  

BUT not all peanut butter, just some of them.

This is a new development because recently SOME manufacturers have started adding Xylitol (see above) to their recipes.

So, always check the ingredient list on your jar of peanut butter closely if your pet is going to be sharing your peanut butter.

Uncooked Yeast Dough

This may sound like an odd addition to a dog poisonous food list, but it's really pretty obvious once you think about it.

If uncooked dough expands inside your pups tummy it can cause internal damage.

Less obvious is the fact that as the dough rises it can form alcohol and result in alcohol poisoning (see symptoms above)

Dog Poisoning Protocol

With a lot of the above poisonous foods and toxins it doesn't take very much to make your dog seriously ill.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE if you even just think your puppy or dog has ingested dangerous or poisonous foods. Every minute counts in these situations!

If your pet has only ingested a small amount of one of these poisonous foods and is experiencing some vomiting, diarrhea or other fairly mild symptoms, you may be inclined to think that everything is okay.

BUT you should always get veterinary help, or check with your local poison control center, because the real damage may not show up right away.

In some cases symptoms gradually worsen over a period of hours, or even days, and if you 'wait and see' it could be too late for your precious puppy by the time you seek help.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number is 1-888-426-4435 or 1-800-548-2423.
(There may be a $65 charge for this service)

The ASPCA has a mobile app which can help keep your pet safe no matter where you are. Check it out here... ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center App 

Being prepared can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

I'd also suggest visiting my Dog Poisoning page to learn more about common household items that are toxic to dogs, and what to do if you suspect Fido has ingested something dangerous.

› Foods Poisonous To Dogs

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