Eight harmful foods for dogs

It is a well-known fact that certain foods are toxic for dogs, but there are several other foods that can be just as harmful to your pet’s health.  Here’s a breakdown of eight items you should keep away from Fido.  At the end, you’ll find four safe suggestions.


Chocolate is probably the one food all dog owners know not to feed their pet, but most people probably don’t know why.  Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is a stimulant and a diuretic.  A dog might seem unaffected after eating a large quantity of chocolate, but it can take several hours for symptoms to appear. Symptoms can include: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, labored breathing, arrhythmia, tremors, seizures, coma and even death.  If your pet is not treated promptly, he or she could die within 24 hours.

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic are other foods commonly found around the house that are harmful for dogs.  Both have a toxic ingredient called thiosulphate.  Onions have more thiosulphate than garlic, so they are more harmful to your pet.  Dogs that have eaten onions can develop haemolytic anemia, a condition where the red blood cells burst while circulating in the body.  A dog can develop other symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine and liver damage.  Be careful when giving your dog table scraps to make sure there are no onions or garlic.


Avocados contain a substance called persin.  It’s harmless for humans, but it can be toxic for dogs if eaten in large amounts.  If you grow avocados at home, make sure to keep your dog away from them because persin is found in the leaves, seeds and rind, not just the fruit.

Grapes and raisins

Many dog owners give grapes to their pet as a treat, but it’s actually not a good idea. It isn’t totally clear why, but eating grapes or raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs.  A very small amount can be toxic for a dog.  Repeated vomiting is often a symptom of kidney failure.  The dog may also become lethargic and depressed.

Macadamia nuts

Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or any foods containing them. It takes as few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts to make a dog sick. Symptoms can include: tremors, weakness or paralysis of the limbs, vomiting, fever and rapid heart rate.


If you share salty snacks with your dog, remember to keep it to a minimum.  Too much salt can lead to excessive thirst and urination and can cause sodium ion poisoning.  Symptoms of too much salt include: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, fever, seizures and sometimes even death.

Safe foods

The best way to ensure your dog stays healthy is to make sure he is eating a quality dog food that gives him all the necessary nutrients. This doesn’t mean you can’t give your dog human food as a treat, but if you do, make sure you only give them:

  • lean meats (thoroughly cooked, no fat, no bones)
  • some fresh fruits (apples, oranges, bananas and watermelon)
  • some vegetables (carrots, green beans, cucumbers and zucchini)
  • cooked white rice and pasta

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