Dog people know that dogs are often on the lookout for a secret snack. While most human food is only likely to cause an upset tummy, at worst, certain foods are downright unsafe for our pets. We’ve compiled an easy-to-reference list of dangerous foods for dogs from resources including the ASPCA, the Humane Society, and the American Animal Hospital Association. Be careful when storing these foods, ensuring they’re well out of reach of even the most clever dogs. You know just how persistent a curious pup can be!
Foods to keep away from dogs
1. ALCOHOL/ETHANOL Alcohol is especially toxic to dogs–much more so compared to humans. Dogs that have ingested a sip or two should be monitored closely, but dogs who have had a full drink and are obviously inebriated need to be watched by a veterinarian until the effects wear off.
2. APPLE SEEDS Learn more here. A small quantity isn’t a big deal, but apple seeds do contain very low amounts of cyanide. If your dog eats a lot of apples, this could become a problem.
3. APRICOT PITS Apricot pits are a choking hazard.
4. AVOCADO The fruit is fine, but the pit and skin are bad news. A chemical called persin is to blame. Symptoms of ingestion include stomach upset, and dogs have also been known to choke on avocado pits.
5. BREAD DOUGH The yeast in bread dough can cause multiple problems for dogs, from distending their stomachs to airway blockage. When the yeast multiplies, it creates alcohol, which can cause alcohol intoxication. Symptoms of illness from bread dough ingestion include disorientation, malaise, and vomiting and/or eating grass in an attempt to induce vomiting.
6. CANDY See the information under chocolate and xylitol.
7. CHOCOLATE AND COCOA POWDER Probably the best known of the foods that can make dogs ill, chocolate in any form should stay off limits for the sake of your pet. The caffeine is just part of the problem. Theobromine is the compound that causes the most issues—like caffeine, it’s in the methylxanthine chemical family—and it’s found in greater concentrations in darker chocolates. Symptoms of ingestion may include thirst, agitation, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, muscle tremors, high body temperature, and irregular heart rhythm. Seizures and death may also result. The ASPCA’s Poison Control Helpline received more than 25 calls a day in 2013 from dog owners whose pets accidentally ingested chocolate.
8. CHERRY PITS
9. COFFEE The caffeine in coffee and coffee grounds is bad for your dog and can cause restlessness, tremors, abdominal discomfort, and excessive bleeding. Prompt medical attention is necessary.
10. FALLEN FRUIT Because fruit that’s fallen from trees can be moldy, keep your dog well away from it. See the listing for mold, below. Note where the fruit trees are in your neighborhood and remember to avoid these areas during their peak season.
11. GARLIC See the information for onions, below.
12. GRAPES AND RAISINS Grapes and raisins are seriously dangerous to dogs, though veterinarians aren’t sure exactly why. Initial symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, and kidney failure can eventually result.
13. GUM See the information under xylitol, below. In addition to being dangerous because of this artificial sweetener, gum is also very hard for dogs to digest and can cause intestinal blockages when eaten in large quantities.
14. HOPS It might seem cute to give your dog a sip of beer, but just don’t do it. Hops from home beer brewing and beer can raise dogs’ body temperature alarmingly high—xyas much as 108 degrees Fahrenheit, which can lead to seizures and multiple organ failure.
15. MACADAMIA NUTS
16. MUSTARD SEEDS
17. MOLDY OR SPOILED FOODS Keep your compost bin or trash can protected from your curious pup. Moldy food can be deadly if it contains tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause muscle tremors and even convulsions.
19. ONIONS AND ONION POWDER, SHALLOTS, AND GREEN ONIONS Plants in the allium family like onions and garlic, whether cooked or raw, are bad news for your dog, as they affect red blood cells. The stronger the onion, the more damage can be done more quickly. The damage may not become apparent for several days (up to 5 days), so be vigilant about keeping these far from your dog’s reach.
20. PEACH PITS
21. POTATO LEAVES AND STEMS (green parts)
22. RAISINS See grapes, above.
23. RHUBARB LEAVES
24. SALT Best not to leave your salt out on the table if your dog is a jumper or climber. Salt is no good for dogs for the same reasons why it’s harmful to humans in large doses—blood pressure issues.
25. TEA LEAVES The caffeine in tea leaves is very problematic for dogs. See the listing for caffeine, above.
26. TOMATO LEAVES & STEMS
28. XYLITOL Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that’s commonly used to sweeten sugar-free gum and candy. Even in very small doses, it can make dogs extremely ill within minutes, leading to a severe drop in blood sugar and possible seizures.
29. YEAST See bread dough, above.
We tons of great articles on foods dogs can and cannot eat, from snacks and fruit to dry goods, meats, and dairy. Check them out here.