We all like to treat our pups every now and then and it can be really difficult to resist those puppy eyes when you are tucking into your dinner, but there are so many foods that are toxic to dogs that, unless you are absolutely sure, it is just not worth the risk.

If a dog has been exposed to toxic foods, sometimes symptoms can appear almost immediately, but in other cases, the damage may not manifest until years later. If ever you think your dog has consumed anything toxic, always get them checked by a vet straight away – it’s much better to be safe than sorry!

1. Chocolate

Now this is a fairly obvious one that most people are aware of, but sadly there are still many cases of dogs ingesting chocolate, particularly around Christmas and Easter. Theobromine, which is found in coffee beans is highly toxic and it doesn’t take a lot to make your dog sick.

2. Grapes

These are highly toxic to dogs and should never be given as a treat. The same goes for raisins, currants, sultanas and anything from the grape family.

3. Apple seeds

While lots of dogs love to munch on apple as a healthy, refreshing snack, never let them have access to the core as the seeds contain cyanide which can be extremely harmful. If you’re tempted to let your dog have apple, cut slices off for them so you know it’s safe.

4. Alcohol

Why anyone would feed their dog alcohol is beyond me, but people still do it. Even the core ingredients are toxic (grapes, hops, yeast etc). Dogs are not built to process alcohol and their bodies cannot tolerate it, so even small amounts can cause alcohol poisoning.

5. Xylitol

This is an artificial sweetener which is used in lots of foods and products that you may not be aware of. Any amount of ingestion, however small can be catastrophic for dogs. It is commonly found in chewing gum, sweets, drinks and toothpaste, but also in lots of other things like baked goods, so always check the ingredients and make sure you don’t leave anything to chance.

6. Fruit with stones

Many stones found in fruit (for example cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines) can cause serious digestive problems if digested so make sure you avoid them altogether. They can also pose as a choking hazard or block the digestive system leading to emergency treatment. So make sure your fruit bowl is out of reach!

7. Macadamia Nuts

These can make dogs very poorly even in small amounts, so these need to be stored well out of reach. Don’t be tempted to save a bit of your cookie for your pup, he won’t thank you for it later.

8. Onions

It doesn’t matter whether they are raw, cooked or ground, onions are very toxic for dogs. So are chives and leeks, so make sure you are not feeding your dog any leftovers that contain toxic ingredients. Gravy and sauces often contain onion powder so leave these out of your dog’s diet too. You can get specially formulated gravy from pet shops.

9. Garlic

As part of the onion family, garlic poses the same risks to dogs and shouldn’t be on the dog’s menu. Lots of snacks also contains garlic or garlic powder, including some crisps, biscuits, and ready meals so make sure your dog steers clear.

10. Tea and Coffee

Like theobromine, caffeine is a strong stimulant that should be kept away from your dogs at all times to avoid harm. They are more than happy to drink their usual cold water while you enjoy your morning cuppa.

11. Dairy

Many dogs (like people) are lactose intolerant and cannot process the compounds found within dairy products, leading to severe digestive problems. If your dog is lactose intolerant avoid all dairy products, some dogs may be able to tolerate dairy in small amounts, but if you’re not sure it’s not worth taking the chance.

12. Avocado

Some say that the fruit is harmless and it’s just the skin, leaves and stones to watch out for, but others disagree so it’s best to avoid the whole avocado just be safe. They contain persin which is a toxin that can cause sickness and digestive issues in dogs.

13. Rhubarb

If you’re growing rhubarb in your garden be very careful as the leaves are toxic to dogs (and humans).

14. Mushrooms

While some mushrooms are ok for dogs, others are an absolute no-no, so it’s best to just keep away from all of them. You don’t want your dog to get a taste for mushrooms and start foraging when out walking, wild mushrooms are also a huge danger to be aware of.

15. Salt

Too much salt can cause extreme thirst and even poisoning, so it’s best to keep those salty snacks out of reach.

All dogs will react differently if they’ve eaten something that is potentially dangerous but if you leave it too late the results can be fatal, so if you think your dog might have eaten something toxic get advice from your vet immediately.

While it’s nice to treat your dog, they would much prefer to have something that is specifically made and safe for them, so stock up your cupboards with some tasty doggy treats or check out what human foods are safe for your dog to eat.

Sadly, it’s not just food that is toxic for dogs, lots of common plants and can pose a real problem for your pooch. Watch out for our article on plants that are toxic to dogs, coming soon!

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Posted on Categories Advice, Health, News


  1. Donna Howard 25th July 2018 at 8:44 pm

    I was eating hummus and gave some to my 1 year old jug, it’s the first time he’s ever had it , I’ve just read up about it and now really worried about him being ill, do you think I should take him to the vets or shall I just keep a close eye on him, he’s my world and if I knew it was toxic for him I would of never of given it to him

    1. The Canine Directory 25th July 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Donna, personally – if nothing else but to put my mind at rest I would call my vet to see what they advised. Your pup may well be absolutely fine (and hopefully will be), but it can also depend on the amount he has eaten and if he is showing any symptoms. One of the key ingredients in hummus is garlic which can be harmful to dogs, but if it was only a small amount then it may not affect him. I’ve also known plenty of dog owners who regularly give their dogs leftovers with garlic in and it’s never affected them. (Although I would always steer away from garlic, onions, leeks etc for dogs as they are toxic)

      Some pet insurers have an advice line too, so might be worth checking your policy to see if they offer this service.

      Hopefully he’ll be absolutely fine but it’s worth asking for some guidance from a vet / vet nurse. Our pooches are our world and they can be a real worry sometimes. Our Labrador has a habit of eating things she shouldn’t and I’ve contacted the vets a couple of times just to get some advice.

      Unfortunately there are so many things out there that can be toxic for dogs it’s difficult to know what they can have. If I’m ever unsure I’ll always check before I feed my pup anything new.

      Hope he is absolutely fine and that you can stop worrying soon.


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