What Can Dogs Not Eat

Read this to get an understanding of what are the most toxic and dangerous for for Dogs.

I am Dr. Tim a formulation research chemist. As an avid dog lover over the years, I have seen lots of dogs at the Vet because they have eaten foods they should not have.

So I decided to put my research hat on and I have spent many days compiling a list foods including fruits, nuts, and oils that dogs should not eat. From discomfort to allergic reactions through to death - If you a new to dog ownership or have a new puppy then this is a great list for you,

As appropriate I have also looked into Scientific and Veterinary Publicans to make this list as comprehensive as possible. Especially to answer the question- What foods can kill dogs?

Plus as a dog owner with years of experience, I have seen too often how dogs will eat almost anything they can find even if it is harmful to them.

As an owner, it is up to you to oversee your lovely dog and do your best to make sure they do not find food that is dangerous or can harm them, by inspecting your property for this list of foods and securing food storage.

While some of these food items will not kill your dog when eaten in small amounts, moderation is rarely dogdom's strongest suit.

It is better to avoid them completely before your dog develops a taste for them.


Almost twenty-five percent of dog food poisoning comes from dogs eating chocolate. It is just too easy for dogs to find a piece of chocolate and the effects can be serious.

The toxins in chocolate;

  • Theobromine
  • Caffeine

These cause vomiting and then usually episodes of hyperactivity. If the dog ingests a large amount it can lead to a heart attack or seizures. Sometimes even death.

If you suspect your dog has consumed chocolate then get to a vet before these symptoms turn into more serious ones. [Ref 1]

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts or derivatives [Ref 1] (e.g macadamia butter) cause symptoms like

  • Motor difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tremors or paralysis

Fortunately, they are not often fatal but your dog will typically be in a lot of pain

Peanut butter

Small amounts of peanut butter are typically ok for dogs if it is 100% peanuts. But, you need to read the label carefully as some manufacturers add xylitol which is very toxic to dogs.[Ref]


Do not give your Dog Alcohol. [Ref 1]

The Ethanol component interferes with the nervous system. Similar to humans but in a much more severe way.

Even some fermented foods are a risk.

Also noted that Hops in beer contain a toxin that causes what can be a serious rise in body temperature known as malignant hyperthermia. The result is respiratory difficulties, seizures, and death in extreme cases.


Grapes or even raisins contain an unknown compound that can cause kidney failure and even death in dogs.[Ref 1]

Signs are vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures.

Also, reduced urination is a side effect. Take your dog to the vet if you know they have ingested any amount of grapes or raisins because the toxin is digested quite slowly. Even after several hours of your dog eating grapes, the vet will still be able to help.

Pizza dough

Bread that is high in yeast can cause the dough to expand in the stomach, just like in your kitchen.

The result can be serious discomfort by bloating for your dog, which can manifest itself with abdominal pain and difficulty breathing. In severe cases it leads to emergency surgery.

Onions and Garlic

Feeding onions and/or garlic even in tiny amounts to a dog can build up the toxic compounds contained in these items such that your dog can experience the following initial symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

The harmful compounds found in these common household ingredients are - Sulfoxides and aliphatic sulfides.

They are also found in leeks, chives and shallots also.

If you continue to feed your dog these then it can develop more serious symptoms like breathing difficulties, elevated heart rate, and even death. [Ref 1]


Who would have thought - Avocado is harmful to dogs. Avocado has a toxin called persin to which dogs are particularly sensitive

In fact all of the avocado plant is toxic for dogs – the fruit and leaves.

The harmful compound Persin causes fluid accumulation in the lungs and heart leading to difficulty breathing and even heart failure. [Ref 1]

Coffee and Tea

Caffeine, found in tea and coffee is also toxic to dogs.

When a dog has reasonable quantities it causes abnormal heart rhythm and breathing difficulties.

Caffeine is also found in some green and herbal teas.


Never give candy to dogs. [Ref 1]. Candy contains large amounts of refined sugar which can lead to high blood sugar levels and hyperactivity.

When given to your dog regularly, candy can lead to obesity and diabetes.

Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum often contains Xylitol and is toxic for dogs.

You can cause your dog to have a significant drop in blood sugar levels which is likely to lead to depression. Even worse prolonged exposure can cause

  • Movement difficulty
  • Seizures
  • Liver failure


Rhubarb has reasonably high concentrations of oxalates.

Oxalates cause bone weakness and mineral deficiencies because the oxalate removes the calcium and other minerals that help build strong bones.

Oxalates are also reported to cause kidney stones and their associated pain for your dog. [Ref 1]

Apples and other Stone Fruit

Dogs can eat the flesh of apples, peaches, and plums for example - do not feed them the leaves, steams, pips or seeds.

These parts contain amounts amygdalin, which if converted by the body forms hydrogen cyanide. And we all know how toxic this can be.


Nutmeg contains myristicin and can adversely affect the brain of Dogs.

The symptoms observed can be

  • Tremors
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Nausea

Mints and Breath Fresheners

Many mints and breath fresheners contain menthol which will irate your dogs mouth and possibly the intestine. More importantly many of these products may contain xylitol which we have discussed aove.


Sorbitol is an ingredient commonly found in sugar-free and other low-calorie foods.

Sorbitol acts as a laxative and causes diarrhea.


Common sense would say not to do this - but we cover it as a precaution -Do not give your dog any food that is off. Some types of molds can produce toxins that bring on tremors and seizures.

A good rule around molds - if it has mould or smells off - do not give it to your dog.

Also do a check on your garbage or other food bins and make sure they can not be opened.

Wild Mushrooms

As already said above - do not feed your dog anything you would not eat - and the same goes for mushrooms. Ones that you get from the store are usually considered ok for dogs to eat.

However, foraged mushrooms- steer clear of

Mushroom toxicity can range from mild vomiting and diarrhea through to serious reactions and death.

As a rule, don't feed your dog mushrooms you wouldn't eat.

Bay leaves

Many people use bay leaves regularly in cooking - just put them away afterward. These are not too bad and the good thing is they are not typically an attractive snack on their own.

One of the active ingredients that enhance food flavor is eugenol.

This compound will most likely cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in dogs.

Oregano and Mint

The herbs are rich in essential oils. The oils found in oregano and mint cause gastric irritation in dogs.

Again vomiting and diarrhea are common outcomes.

Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds contain the compounds limonene and carvone which again can cause mild intestinal discomfort followed by vomiting and diarrhea.


Cannabis is now legal in many parts of the world so there are more reported cases where dogs have eaten the plant or something made with this plant.

THC which is found in cannabis causes vomiting often in dogs. Plus you can often see a lack of coordination along with low blood pressure and dilated pupils.

You need to watch for tremors, seizures, or even a coma where a large amount have been consumed, or an extreme reaction occurs.


Chamomile flower petals contain the chemicals bisabolol, chamazulene, anthemic acid, and tannic acid. These toxic molecules cause vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, dermatitis and allergic reactions. Their long term use can lead to increased bleeding tendencies.

While these compounds are less in dried chamomile, it is still not recommended to give any to dogs.


Licorice is high in sugar usually which itself is not good but the unique flavor comes from glycyrrhizin.

Glycyrrhizin, in large amounts, can be toxic to dogs. This most likely will cause vomiting, sometimes liver damage, very high blood pressure, muscle weakness and even an abnormal heart-beat rhythm.

Star fruit

Star fruit is likely to cause an adverse reaction to your dog's bowl.

It also has oxalates and caramboxin. We have talked about Oxalates above. However, Caramboxin is a known neurotoxin that can lead to convulsions.

Beef Jerky

Commercially available beef jerky is high salt content, and usually contains substantial amounts of preservatives. You will also find in the flavored varieties a lot of spices (eg. onion and garlic).

We have talked about the effects already above - so it is best to avoid store bought jerky.

Homemade jerky that contains none of the above is ok for dogs to enjoy.


Cinnamon is another product that is rich in essential oils that can irrate your dog's mouth or digestive system.


Persimmons have a laxative effect on dogs. [Ref 1]


Bones are a favorite for dogs (and they are a source of calcium)- but they are a common cause of why dogs end up needing emergency surgery.

Bones can splinter, or the sharp edges can result in a perforated intestine and following infection.

A cooked bone is often dried out and can easily splinter so they are not recommended.

If you are going to give your dog a bone, give a raw bone that is large so they can not swallow it and hard enough so it does not splinter.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus skin and other parts of plants like leaves contain essential oils and psoralen. Vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, and muscle tremors can result for eating these

The fruit's flesh is ok for your dog. It is however very acidic and moderation is suggested.


Dogs can eat dairy in small amounts.

However, dogs cannot digest dairy products, as efficiently as humans.

Feeding your dog large amounts of dairy can lead to diarrhea and abdominal upset.

Final Words On How To Prevent Poisoning Your Canine

The purpose of this list is to outline what human food items dogs should not eat.

If you are feeding your dog something new - do your research first.

Any concerns we suggest that you talk to your vet about new or exotic foods for your dog.

Toxic Food For Pets
Obesity in Dogs And Cats

Tim Is a dog lover all his life and the owner of 3 dogs. He likes the saying - "you are what you eat" and lives by that for both himself and his pets. He is passionate that pet owners should also care about feeding them the right foods.