Brown chihuahua dog
© Pixabay

10 foods which are poisonous to dogs

By Alice Lang Copywriter

Updated on the

You’re tucking into a tasty dinner and spot those puppy eyes staring up at you - should you give in and give your pooch a spoonful of food? Probably not! There are a number of human foods which are poisonous to dogs - let’s find out what they are.

We get it - you love your dog, and it’s tempting to share your delicious food with them. While some of it might be okay, it’s important to be aware of the foods which are poisonous to dogs - after all, you wouldn’t want your pup to become ill.

Here are the top 10 most common foods which are poisonous to dogs, along with the symptoms you can expect if your pup were to eat them.

The Allium species: Onions, garlic, chives and leeks

They might make our food taste good, but onions and garlic are no good for dogs©Pixabay

Symptoms: Anaemia, weakness, lethargy, lack of coordination, pale gums, vomiting, increase heart rate, red or brown coloured urine, excessive salivation and drooling.

Members of the Allium species contain N-propyl disulfide - which is perhaps as far away from dog-friendly as you can possibly get. The compound is capable of damaging organs, causing organ failure and in severe cases, death. So although garlic and onions might make your dinners taste fantastic, the same can’t be said for your pooch!

Corn on the cob

Symptoms: Sickness, diarrhoea, tiredness, constipation, lack of appetite, abdominal pain.

Corn in itself isn’t toxic to dogs - but that doesn’t mean it poses no danger. You’ll know by now that dogs love chewing just about anything they can get their little paws on - so corn on the cob is like a dream to them!

However, the problem with corn comes when dogs get too keen and gulp down the entire cob or a large section of it. This could lead to an intestinal obstruction which may require surgery and sometimes, lead to death. No matter how cute those puppy dog eyes are, it’s best not to share your next cob with your pooch.


Chocolate is heaven... but not for dogs!©Pixabay

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, high body temperature, irregular breathing, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, coma.

Mmm… chocolate! Dogs love it just as much as us - in fact, we’re pretty sure they’d eat an entire bar if given the chance. But chocolate contains theobromine, a toxin which doesn’t sit well with dogs. Dogs can’t metabolize this compound as well as we can, meaning toxic levels can easily build up within the body.

We know it feels strange that something so delicious could harm your dog - but trust us, it’s best to keep the cocoa away from your pup. And if you're wondering what to do if your dog eats chocolate, know that home remedies are not often safe or successful. If they do get their paws on it, it's best to call your vet right away!

Artificial sweetener (Xylitol)

Symptoms: Vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty walking, depression, seizures, coma.

When it comes to foods which are poisonous to dogs, xylitol is definitely worth mentioning. It’s found here there and everywhere now - in sugar-free drinks, artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, toothpaste… the list goes on!

Although the sweetener is okay for human consumption, it certainly doesn’t agree with dogs. A dog’s pancreas confuses the sweetener for real sugar, causing it to release insulin and remove real sugar in the body. Blood sugar levels then plummet, and it all goes downhill from there - don’t let your pooch anywhere near this ingredient.

Alcohol (and foods which contain alcohol)

Cheers... but keep those beers away from the dog!©Pixabay

Symptoms: Similar to humans - vomiting, wobbly legs, increased thirst, lethargy, disorientation, shallow breathing and in severe cases, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Some of us love a glass of wine or a pint of beer every now and then - but whatever you do, don’t let your pup join in the fun. Dogs, because they’re smaller, have a much lower tolerance to alcohol than we do. On top of this, they’re not used to drinking alcohol at all - so it can lead to some pretty scary consequences.

Macadamia nuts

Symptoms: Weakness, difficulty or inability to walk, vomiting, depression, increased body temperature.

Macadamia nuts are the mystery of foods which are poisonous to dogs - it’s still unknown what actually causes them to be toxic to canines. You shouldn’t give these nuts to your pup at all - unfortunately, even a small amount can cause poisoning.

Grapes and raisins

Fruity and juicy.. but they'll make your dog sick©Pixabay

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, abdominal pain, dehydration, foul breath, ulcers, seizures, coma.

We’ve found another mystery in the foods which are poisonous to dogs! Grapes and raisins are known to make dogs extremely ill - but nobody yet knows why. Even a handful of these tasty fruits can lead to toxicity in dogs. No nibbles allowed!

Coffee & other caffeinated drinks

Symptoms: Increased heart rate, hyperactivity, restlessness, loss of muscle control, seizures, diarrhoea.

While you might need a coffee to wake you up come morning, the same can’t be said for your dog. Caffeine, no matter what form it takes, is extremely toxic to dogs. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a cold cup of milky coffee or an energy drink, your pooch could become seriously ill - sorry pup, no latte’s today!


Yeast can expand in your dog's stomach©Pixabay

Symptoms: Bloatedness, drooling, vomiting, panting, loss of bladder control, behavioural changes.

If you’ve ever made bread, you’ll know exactly what happens to yeast - it rises. And when yeast enters the moist, warm environment which is your dog's stomach, it’ll do exactly that. This causes an intense bloating which can rupture the stomach lining and damage the cardiovascular system. It’s as scary as it sounds - if your pup gulps any yeast, get them to the vet ASAP.

Cooked bones

Symptoms: Vomiting, gagging, excessive water drinking, coughing, pacing, abdominal pain, bloody stools, constipation, loss of appetite. 

Everyone knows that dogs love a bone... right? Well, it's technically true - but cooked bones are actually extremely dangerous for your pup. If you've cooked up a roast, don't be tempting to give your dog one of the bones once cooked.

Cooking bones makes them more brittle - meaning they could easily break teeth, cause mouth injuries, get stuck in the stomach, intestines or windpipe or cause rectal bleeding. On top of this, cooking removes all the nutrition of the bones, so they're pretty much pointless anyway - avoid, avoid, avoid!

So, now you know the 10 most common foods which are poisonous to dogs, you can keep your pooch safe! This is by no means an exhaustive list - always check whether individual foods are safe for your dog before allowing them to eat them.

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