Food That’s Not Good For Dogs, From A–Z · The Wildest

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Human Foods Toxic to Dogs – From A–Z

Even if they ain’t too proud to beg

by Kate Sheofsky
31 October 2023
brown dog begging for food at table

When you say, ‘I really shouldn’t eat that’, what you mean is it’s probably not the healthiest choice. Well, there are a lot of foods (and drinks) that may not be good for you but are downright deadly to your dog. We asked Dr Elizabeth Shines, DVM, to help us compile a list of food that you should never bring home in a doggie bag. So if you’ve been tossing your pup table scraps, read this:


Alcoholic beverages (and foods cooked with them) can pose serious health risks for dogs. Alcohol poisoning can lead to drops in blood pressure, blood sugar and body temperature. In severe cases, it can even cause seizures or respiratory failure.


Sorry, pup, no avocado toast for you. Avocados contain a toxin called persin, though it’s the pits that pose a real problem: if swallowed, they can cause intestinal blockage.


Caffeinated drinks can cause hyperactivity in humans and animals. But in dogs it can also induce vomiting and tremors, elevate the heart rate and, in severe cases, lead to seizures or death.


Chocolate contains toxins that can cause pretty much all of the above. Of note: the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs. “Chocolate is especially dangerous during the holidays,” warns Dr Shines. “While people may know in general to keep it away from dogs, they may not realise that an eager dog can sniff out – and help themselves to – the chocolate treat that is wrapped up under the Christmas tree.”


Feel free to share bread with your dog, but keep unbaked dough well out of their reach. It can expand in a dog’s stomach and cause an emergency called bloat. To add insult to injury, when the yeast from the dough starts to ferment, alcohol is released into the bloodstream and can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Garlic and onions

Garlic, onions, chives and leeks are vegetables of the allium family – all of which have the potential to be dangerous to dogs. Certain breeds, such as Shiba Inus and Akitas, are particularly susceptible to the toxins found in them. If you’ve done your research, you may be confused because many dog foods contain garlic, not to mention that garlic is considered an all-natural flea repellant (as it changes the taste of a dog’s skin). In large enough doses, though, garlic can cause intestinal upset or anaemia, so all in moderation.

Grapes and raisins

Even small traces of grapes, raisins and currants can cause severe kidney failure in dogs. “I always warn people about the dangers of grapes and raisins,” says Dr Shines. “They seem like they would be a harmless treat but are one of the more common poisons, especially when you consider they find their way into juices, trail mixes, breads and more.” Take care not to let one roll off your charcuterie board.


As the popularity of home-brewing has increased, so too has the occurrence of hops poisoning in dogs. Malignant hyperthermia, vomiting, abnormal clotting, coma and death are all very real risks. Greyhounds, retrievers, St Bernards, Pointers, Dobermann Pinschers, Border Collies, and English Springer Spaniels seem to be more sensitive than other breeds to hops.

Macadamia nuts

A healthy fat for humans, macadamia nuts can cause pancreatitis, hyperthermia, depression, vomiting, joint stiffness and lethargy in your pup.

Stone fruits

“The leaves, stems and seeds of stone fruits such as apricots and peaches contain cyanide,” says Dr Shines, so rethink the fruit bowl centrepiece if you’ve got a counter-surfer.


Xylitol is a sweetener that can be found in everything from gum to fizzy drinks to some brands of peanut butter. It also happens to be highly toxic to dogs, causing a swift drop in blood sugar and acute liver failure. Peanut butter can be a great treat for your pup, so remember to always shop organic and read the label.

If your dog has ingested any of the above, contact your vet immediately, or call the Animal Poison Line at 01202 509000

Kate Sheofsky

Kate Sheofsky hails from San Francisco, where she developed a love of writing, Giants baseball, and houses she can’t afford. She currently lives in Portland, OR, and works as a freelance writer and content strategist. When not typing away on her laptop, she enjoys tooling around the city with her two rescue pups searching for tasty food and sunny patios.

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