What Food Is Toxic For Dogs?

December 26, 2020 7 min read

Dog sick from eating bad food

As you rummage through your fridge to find a healthy snack for your dog, you may wonder if you can share some of your favorite foods with your canine friend. However, there are many common ingredients in human food that can be fatal to your dog’s health. With proper education on what dogs can and cannot eat, it may save your pup a life-threatening trip to the vet.

What Foods Are Toxic To Dogs?

Many pet owners learn very on that foods like chocolate and macadamia nuts are deadly to dogs. Some that aren't as commonly known are other poisonous foodstuffs to look out for, such as almonds, ice cream, and seasonings like salt and pepper.

Why Is Chocolate Toxic?

Chocolate is toxic because it contains substances called methylxanthines and theobromine, which are quick to halt a dog’s metabolism and cause an irregular heartbeat. The rule of not to feed your dog chocolate is well-known, but it's sometimes overlooked.

Many dogs suffer when they get into a half-eaten chocolate bar or a piece of leftover cake, which could be prevented by keeping chocolate products inaccessible to your dogs.

Nuts Are Toxic? That's... NUTS!

Macadamia nuts are one of the deadly foods for dogs. Even if a tiny amount is consumed! Researchers haven’t been unable to identify the exact reason why these nuts are so dangerous, but we know that dogs should NEVER munch on these. All we can do is make sure that our macadamia nuts are out of their paw's reach!

Almonds aren’t nearly as deadly as macadamia nuts are, but they should still be avoided. Almonds are difficult to digest and can cause intestinal distress putting your dog at risk of pancreatitis. Make sure to avoid flavored almonds especially, since there's a large amount of salt on those which are very dangerous to dogs.

Don't Share Your Ice Scream

Ice Cream isn't the best treatment for your pup despite how much we may love it. The human frozen yummy treat contains unhealthy amounts of sugar and lactose. Ice cream is especially harmful to dogs that are overweight or lactose intolerant, with risks of diabetes and painful bloating. Even worse, there can also be xylitol present as a sweetener. A fatal ingredient for your dog’s health.

Your Dog Doesn't Need The Spice

Seasonings, such as salt, pepper, and onion powder, are toxic to your dog because they can irritate the lining of the stomach, cause diarrhea or vomiting, and lead to dehydration. If you're going to feed your dog a piece of meat, make sure that it's plain with minimal seasoning salts, but no seasoning at all is best!

Toxic Fruits and Vegetables

While dogs are naturally omnivores, there are a few fruits and veggies that they shouldn’t consume. A few examples of toxic produce include avocado, garlic, onions, grapes, apple seeds, and fruit pits.

Avocado is poisonous to dogs because it contains a toxin called persin. Persin causes a wide range of problems in dogs. The pit of an avocado is particularly rich in person and it is a choking hazard, making it the most dangerous part of an avocado. While dogs are more resistant to persin damage than other animals, it’s still not a good idea to feed it to your furry friend at all.

Apple Seeds are deadly because they contain a small amount of cyanide, which is highly toxic to all life forms. Since apple seeds only release a small amount of cyanide, just a couple seeds won’t kill your dog. However, it should be avoided by all means.

Garlic and onions are toxic because they are of the allium plant species. Other plants of this species are leeks, scallions, chives, and shallots. If ingested by your dog, these plants can cause damage to their red blood cells and even lead to organ damage.

Grapes are one of the most deadly fruits for your pet, and like macadamia nuts, researchers can’t pinpoint exactly what makes them so deadly. If even a small amount is ingested, they can cause kidney failure and even death. Raisins have the same effect on dogs and should be kept away from them.

Fruit pits (such as cherry pits, apricot pits, and peach pits) are toxic. They can obstruct a dog’s digestive tract and act as a choking hazard. Similar to apple seeds, fruit pits contain a form of cyanide which can be fatal if your dog eats enough.

Common Deadly Ingredients

Some ingredients present in our everyday treats and snacks can be fatal to your dog’s health. Xylitol, which can be found in many sweets and candies, is fatal to your pup’s health. Some other toxic ingredients for your pup are yeast, caffeine, and alcohol.

Xylitol (in the form of candy, toothpaste, and chewing gum) is deadly because it can dangerously decrease your dog’s blood sugar, causing them to faint or experience seizures. It can also damage your pup’s liver permanently. This is why peanut butter can be dangerous because xylitol is commonly found on our favorite butter spread.

Yeast is dangerous for your pup because if consumed, it rises in their stomach the way it does in bread. The expansion of your dog’s stomach can lead to serious bloat (GDV. Dogs can also experience alcohol poisoning if they inject yeast since it releases ethanol during digestion.

Caffeine has a larger effect on pets than it does on humans. It can cause hyperactivity, hypertension, and an elevated heart rate if consumed. Your pet may even lose muscle control and have seizures, leading to death. Ingestion of caffeine and any caffeine products should be heavily restricted to your dog.

Alcohol is toxic to dogs in a way that chocolate and caffeine are. A common form of alcohol that dogs consume is ethanol, and another is hops. If consumed, your dog may experience the effects of intoxication, which can cause organ failure and death if left untreated. Be sure to keep alcohol away from your furry friend the way you would a rebellious teenager.

What Human Foods Can My Dog Eat?

Peanut butter, when given in moderation, is a delicious treat for dogs! Before you feed your dog any peanut butter, be sure to check for xylitol in the ingredients list. If there is any xylitol in your peanut butter, it is unsafe to feed your pet. Otherwise, peanut butter makes for a great occasional protein-filled treat!

Carrots are one of dogs’ favorite crunchy vegetables. They are high in Vitamin A and low in calories. Carrots are also great for your dog’s teeth and digestion. At Cali Raw, we include carrots in most of our BARF formulas, since they are packed with so many benefits!

Oatmeal is packed with benefits for your dog’s coat, skin, and bowels. It is high in nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers, making it easily digestible and great for their health. Make sure to feed your dog plain oatmeal, since flavored packs may contain xylitol and other artificial sweeteners.

Coconut oil is great to include on your dog’s dinner plate. It helps with weight loss, brain function, gut health, dental health, and coat health! The best way to feed your dog coconut oil is when it’s unprocessed and organic. It can also be used topically, for things like acne and scars.

Salmon is a great source of Omega-3’s which are great for dogs’ immune systems and coat. Make sure not to feed your dog any uncooked salmon, since there can be parasites present in raw salmon meat. Adding salmon oil to your dog’s meal, like Cali Raw does for each of our formulas, is a great way to give your dogs the benefits of the meat without having to cook it.

For more, read our Human Foods That Are Beneficial to Dogs blog!

Warning Signs if Your Dog Ate a Toxic Food

There are a few signs you want to watch out for if your dog has consumed anything unsafe. If you catch your dog displaying any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Signs of poisoning: 

  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid panting
  • Dizziness or dissociation
  • Seizures
  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to walk
  • Fevers
  • Signs of abdominal pain
  • Changes in frequency of urination

Toxic Ingredients in Common Kibble Brands

Too many dog owners are unaware that there are some toxic ingredients present in their pup’s food bowl. If you feed your dog kibble, it’s very possible that you’re letting a number of harmful substances into their systems. Here are some ingredients to watch out for.

  • Meat by-products
  • Chemical Perservatives
  • Sodium Hexametaphosphate

Meat by-productsare found in many dog food brands, used to meet the protein requirements needed in kibble. Protein is definitely essential for dogs, but animal by-products are definitely not the best source. Meat by-products are not fit for human consumption and include the scrap parts of animals- chicken feathers, roadkill, and ground up animal fat.

Chemical preservatives such as BHA or BHT are dangerous preservatives that have been proven to cause loads of problems in lab rats. BHA and BHT are so dangerous that they are banned in some countries, and are commonly used in rubber and embalming fluid.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate is a chemical common in dental dog foods, used to clean your dog’s teeth. It is unfortunately linked to skin problems, kidney failure, and growth problems. In high dosages, it is extremely dangerous and can hurt your pup’s digestion. Instead, you should brush your dog’s teeth and use external dental products.

For more on kibble and its’ harmful properties, read our What About Kibble Is So Bad

What Should I Feed My Dog Instead of Kibble?

Instead of kibble, you should switch your dog to a BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet. A BARF diet contains human-grade ingredients that are healthy for your pup! Switching to raw food will give your pup a load of benefits, and your pup will be healthier than ever.


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