A List of Foods Dogs Can't Eat

Updated February 21, 2017

According to a poll done by AP and, 48 per cent of American dog-owners have fed or regularly feed pets people food. While it's nice to know pets are loved and treated like family, some food made for people can be harmful or deadly to the furry members of our family.

Caffeinated Foods

Caffeine in pets is toxic to the nervous system and the heart. It is found in coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate. Chocolate is the most well known on the list of what not to feed dogs, and caffeine is one reason. Caffeine is deadly to a dog when the dosage is 180 mg per kilogram (body weight of animal). A teaspoon of coffee contains around 60 mg of caffeine, which means for every 3kg, 8 teaspoons of coffee is lethal. A small dog or puppy would be mostly susceptible to caffeine poisoning.

Chocolate also contains theobromine, which is a natural chemical found in cocoa and is also poisonous to dogs. Dark chocolate is worse for dogs than milk chocolate, but all chocolates should be avoided.

Foods High in Fat

Foods with a high fat content (such as avocados and chicken skin) can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is the swelling of the pancreas, which is an organ that helps with digestion. Eating fatty foods every so often may not cause any problems, but the risk is not something dog-owners should take. Pancreatitis is not always deadly, but it can be painful and last for days or months. Foods high in fat also contribute to obesity in dogs, which can lead to other health problems.


Most nuts are toxic to dogs. Walnuts, in particular, are especially dangerous because of the fungus that attacks the nut after it has got wet, which can happen in a grocery store or in nature. The fungus can cause severe reactions like vomiting, tremors and jaundice. Macadamia nuts are also toxic and can affect a canine's nervous or digestive system and the muscles. All nuts should be avoided because they have high phosphorus levels, which can lead to bladder stones.


While alcohol in humans causes calmness and a let-loose feeling, alcohol in dogs can cause a coma or death. Like humans, too much alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. What some people don't understand is that a dog has a much lighter tolerance than we do and poisoning happens more quickly. A spilt bottle of perfume, after shave or rubbing alcohol could have the same effect as beer, wine or any alcoholic beverage made for humans.


Onions, onion powder or foods containing onions contain sulfoxides and disulfides. These chemicals attack red blood cells in dogs, which can cause anaemia. Although low dosages with large gaps of time in between probably won't cause your dog harm, the best way to ensure your dogs' safety is to avoid onions all together. Cooked, raw or powered onions all have the same effect on dogs.

Garlic also has this effect, although it's not as toxic. In fact, many dog foods contain a hint of garlic, which is fine. Much more garlic would have to be consumed for any problems to occur.


Red grapes, green grapes and sun-dried grapes (raisins) all have the same effect on dogs: potential fatality. Studies are still being done, according to the ASPCA, but what we do know is that raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs, causing kidney failure and can cause death. Just a handful can be enough to start the deadly process of damage to the kidneys.


Foods that may be unhealthy for humans, such as raw eggs, raw chicken, artificial sweeteners, dairy (lactose intolerant) and small bones are also bad for your dogs. Many diseases that humans can get from foods, animals can also get, which is why you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to your dog.

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About the Author

Laila Alvarez has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for Houston Community Newspapers and "L.A. Zoo View," "North O.C. Magazine," "Perpetual Phlegm" and other magazines, newspapers and websites. Alvarez has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University-Fullerton.