31 Foods Dogs Should NOT Eat (& 42 Foods They Can!)

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It’s tempting to give your good boi a snack — especially when he’s giving you those puppy-dog eyes. You’re ready to toss him a small piece of what you’re eating, but wait, safety first! Some foods that are healthy for humans can be toxic for dogs.

Here is a list of food dogs should NOT eat, plus simple explanations why these foods are dangerous, what to do if your dog accidentally eats some, and some safe & healthy alternative snacks for your dog.

11 foods that are toxic for dogs

We start off with our list of foods that dogs should NOT eat, in any amount & under any circumstance. These 11 foods contain toxins that are known to be dangerous to dogs:

  • Chocolate — contains a toxin called theobromine, which is a stimulant for dogs that may cause vomiting & diarrhea in small amounts. In large amounts it can cause heart failure, seizures and death. The darker & more bitter the chocolate the more dangerous it is, but even milk chocolate and white chocolate are unsafe.(1)
  • Grapes & raisins — the toxin in grapes & raisins has not been identified; however even small amounts of these foods are toxic, causing sudden kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting & diarrhea, a decrease in urine volume, excessively high blood pressure and death.(2)
  • Onions & garlic — onions & garlic, and other members of the Allium family such as chives & leeks, contain a toxin called thiosulfate that causes anemia in dogs. It takes days or weeks after ingestion for symptoms to develop, which include pale gums, rapid heart rate and dark-colored urine.(3)
  • Macadamia nuts — the toxic substance in macadamia nuts has yet to be identified, but they are highly toxic to dogs. As little as 6 macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, fever and muscle weakness.(4)
  • Avocados — the leaves, skin and pit of this fruit contain a toxin called persin, which is poisonous to dogs.(5) While the flesh of the avocado fruit is safe in small amounts, our advice is: hold the guacamole altogether.
  • Pits of any fruit — the pits of fruits, such as peach, plum & persimmon for example, contain the cyanide toxin. While humans know not to eat these, dogs do not. We include this item on the list as a reminder to always remove the pit from any fruit before giving them to your dog.
  • Sugar-free gum & candy (Xylitol) – Sugar-free sweets often use xylitol as a sweetener, which is dangerous for dogs. It can cause a drop in blood sugar, and, if blood sugar gets too low, seizures and death. This can happen with as little as 3-5 pieces of gum. Xylitol is also found in some baked goods and toothpaste, so always check the label.(6)
  • Tomatoes — unripe tomatoes (& any green parts of a tomato plant) contain the toxins solanine & tomatine. Dogs should not eat unripe (green) tomatoes, or their leaves & stems. The seeds of a tomato are also dangerous, potentially causing a blockage within the intestine.(7)
  • Cherries — the fleshy part of the cherry is safe for dogs, but all other parts of the cherry (pit, stem & leaves) contain the cyanide toxin. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, & convulsions. Death can occur in as little as 45 minutes; this is a true emergency.(8)
  • Mushrooms — Of the 50,000 species of mushrooms, only ~100 are known to be toxic to dogs, but these ones are very dangerous & may lead to death. It’s mostly wild mushrooms that are deadly, not ones that are grown commercially. (9)
  • Caffeine — caffeine is a stimulant that can gets dogs’ hearts racing. It they ingest too much it can lead to vomiting, muscle weakness, seizures and even death. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea & chocolate.

List of 31 foods dogs should NOT eat

Below is a list of foods your dogs should not eat. It includes the foods listed above (toxic foods), plus more fruits, veggies and other foods that aren’t toxic but still unsafe for your dog to eat.

List of foods your dog should NOT eat

Disclaimer: this list is not intended to be a complete one of all foods dogs should not eat; it is meant for use as a general guide only.

What to do if your dog eats one of these toxic foods

If your dog eats one of the foods listed above, you should seek help immediately. Find the closest veterinarian and seek an emergency consult.

In situations like these, time is of the essence. You should have the numbers of a trusted vet and the closest 24-hour emergency clinic listed somewhere easy to find, for exactly these situations. Instead of panicking, you’ll have a ready plan of action.

The number of the national Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435. They’re open 24/7, 365 days a year, and you can call them for any poison-related emergencies. A consultation fee may apply.

Some toxins, such as cyanide, act quickly; there will be severe symptoms and possibly death within 45 minutes of its ingestion. Other toxins take hours or even days to exert their effects. If you’re unsure about something, like whether your dog ate something poisonous or not, contact the nearest vet immediately.

Foods that are SAFE for your dogs to eat

Now, for the fun part! Here are some of the fruits, veggies and other foods that are safe for dogs to eat. Perhaps you can get some new snack ideas for your dog!

Please note the section labelled “only in small amounts” — these foods don’t have any known toxins, but may cause some digestive symptoms if given in large volume.

List of food dogs can eat

Below is the same list of foods found in the picture above, typed out so it’s searchable.

Fruits & veggies that are safe for dogs
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Blueberry
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrot
  • Cantaloupe
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cranberry
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Mango
  • Peas
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberry
  • Sweet potato
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini
Other foods that are safe for dogs
  • Cashes
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Eggs — cooked and given in moderation, eggs are an excellent source of proteins and healthy fats for dogs (and puppies!).
  • Shrimp (cooked, without shell)
  • Popcorn (unsalted, unbuttered)
Foods that are safe for dogs, but only in small amounts
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese — yes, dogs can eat cheese. We recommend cheeses that are naturally low in lactose, fat & salt as an occasional treat for dogs.
  • Lemon, lime, orange
  • Honey
  • Lean meats (turkey, chicken breast)
  • Milk, yogurt, other dairy
  • Peanut butter — crunchy, creamy or natural peanut butter is safe for dogs in small amounts. Avoid sugar-free peanut butter that contains Xylitol.
  • Pork
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • White rice & other grains

That concludes our list! Now that you know a lot more about what food dogs should not eat and which ones they can, why not have a look at some of our other feeding guides?

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