People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dogs

08/31/10 10:18 PM


Chocolate, macadamia nuts and avocados may all sound delicious to you, but they’re actually quite dangerous for our animal companions.  The following information was compiled from various ASPCA posts and articles.  As with all animal health and safety considerations, speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions about other foods that may be harmful to your furry friends.


Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by animals, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.


Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Grapes & Raisins

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In animals who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

4 Comments on “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dogs”

  1. Jean Says:

    This is terrific information to have quick access to. thanks loads and I hope you keep adding to it.

  2. Tiara Says:

    When you said you posted a photo of my niece, this is the one that popped into my head! Haha!!

    Great article! I keep a list like this around all the time, its scary how many people don’t realize there really are foods that can kill their pets, or at least make them very, very ill!

  3. Tabitha Says:

    Thats one cute puppy! Looks like she is saying “Yuck!” to all the bad foods! Great article, thanks for the info and the facts to back it up!

  4. Holiday safety tips to keep your pets safe Says:

    […] Chocolate, a holiday favorite for people, is toxic to dogs. Read this article for more […]

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