20 Foods Harmful to Dogs (That You Might Not Know About!)

Most dog owners know that chocolate and onions are bad for dogs (and they’re absolutely right) but did you know that there are tons of other less obvious human foods out there that are equally dangerous for dogs? We’ll be taking a look at 20 of them in today’s post – check out 20 foods harmful to dogs (that you might not know about!) below.

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20 Foods Harmful to Dogs

1. Grapes and Raisins

20 Foods Harmful to Dogs - grapes and raisins
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Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs and can cause sudden onset acute kidney failure in extreme cases. Other symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and anorexia.

2. Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol)

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Foods marketed as ‘low-fat’ and ‘sugar-free’ often contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Xylitol can seriously impact your dog’s blood sugar levels potentially leading to hypoglycaemia and impaired liver function. Even small amounts of Xylitol can prove fatal for some dogs.

Xylitol can be found in many different types of foods and beverages, including sugar-free gum, low-fat yogurt, diet drinks, candy and even some peanut butters.

3. Cooked Bones, Fat Trimmings, Left-over Meat

20 Foods Harmful to Dogs - cooked bones, fat trimmings and left-over meat
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Cooked bones splinter easily and can cause serious damage to your dog’s digestive system, including gastric upset, abdominal pain and intestinal blockages. Fat trimmings and meat left-overs on the other hand have the potential to overload your dog’s digestive system leading to pancreatitis, organ damage and even sudden death in some dogs.

4. Ham and Other Deli Meats

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Ham and other deli meats can be harmful due their high fat content, flavorings, preservatives and high levels of sodium. These can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system and cause significant gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis in some dogs.

Baked ham varieties are also extremely high in sugar which can impact your dog’s blood sugar levels, further adding strain to the pancreas and liver. Long-term risks also include diabetes and obesity.

5. Bacon

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Similar to deli meats, bacon has a super high fat content which can cause pancreatitis in some dogs, a potentially life-threatening condition.

6. Caffeine

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Caffeine contains methylxanthines which can be fatal for dogs. Even the foam from your cappuccino isn’t completely safe! Side-effects of caffeine poisoning include heart attack and impaired kidney function.

7. Alcohol

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Alcohol poisoning in dogs is serious and can cause seizures and respiratory failure in severely intoxicated animals. Smaller dogs are at a greater risk due to their size. 

Hops found in beer is also toxic to dogs. Symptoms of toxicity can include increased breathing, a racing heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, abnormal clotting, and even death. Some breeds are at a greater risk of toxicity than others, including Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, and English Springer Spaniels.

8. Mushrooms

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Some mushroom varieties (especially wild mushrooms) contain toxins that can cause liver and kidney failure in dogs. Mushrooms also have the potential to cause digestive upset, hallucinations and red blood cell damage.

9. Apple Seeds

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The cyanide present in apple seeds is toxic to dogs and can be lethal in high doses.

10. Avocado

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The compound persin found in avocados is toxic to animals. The seed also poses a serious choking hazard if swallowed and has the potential to cause intestinal blockages. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is also a very real possibility as a result of its high fat content.

11. Macadamia Nuts

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Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs and have the potential to significantly impair nerve and muscle function. Some dogs may also develop pancreatitis as a result of their high oil content.

12. Cherries

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With cherries the danger lies in the pits, stems and leaves. These contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs in large quantities. Cherry pits also have the potential to cause digestive upset and intestinal blockages.

13. Stone Fruits

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Like cherries, the pits of stone fruit like peaches, plums and apricots can pose a serious choking hazard for dogs. They can also cause broken teeth and intestinal blockages. These pits also contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs in large quantities.

14. Rhubarb

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The leaves and stems of rhubarb contain a compound known as oxalic acid which is toxic when ingested in large quantities (especially for small dogs). If poisoning occurs it can cause kidney failure in extreme cases.

15. Dairy Products

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Some dogs are able to handle dairy products in small quantities, however many are actually lactose intolerant and have difficulty digesting it.  Many dairy products also contain high levels of fat and sugar which can pose serious health issues long term and even pancreatitis in some dogs.

16. Garlic and Chives

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Like onions, garlic and chives contain n-propyl disulfide which is toxic to dogs and cats. Clinical signs of poisoning include vomiting, anaemia, blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate and panting.

17. Nutmeg

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Nutmeg contains a toxin known as myristicin which is harmful to dogs if ingested in large amounts. Myristicin can also cause hallucinations, an extremely scary and traumatic experience for a dog.

18. Raw Dough

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Raw dough containing yeast can cause significant gastric upset for your dog – when ingested the yeast can swell and cause a deadly build-up of gas in your dog’s stomach, which can lead to rupture and/or torsion – both life-threatening conditions. Fermentation of the raw dough also produces ethanol which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

19. Corn On The Cob

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Corn itself is not toxic to dogs, however, the cob can pose a serious choking hazard if your dog tries to swallow it. If swallowed, pieces of the cob have the potential to cause life-threatening gastrointestinal blockages.

20. Raw Potato

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Finally, raw potatoes contain a compound known as solanine which is toxic to dogs in large quantities. Solanine poisoning can trigger heart and respiratory problems in dogs, as well as gastrointestinal upset. Raw potato and its skins also contain chaconine, which is also toxic.

Disclaimer

The above list of 20 foods harmful to dogs is by no means an exhaustive list and should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice.

If you think your dog may have eaten something harmful, contact your vet immediately. The following numbers are also a useful resource to have on hand if you are ever unsure and require advice;

For a comprehensive list of poisons (incl. food, plants, medications and more), visit the Pet Poison Helpline linked directly above.

20 Foods Harmful to Dogs (That You Might Not Know About!)

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