What Foods Can Dogs Not Eat?

As tempting as it may be to share your food with your pup every time they give you those puppy dog eyes, some human foods can make dogs extremely sick. Even just a handful of grapes or raisins can kill a small dog. So, what foods can dogs not eat, and which foods can they eat? Let’s talk about it!

Not All Human Food Is Dog Safe

One of the main reasons that some human foods are toxic for dogs is because we metabolize foods at different rates. Metabolism is the process of breaking food down into energy. If your dog metabolizes something either too quickly or not at all, it can cause serious health problems.

List of Foods Dogs Can NOT Eat

Here’s a list of foods that dogs should NOT eat.

Alcohol

Alcohol can even kill people in high amounts, so it makes sense that it could make a dog incredibly sick or even kill them. Your dog could experience the following symptoms after drinking alcohol:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Decreased coordination
  • Abnormal blood acidity
  • Tremors
  • Depressed central nervous system
  • Coma
  • Death

Apple Seeds

Never give your dog a whole apple without at least coring it first. Chewing and swallowing apple seeds can lead to cyanide poisoning.

Avocado

Avocado pits are a significant choking hazard for dogs, but the fruit of the avocado may be dangerous, too. It contains persin, which may cause symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart congestion

Caffeine

Your dog doesn’t need to stay up for a long day of work after no sleep or spend all night cramming for final exams. Not only do they not need caffeine, but it can make them very sick. Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Panting
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Death

Citrus

Different parts of citrus fruits have varying amounts of citric acid, an essential oil that can cause irritation or central nervous system depression. While small amounts of the fruit may not cause anything more serious than stomach upset, the seeds, peel, stem, or leaves could cause your dog significant problems.

Chocolate

Chocolate is quite toxic for dogs, and the darker it is, the more toxic it is. While a large dog might be OK eating a small amount of milk chocolate, it really isn’t safe to give any chocolate to any dog. Chocolate causes the same symptoms as caffeine.

Coconut and Coconut Oil

Are you surprised to see this one on the list? While some tout coconut oil as a way to add essential fatty acids to your dog’s diet, some dogs experience loose stool, diarrhea, or stomach upset after consuming coconut oil. Coconut water contains high levels of potassium and should never be given to a dog.

Coffee

Dogs don’t need to feel the stimulant effects of coffee. It can make them very sick and causes the same symptoms as caffeine.

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones can splinter and cause all sorts of problems in your dog’s digestive tract. Raw bones are softer and, therefore, safer for dogs. Keep in mind that raw bones may contain pathogens like Salmonella and E. Coli, which occasionally make dogs sick, but are a more significant risk to humans. Always disinfect your hands and any surface touched by raw meat.

Corn on the Cob

While corn itself is fine for your dog (although it isn’t very nutritious), corn cobs can cause intestinal blockages that require surgery and may even be deadly. If your family has corn on the cob for dinner, be extra sure your dog can’t get into the trash after dinner and help themselves to a cob.

Dairy and Milk

Dogs don’t have much lactase, the enzyme required to digest lactose in dairy products, and are actually lactose intolerant. While some dogs might tolerate small amounts of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, other dogs may experience diarrhea and digestive upset.

Fat Trimmings

It may seem efficient to share fat trimmings with your dog, who thinks they’re delicious. However, fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis, a painful and potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas.

Garlic, Onion, and Chives

While small amounts of garlic might be OK for large dogs, high amounts of garlic, onion, or chives may cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage.

Grapes and Raisins

Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even eating just a few could easily kill a small dog. You might want to reconsider tossing grapes into the air and trying to catch them in your mouth if you have a dog.

Hops

If you like to make your own beer, make sure you keep your hops away from your dog. Hops can be toxic to dogs and may cause symptoms like:

  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Death

Liver

While adding some organ meat to your dog’s diet may be beneficial, liver is high in vitamin A, and too much can affect your dog’s bones and muscles.

Macadamia Nuts

Dogs can experience symptoms within 12 hours of eating macadamia nuts that typically last 12 to 48 hours. Those symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Hyperthermia (overheating)
  • Tremors

Nuts

While macadamia nuts are especially dangerous, most nuts contain high amounts of oils and fats that can cause anything from diarrhea and vomiting to pancreatitis, a painful and occasionally life-threatening condition.

Peach, Plum, and Persimmon Pits

Fruit pits can cause intestinal blockages if your dog swallows them, and plum and peach pits contain toxic cyanide.

Rhubarb and Tomato Leaves

Belonging to the poisonous nightshade family, these leaves can cause symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Bloody urine
  • Tremors

Salt or Salty Snacks

Too much salt in your dog’s diet can lead to excessive thirst and urination or sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Death

Sugar or Sugary Foods

Like in humans, too much sugar (even when it’s hidden in other ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup) can cause health issues like obesity, diabetes, and dental problems in dogs.

Xylitol

While you might not be familiar with this ingredient, xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in many sugar-free foods, including candy, gum, toothpaste, peanut butter, or baked goods. Xylitol causes a release of insulin that can lead to low blood sugar levels and liver failure. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures

Yeast Dough

If you’re making your own bread, make sure to keep the dough far out of your dog’s reach. Yeast causes two different problems for dogs:

  • Yeast can rise and create gas in your dog’s digestive tract, which is painful at best and could lead to potentially deadly bloat at worst.
  • Yeast produces ethanol, so a dog that eats raw yeast dough could become drunk and suffer the effects of alcohol poisoning.

List of Food Dogs CAN Eat

Now that we’ve talked about what foods you should not share with your dog, here are some foods that you can safely share with your pup:

  • Eggs (preferably cooked)
  • Fruits (including apple slices, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon)
  • Lean meats (without the bones)
  • Rice (especially white rice)
  • Vegetables (including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, cucumber, green beans, peas, potatoes, spinach, and sweet potatoes)

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