I am Dana, a Veterinary Doctor who studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. For years, I have got common questions from friends and family about their pets. So, I decided to open up this website and answer all those frequently asked questions. Alongside, here I share my expert knowledge about pet care, pet health and the animal environment. Click Here to read more about me. Thanks for visiting aplaceforanimals.com

Toxic Food for Dogs: Symptoms and When To Go To Vet

toxic food for dogs

Most dogs get extremely excited when they see someone eating basically anything. They like sharing food with their owners but it can be dangerous if one of the foods has a toxic ingredient. It is very important for dog owners to do their research and ask their vet about human foods that are toxic to dogs. There are a lot of foods dogs can’t eat which will cause them serious health issues.

Are grapes bad for dogs? Can my dog eat fried chicken? Can dogs drink lemonade?

All your questions will be answered today.  Because we will discuss toxic food for dogs and the signs they are having issues. 

 

20 Harmful Foods for Dogs

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthines. This element is fine for humans because they can break it down and excrete it. But sadly, dogs are sensitive to it. 

The amount of methylxanthines differs between types of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the higher the percentage of methylxanthines and the more dangerous it is.

Your dog might show the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures

If you are suspecting that your dog ingested some chocolate and you see any of these symptoms, make sure to rush to the vet.

2. Foods from the Allium Family

The allium family includes onion, garlic, chives, shallots, and leeks. All of these vegetables are toxic for dogs if they are ingested in big amounts. Either raw, cooked, or powdered, the allium vegetables will induce hemolytic anemia (red blood cell destruction) and the formation of Heinz bodies.

In case of ingestion, you might see:

  • A pale mucus membrane -> anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Tachypnea (increased respiratory rate)
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

3. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are another food dogs can’t eat. However, in small quantities, it is not extremely dangerous.

Signs of toxicity might show 12 hours after ingestion:

  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • hyperthermia (increased body temperature)
  • CNS depression
macadamia nuts in a white stylish bowl
Image credit: Sunnysun0840, Pixabay

Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

4. Sugar Substitute: Xylitol

Xylitol causes a life-threatening toxicosis. Your dog might develop acute liver failure and hypoglycemia. Xylitol is often found in candies, sodas, and even in some peanut butter. Make sure to always check the ingredients to avoid feeding any of them to your dog.

Signs of toxicosis:

  • Hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar)
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Ataxia
  • Coma

Contact your veterinarian immediately in case of ingestion.

5. Cherries

The pits, stems, and leaves of the cherries contain Cyanide which is extremely poisonous to dogs and can be lethal. If your dog ingests more than one cherry, it might be life-threatening!

Signs of toxicoses:

  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Tachypnea (increased respiratory rate)
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms

Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

6. Alcohol

Even though a small amount of alcohol is harmful, it is a poison for dogs either ingested as a drink or in food.

Signs of toxicoses:

  • Hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar)
  • Hypothermia (decreased body temperature)
  • Hypotension (decreased blood pressure)
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

7. Grapes

Are grapes toxic for dogs? Of course! Even one grape can lead to serious and sudden kidney failure. These symptoms are seen within 24 hours of ingestion:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Polydipsia (increased water consumption)
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
dog looking at a bunch of grapes
Image credit: Sempula, Shutterstock

8. Nutmeg

Nutmeg contains Myristicin which is not safe for dogs. Toxicity can be seen after ingestion of 5 grams of nutmeg. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • High heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Hallucination

9. Caffeine

In dogs, ingestion of 140 mg/kg, plus caffeine is toxic. You can see the signs of toxicity 30 minutes after consumption. Look for the following signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Polyuria (excessive urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive drinking)
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rate

Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

10. Dairy with Lactose

Lactose found in dairy products is harmful to dogs. They are considered lactose intolerant because they cannot digest it and it will lead to stomach issues. Some dogs are fine with consuming a small amount of it but others may show the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
dog at dining table with milk and cookies
Image credit: VK Studio, Shutterstock

Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

11. Fatty Foods

Can dogs eat fried chicken? The answer is preferably not. Fatty foods in general like butter, oils, bacon, and fried meat can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Don’t let your dog get any of it even if he gives you the puppy eyes.

Signs of toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight

12. Cooked Bones

Cooked bones are harmful to dogs in so many ways. It can break their teeth; cause constipation, internal bleeding, obstruction in the Esophagus, Trachea, or Intestine, and can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the Pancreas) as well.

Signs that the bones hurt your dog:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Gagging
  • Polydipsia (increased water consumption)

In these cases, our dog might need emergency surgery, make sure to contact your vet immediately.

13. Raw Eggs, Raw Fish, Raw Meat

Can dogs eat all kinds of meat? The answer is NO.

What meat should dogs not eat? Raw meat, raw fish, raw chicken, and raw eggs are dangerous to your dogs. A lot of people are now encouraged to feed a raw diet to dogs but it is very risky and dangerous. There are not enough studies to show that a raw diet is a good option. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of studies to back up the fact that raw meat is not worth the risk. Raw meat carries a lot of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E Coli.

Signs of toxicity:

  • Hyperthermia (increased body temperature)
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
raw meat in a half-plate
Image credit: Lebbensmittelfotos, Pixabay

In case, any of these signs show after ingestion, your dog needs immediate hospitalization.

14. Citrus Fruits

Can dogs drink lemonade? The answer is “preferably not”. Usually, most dogs are not a fan of citrus fruits such as lemon and oranges. But in case your dog ingests a big amount, it can cause an upset stomach and central nervous system depression.

After ingestion your dog might show:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Central nervous system depression

15. Mushrooms

Mushrooms, especially the wild ones can cause lethal toxicity to your dog. While taking your dog for a walk, make sure that he doesn’t eat any wild mushrooms. In case he does, check for the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of orientation
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures

Rush your dog to the veterinary hospital immediately when one of these symptoms occurs.

16. Some Types of Plants

Before picking a new house plant, make sure to check if it is harmful to your dog. Some of them can be lethal. 

Here are the most toxic plants dogs can’t eat:

  • Castor Bean
  • Cyclamen
  • Hemlock   
  • English Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Oleander
  • Thorn Apple
English Ivy plant
Image credit: Gaimard, Pixabay

Make sure to contact your vet if your dog ingests any of these plants.

17. Avocados

Persin is a toxin found in the leaves, seeds, and bark of avocados. It is not harmful to humans but can cause serious health issues for dogs.

Some of the signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

18. Yeast Dough

Yeast is extremely life-threatening to dogs. This means raw bread is harmful as well because it contains yeast that ferments in the stomach and produces alcohol.

Toxicity signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Diarrhea

19. Rhubarb

Rhubarb leaves are toxic for dogs if ingested in large quantities. Interestingly, the stems are considered safe. Symptoms of these below toxicities take up to 2 hours to show:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling
  • Mouth irritation

20. Moldy Foods

Mycotoxins are found in moldy foods, and they are very harmful to dogs and will cause a syndrome called mycotoxin toxicosis.

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Agitation seizure

Bottom Line

Before feeding your dog any table scraps, ask yourself first, what foods are poisonous to dogs and check if your meal contains any of these foods. Not only table scraps can be dangerous, but watch out for wild mushrooms and toxic plants as well while walking your dog. Again, if you suspect any toxicity and if your dog accidentally eats any of the toxic foods, mention above; do not interfere before contacting your vet.

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