Many dog parents have questions about what is safe to feed their pups such as "can dogs eat cashews" or "can dogs eat bacon" or "can dogs eat raw meat". In this guide you will find answers to all these questions and much more, such as insightful information about what is safe and what is not safe to feed your pup.
Like most pet parents, you probably have a decent doggy diet that you stick to, which is great, but does that mean that your furry friend is safe from bad foods? Absolutely not.
As it happens, there are lots of foods that you probably don’t know are really bad for your dog. Some are totally harmless to us or other animals, but to dogs, they carry unhealthy side effects. Other foods will even straight off kill them.
There will be moments you’ll be tempted to share your food with your canine pal. Or they could run into a snack or fruit and savor it right away. Well, these two situations are part of the reasons you’ll want to know foods your dog should never eat.
Luckily for you, we’ve rounded them up below.
Disclaimer: While we’ve tried to explore and mention every food that for one reason or the other isn’t safe for your dog, we understand that our list may not be exhaustive. So, just because we’ve not mentioned certain foods, don’t be tempted to consider them as safe for your dog.
In case you are unsure, do some research. We’d even be gladder if you share with us in the comment section below any new information you may find that seems helpful to this guide.
Avocados aren’t friendly to many animals, dogs included, thanks to persin, a fungicidal toxin found in avocado seeds, fruit, leaves, and stem of the plant.
Creatures like birds and ruminants face the possibility of death, among many other fatal things like organ failure and difficulty in breathing, if they consume the fruit.
Compared with the rest of the species, dogs seem to have relatively better resistance, as illustrated in this report by Merck Veterinary Manual. However, they still risk things like diarrhea, vomiting, and irregular bowel movements. In fact, ASPCA lists avocado among the foods you should never feed your pets.
That aside, there’s the possibility that dogs can get carried away while eating the fruit and end up swallowing it in whole. This can lead to foreign body airway obstruction, not to mention that the round avocado seed can also get stuck in the intestinal tract or stomach of the dog leading to serious problems.
Now, if your canine pal accidentally devours a piece or two, they may not get badly sick, but if they take in several of them or gobble down the pit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your vet. Also, monitor your dog closely if you suspect they consumed an avocado.
Quite a good number of us know that chocolates are really bad for dogs, but very few know why. All the fatal things these sweet bars do to dogs can be attributed to theobromine, the toxic component found in chocolates.
Unlike humans, dogs metabolize theobromine relatively slowly. The unfortunate thing about this is that the compound has enough time to reach toxic levels, eventually leading to things like vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, excessive panting or even death.
Also, xanthine, the compound that theobromine is metabolized into often causes increased heart rate and serious changes in the nervous central system, all of which end up raising the dog’s blood pressure. And if left unchecked, both of these factors can lead to death.
Here’s an important factor to note: The extent of side effects brought about by chocolate will depend on the size of the dog, the type of chocolate, and the amount consumed.
Large dogs will definitely eat more chocolate than small dogs before they begin to suffer the side effects. As for consumption, if your canine friend consumes a small amount, the effects won’t be severe.
But if they take in huge amounts of chocolate, expect pretty extreme side effects like seizures, irregular heartbeats, a heart attack, muscle tremors, internal bleeding, and so on.
Theobromine levels are high in darker chocolates, baking chocolate, and cocoa powder and relatively low in white and milk chocolate. Nonetheless, it’s best to avoid all kinds of chocolate. The fact that they count among top dog poisons implies you should never bring them any closer to your pooch.
Chocolates and caffeine share a mutual friend: theobromine. Not too long ago, we saw how this chemical compound is bad for dogs. That aside, some products, like coffee, don’t just contain caffeine but also milk, and a bunch of other substances that may not be safe for dogs.
Tea, soda, specific cold refreshments, some painkillers, caffeine pills, Lucozade, and caffeine stimulant drinks like Red Bull all contain caffeine as well.
Well, turns out pets, including dogs, react to caffeine in the same manner we do. It gets them excited, their hearts begin to race faster, and so on, but because their weight is relatively lower compared to that of humans, the caffeine easily poisons their system.
As petMD notes, the extent of caffeine poisoning will depend on several factors, including the amount of caffeine your dog ingests, the size of your dog, type of caffeine, and the coffee quantity in the item. Generally, however small the amount consumed is, toxicity is more than likely to occur. Consuming larger amounts only makes things worse.
Even though the symptoms will depend on the above factors, the most obvious signs of coffee overdose include excess excitement, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, fits, increased breathing rate, bleeding. As the toxicity builds up, seizures and tremors may occur.
If detected early enough, your vet may handle the toxicity by inducing vomiting. Some people, however, prefer to do it themselves, something many vets advice against for different reasons. Nevertheless, no matter the level of toxicity, most dogs can survive if they are brought to the vet on time.
Dogs that suffer from lactose intolerance, which put simply is the inability to digest milk, can experience serious problems if they consume milky or dairy products.
Not all adult dogs have the ability to handle lactose (a sugar present in milk). Usually, the lactose has to be broken into two easily absorbable sugars in order for the dog to easily digest the milk. And for that to happen, the dog must be able to produce lactase, the special enzyme responsible for splitting the lactose.
However, most dogs can’t (except pups which naturally have lactase in abundance for obvious reasons). And so, the inability to produce enough lactase makes it pretty difficult for a dog to digest the lactose present in milk, cheese, and butter. And as a result, stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, loose stools, irritating skin allergy, among other issues occur.
If you ever notice such signs after feeding milk to your dog, that’s a clear indication that he/she suffers from lactose intolerance and so, avoid giving him/her milk, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products that are high in lactose.
However, some dairy products, like Swiss cheese, American cheese, and cheddar cheese and many others contain reasonably less lactose (roughly a gram per serving) meaning your dog won’t likely suffer severe side effects after consuming them.
Not too long ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that Xylitol, a sweetener mostly found in candies and chewing gums, can poison your dog. Martine Hartogensis, a vet at FDA, mentioned that they had received numerous reports of dogs that had died from xylitol poisoning after chewing gum.
Besides chewing gum, the artificial sweetener has lately found its way into many products including, baked goods, cough syrup, peanut butter, breath mints, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, mouthwash and the like.
Once a dog takes in this highly toxic sweetener, the first culprit is the pancreas where a sudden spike of insulin is released, causing the dog’s blood sugar levels to drop to fatal levels. Not to mention the possibility of liver failure and death. The signs to watch out for that point to this condition include vomiting, seizures, fatigue, collapsing, and staggering.
As Dr. Ashley. G. of the Friendship Hospital For Animals based off DC suggests, all pet parents have to be carefully observant when it comes to feeding their pooch. Double check the product’s label to ensure no artificial sweeter is present.
Onions and garlic belong to the Allium family, together with leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions. As much as they are perfectly healthy for humans, for dogs, it’s the complete opposite.
Both items, whether cooked, fresh, or dried, can cause toxicity, thanks to a compound named N-propyl disulfide, which is responsible for damaging hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying element found in the red blood cells.
According to petMD, this type of damage can rupture the red blood cells and get them cleared from circulation quicker than expected hence resulting in a condition called hemolysis. Eventually, this will lead to anemia and change in urine color to red or brown, and thereafter, things like organ failure, organ damage, or death may occur.
Poisoning often results from the dog eating a relatively large amount of garlic or onion products at ago or smaller amounts at shorter and frequent intervals. In fact, Pet Poison Online estimates that ingesting garlic or onion that is higher than 0.5% of the pet’s body weight can be toxic.
The common signs to watch out for that point to toxicity from onions and garlic include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, hypersalivation, ataxia, and occasional diarrhea and vomiting. Bear in mind that if caught early, the toxicity can be treated with simple procedures like induced vomiting.
Most nuts are a less healthy choice for dogs, partly because some, like macadamia nuts, are toxic, while the majority of them carry lots of fats. They may be healthy fats for humans, but for dogs, they lead to conditions such as vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatic complications, and obesity.
Store-bought nuts are to be avoided at all costs as they come packed with salts and a host of other chemicals that can cause dehydration or poison the dog.
Below are the nuts you should never feed your dog.
Some nuts, however, may be good for your dog. Peanuts, for instance, are safe for goods, whether raw or roasted or without their shells. However, they have to be unsalted and without any artificial sweeteners. Cashews too are safe, provided they are roasted or cooked.
But don’t overdo it. Many vets recommend that you limit consumption of such nuts to occasional treats.
Bacon and other processed meats like sausages are some of the popular foods known to be carcinogenic. They have been linked to bowel cancer in humans. In pets, carcinogens, together with viruses, UV light, radioactive waste, hormones, etc. have been found to increase the risk of cancer
Bacon is also among food products that are high in fat and salt, both of which are not friendly compounds to dogs. Salt, for instance, often leads to increased thirst eventually exposing the dog to bloat, a life-threatening condition.
The saturated fats in bacon can lead to the development of pancreatitis which usually requires surgical intervention. Worse, even if your dog recovers, chances are it won’t be the same.
Sodium nitrate, another compound present in bacon has the potential to cause obstructive pulmonary disease. There’s also the risk of obesity, bearing in mind that bacon usually carries lots of calories.
If your dog feeds on bacon, these are some of the reactions you should expect to see: diarrhea, fever, lethargy, muscle inflammation, upset stomach, and fever.
Now, looking at all the health consequences mentioned, it would be better if you never share bacon with your lovely pooch.
In 2016 alone, ASPCA received well over 3,000 cases related to grapes and raisins (dried grapes). The organization says that that year, over 180,000 similar cases were reported.
One of the cases involved Leah, a Pekingese/Pomeranian-mix aged five. She consumed red grapes and Wendy, her parent, realized a day after that she was having diarrhea and vomiting. She then took her to ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan where she was diagnosed with acute renal failure.
Well, more information is yet to be revealed about the toxic substance in grapes and raisins responsible for acute renal failure in dogs. However small the amount is, toxicity is almost inevitable.
Even after being peeled and all seeds removed, grapes remain toxic, which implies that the toxic agent could be in the flesh of the fruit.
Strangely, some dogs even after ingesting grapes and raisins, remain unaffected. Well, this is still under study.
Nonetheless, here are signs to watch out for that point to grape and raisin poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, foul breath, oral ulcers, anuria, abdominal pain, oliguria, tremors, seizures, and coma.
If you are positive that your pooch may have ingested this fruit, seek immediate treatment right away like Wendy did. That way, you stand a chance to keep him/her alive.
Whether its beer, wine, liquor, or any of the many alcohol products available in the market, none of them should be fed to dogs, and here’s why.
Some of the ingredients used in the processing of wine, for example, aren’t safe for dogs. Take the case of grapes, a common ingredient in wine and which we just saw has disastrous effects when exposed to dogs.
Beer too isn’t an exception. In addition to water, yeast, and grain, beer constitutes hops, a stability and flowering agent. Hops has a similar effect as grapes when exposed to dogs. What’s more, expect severe physical reactions like labored breathing, vomiting, and worse, potential kidney damage.
Unlike human kidneys, those of dogs were not designed to process or filter the alcohol content present in wine, beer or other alcoholic drinks. This, coupled with their small size and weight makes them vulnerable to the extreme side effects caused by alcohol.
Then there’s alcohol poisoning/ethanol toxicity, which is made worse by the dog’s physical intolerance to alcohol and its inability to filter the intoxicating compounds of alcoholic products. This leads to things like disorientation, drowsiness, unresponsiveness, confusion, weakness, digestive upset, trouble urinating, and so on.
Dogs can be exposed to alcohol in several ways, besides feeding them straight off. They can lick it from products that contain alcohol, like mouthwash, perfume, medications, or ingest it from things like uncooked dough that is mixed with yeast.
So, store away such products in a safe place and of course, completely avoid feeding them any alcoholic product.
Some few years back a dog owner uploaded a video on YouTube showing his pet’s reaction after savoring lemons and limes. In the video, the dog jumps up and down and clearly, everything appears unnatural.
More people ended up wanting to try the same thing with their dogs but RSPCA, a London-based organization that promotes animal welfare issued a warning, saying that citrus fruits were unsafe for dogs and can lead to diarrhea, depression, and vomiting.
Some of the compounds contained in citrus fruits, like essential oils (limonene and linalool) and psoralen, a phototoxic compound, are poisonous to dogs. Taking in little amounts is less likely to result in serious complications, but you should worry more about the possibility of your dog suffering gastrointestinal.
Other than the jumping up and down, other common symptoms that point to citrus fruit poisoning include cold limbs, depression, diarrhea, lethargy, liver failure, tremors, vomiting, collapsing, low blood pressure, lack of coordination, skin irritation, rashes, and depression.
Please seek help from to a vet as soon as you notice any of these signs on your pooch.
First, let’s look at a few studies about raw meat-based diets (RMBDs). After thorough research, a group of scholars at Utrecht University found out that raw meat-based diets are mostly contaminated with parasites and bacteria, both of which are potentially dangerous to your pet.
Another study published in the US National Library of Medicine and which examined raw meat-based diets and their impact concluded that these products had potentially dangerous bacteria and were dangerous to both pets and their owners.
Something worth noting is that most pet parents usually opt for raw meat-based diets believing that they are healthier and natural and therefore harmless, but even before these new studies disapproved this, previous ones had already noted worrying incidences, like nutritional imbalance and presence of pathogens.
According to some researchers, evidence of the benefits above has never been studied and documented. Even if they exist, the risk of raw meat-based diets far outweighs them.
Raw meaty bones also aren’t completely safe for dogs. First, eating bones (especially bone treats) exposes your dog to the risk of intestinal and esophageal obstruction, among other dangerous conditions. Occasionally, you’ll come across stories of dogs nursing fractured teeth after chewing hard bones in dog forums. That aside, picture a situation where a bone splinters and then gets lodged in a dog’s digestive tract or punctures it.
Let’s also not forget that bones often pack lots of fats and so complications like gastroenteritis and pancreatitis are more likely to occur.
With such threatening conditions, it wouldn’t be a good idea to feed your canine pal raw meat and bones.
The special connection many of us have with our furry friends is the reason their dietary needs always matter a lot to us. That explains why sometimes we can’t resist the urge to share a snack or fruit with our dog, which is fine provided the snack or fruit isn’t one of those we’ve mentioned here.
Actually, before you do something like that, consult with your vet just to be sure that the food you intend to share with them is harmless. The same applies when go shopping for those fruits, vegetables, drinks, nuts, and treats for him/her.
In the event you can’t reach your vet, call the ASPCA or the organization responsible for animal safety in your country for direction.
Lastly, since your pooch might run into foods while playing around, devouring them straight off, ensure all potentially bad foods and products are stored away in safe places where the dog can’t reach.
Do you have additional info you’d love to share or see something we seem to have missed? Feel free to share it below.