10 Common People Foods That Can Kill Your Dog
Bad Treats for Your Good Dog
It would seem dogs don't mind eating anything they can get their lips around, including those things that are not good for them. With this in mind, I ask one very important question: Are you killing your pet with everyday people food?
Historically, how and what we feed our dogs has evolved drastically. In the past, we were certain that our canines required a lot of meat to live a long, healthy life. Because of this, they have been fed a high-protein diet that has resulted in poor coat condition, malnutrition, imbalance in metabolism, hair loss, and weakness.
Today, we know that dogs are actually omnivores, requiring meat as well as vegetables and other non-meat foods for successful long healthy lives. (Although our other favorite furry creature, the house cat, is a true carnivore. Cats have the highest requirement for protein of any domestic species.)
What would you most likely give to your dog?
10 Things to Never Feed Your Dog
- Cooked bones
- Dairy (milk or cheese)
- Onions or garlic
- Raisins or grapes
- Apple cores
- Uncooked yeast dough
- High sodium foods (like bacon)
- Macadamia nuts
The specific effects of these human foods are different, but they may kill your dog. Below, find more details to advise you on what causes the toxic reaction along with symptoms to be on the lookout for.
1. Cooked Bones
The most common and frequent dog treat is, without a doubt, bones, although most dogs cannot safely consume cooked bones since they can splinter or get lodged in the throat or intestinal tract, requiring surgeries and can even causing death. Raw bones are less likely to splinter, but the risk is still there, and they may contain bacteria that cause digestive distress.
Admittedly, this subject is controversial. There is lots of evidence to support both the benefits and risks. Some owners will not stop giving their dogs bones, believing the pros outweigh the cons. Annually, thousands of dogs end up in emergency care as a result.
All bones are considered risky, including chicken, pork, and beef. Chicken bones are especially likely to get swallowed whole or only partially chewed, which can lead to intestinal perforation. The next time you feel the need to toss the dog a bone, try tossing a rawhide bone instead. Your dog will thank you for many happy, healthy years to come.
Whether you give your dog chocolate or he sneaks a chunk, a lethal dose of baking chocolate for a 16-pound dog may be as little as 2 ounces, which is just a couple of bites. The killer in chocolate is theobromine, which belongs to a class of alkaloid molecules known as methylxanthines which are absorbed much more slowly in dogs, causing a toxic and deadly result: increased heart rate, central nervous system stimulation, and constriction of arteries.
Which chocolate is the worst? Here are the types, listed from most to least dangerous:
- cocoa powder (highest theobromine content and most dangerous)
- unsweetened baker’s chocolate
- milk chocolate
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, seizures, cardiac arrest, and death. A deadly reaction can occur as soon as four hours after ingestion.
Xylitol Is Not Good for Dogs
Xylitol, a common sugar substitute, is harmful to dogs. You may find it in peanut butter and sugar-free foods.
3. Dairy (Milk or Cheese)
Just like humans, many dogs are lactose intolerant and can get diarrhea if they consume milk. They do not have the required enzyme to break down milk sugar and will react with vomit, diarrhea, and other indications of gastrointestinal distress. Even though your pet really likes his cheddar and was raised on his mother's milk, do not treat him to his weakness. Cheese is far too high in fat and can lead your dog to pancreatitis—inflammation of the pancreas which can become deadly in no time at all.
4. Onions or Garlic
The Allium species of plants (including garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives) can cause damage to red blood cells and possible death. After ingestion, dogs may vomit or have diarrhea, which can progress to anemia, weakness, lethargy, or labored breathing.
- Onions, either raw or cooked, are far more dangerous. They contain thiosulphate, which is toxic to cats and dogs, and causes a condition called hemolytic anemia. A dog can sometimes eat a small amount, but in large or frequent doses, it can be deadly.
- Garlic is the lesser of the two toxic people foods, but it also causes red blood cell damage. Your pet would have to eat large amounts of garlic to cause significant damage.
5. Raisins and Grapes
In addition to the fact that a small dog can choke on a grape, grapes and raisins (dried grapes) can cause a lethal reaction in dogs of any size. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. The toxic agent in grapes has yet to be identified, but it can threaten renal system function, bringing life-threatening kidney failure.
Symptoms start around 24-hours after ingestion and can include vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, weakness/lethargy, dehydration, lack of or decreased urine, tremors/seizures, or coma.
6. Apple Cores
Cyanide poisoning can result from giving your dog the apple core from your afternoon snack. The pits and cores of certain fruits—plums, peaches, pears, apricots, and apple cores—may be fun to chew on but hide cyanogenic glycosides, better known as cyanide. When your dog munches on these seemingly harmless treats, he also ingests the toxin.
Some of the symptoms of toxicity are apprehension, dilated pupils, salivation, struggling to breath, dizziness, collapse, seizures, hyperventilation, shock, and coma.
7. Uncooked Yeast Dough
If you make homemade bread using yeast, never give the raw dough to your dog. If she eats it, the raw yeast dough ferments in her stomach, producing alcohol which is toxic to your pet. Another reason is that the dough will expand in your dog's stomach or intestines and produce an extremely large amount of gas. This will cause severe pain and can potentially rupture the stomach or intestines.
Symptoms are vomiting, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, and lack of interest in anything.
No Starbucks for Fido! Similar to chocolate, coffee contains a stimulant that is unsafe for dogs. Methylated xanthine stimulates the central nervous system and within hours can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations, and unfortunately even death, so keep your coffee safely out of your dog's reach.
As we discussed earlier with regard to cheese, bacon and other high-fat foods can cause pancreatitis, an often fatal condition.
The salt content in bacon also makes it a bad treat choice. A potentially fatal condition called bloat is of concern when salty food is eaten by large dog breeds, caused when the dog drinks too much water because of the salt in the bacon (or other salty food items like ham, cured meats, hot dogs, etc.). So no more bacon, bacon grease, or other salty, fatty treats. Sorry, Rex!
10. Macadamia Nuts
We don't know exactly why, but we do know that dogs and macadamia nuts do not mix. The specific chemical has not been identified, but the reaction is well documented and may include weakness, lack of mobility, vomiting, lethargy, tremors, and hypothermia.
10 Most Common Dog Poisons (In Order of # of Helpline Calls)
Insect bait stations
Rodenticides (mouse and rat poison)
Xylitol-containing products such as sugar-free gums and candies
Silica gel packs
Amphetamines, such as ADD/ADHD drugs
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
My nine-month-old Golden Retriever has eaten bacon grease. What can I do?
Go to the vet and never give it as a daily snack. And even then moderation.Helpful 35
Can a dog have the meaty portion of bacon as a treat occasionally?
Everything can be done in moderation. Check with a vet.Helpful 30
I have a 17 1/2 year old miniature Australian shepherd who eats 1/2 strip of bacon in small pieces once a day. Will consuming bacon in this quantity be harmful for my dog?
I wouldn't over do it giving a small amount every so often shouldn't hurt your dog. Best to check with your vet.Helpful 24