Toxic Foods for Dogs

Toxic foods for dogs (and the rest of our pets) are all around us. We plant them in our gardens. They sit in our pantries or on our counter tops. They even take up space in our refrigerators. Some of them are foods we consume everyday, with no adverse side effects. But to our beloved canine companions and other furry friends, these foods are toxic. They can even kill.

To ensure that these dangerous foods do not make their way into the mouths of our furry friends, we must first educate ourselves as to which foods are toxic foods for dogs, and then take precautions to keep them away from our pets.

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Toxic Foods for Dogs

Animals should never be given alcohol of any kind. Besides causing intoxication, alcohol ingestion can cause coma and even be fatal to pets.


“Persin” is a toxic fatty acid found in avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark. Ingestion of avocados by dogs and other pets can cause difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and sac around the heart.


Dogs and chocolate are a dangerous combination. Chocolate and any chocolate-related products (such as cocoa beans, cocoa powder and the cocoa bean hulls used in cocoa mulch) are very dangerous for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. Caffeine and theobromine are in the methylxanthine class of chemical compounds, along with theophylline.

Both caffeine and theobromine are nervous system stimulants. Since dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans, they are highly susceptible to theobromine poisoning. In dogs, caffeine and theobromine can cause restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased breathing and heart rate, possible irregular beating of the heart, increased urination, excessive panting, increased blood pressure levels, seizures, coma and death.

Just 27 mg of theobromine or caffeine per pound of body weight can be lethal for a dog. This means that less than 0.1 oz of Baker's unsweetened chocolate per pound of body weight could be fatal to a dog. Dark chocolate containing a lot of cocoa, baking chocolate and coca beans have the highest concentration of theobromine and caffeine. We humans might love our chocolate, but dogs and chocolate are a potentially deadly match.


Coffee, Tea and Cola
Since these foods also contain caffeine, they can also cause caffeine toxicity in dogs. Tea and cola also contain theobromine.


Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are highly toxic foods for dogs. Although the toxic component of grapes and raisins is unknown, ingesting a large enough amount can cause kidney damage or failure.

Read more about the dangers of grapes and dogs.


Macadamia Nuts
Although the toxic principle of macadamia nuts is unknown, they are indeed a very dangerous food for dogs. Ingesting macadamia nuts can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscular stiffness, vomiting, tremors and increased heart rate.

Can contain toxins which, if ingested, can be fatal.

Most people do not know that nutmeg is a very dangerous food for dogs, and that given enough, it can even be fatal.


Onions and Garlic
Garlic and onions in all forms (cooked, raw, powdered, etc.) are dangerous foods for dogs (and cats). Garlic and onions contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can break apart red blood cells and cause anemia. Consumed in large enough quantities, onions and garlic can result in severe anemia and even death if not treated by a veterinarian.

It is not known how large a quantity of onions or garlic must be consumed to be toxic.

Read more about the dangerous combination of dogs and onions.

This sugar substitute is very dangerous for dogs. Ingesting it in high enough levels can cause life-threatening low blood sugar, loss of coordination, depression, liver damage, collapse and seizures.

Yeast Dough
Rising yeast dough can cause gas to build up in pets' digestive systems, causing their stomachs or intestines to rupture. Once the dough is cooked this risk lessens, so it's generally safe for pets to have a small amount of bread as a treat. However, according to the ASPCA, such yeast-containing foods should make up no more than 5 to 10 percent of their total daily caloric intake.

As you can see, there are many toxic foods for dogs. To keep your furry friends safe, be sure to keep these toxic foods out of your curious canine's (or feline's) reach and never, ever feed any of these foods to your pet -- even in small quantities.

If you feel your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call an animal poison control center, such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Your pet's life depends upon it!

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