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essential nutrition advice for your pet.

5 Foods That Can Be Toxic for Your Dog

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Dangerous Foods

By Jessica Remitz


While we may consider dogs to be members of our family, treating them as such at mealtimes can cause more injury to them than just spoiling their dinners. Here’s a look at the five most dangerous foods for your dog, how they affect their bodies, and what to do in case of an emergency.

1. Chocolate

Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food, says Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. While the amount of chocolate your dog consumes will also determine the toxicity, symptoms of chocolate poisoning to look out for can include vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. According to Dr. Wismer, the darker the chocolate is, the more serious the poisoning can be — making baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder more dangerous than milk chocolate.


Check out petMD's Dog Chocolate Poisoning Meter.

2. Xylitol

An artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum, candy, and baked goods, Xylitol may be approved for people but can cause liver damage and a life-threatening drop in blood sugar in dogs. According to the Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), a 10-pound dog would only need to eat a single piece of sugar-free gum to reach a potentially toxic dose. Low blood sugar can develop within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, in addition to vomiting and loss of coordination, says PPH.

3. Grapes

Both grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, with vomiting, increased urination and increased thirst potential symptoms of poisoning. Help your dog stay out of trouble by keeping grapes and raisins out of reach at all times. Dr. Wismer also recommends talking to your vet about a list of things you and your children should or shouldn’t feed your pets.


“Pets have different dietary requirements and metabolize things differently [than people],” says Dr. Wismer. “Dogs have amazing noses and when it comes to food, they can get themselves in trouble.”

4. Onions/Garlic

If eaten in large amounts, onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in dogs, Dr. Wismer says. Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, lethargy and a reduced appetite can be symptoms of a toxic reaction. The sooner you diagnose potential poisoning the better, so if they’re acting strangely don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

5. Alcohol

Beer, wine and cocktails aside, alcohol can also be found in desserts and can be created in your dog’s stomach if they ingest homemade or store bought yeast dough used in making bread, rolls and pizza. Even small amount of alcohol, both ingested through alcoholic beverages and produced in the stomach, can be life threatening, making it important to call your vet before you notice any serious poisoning symptoms like seizures. Dr. Wismer suggests teaching your dogs how to “leave” or “drop” things to prevent them from consuming dangerous foods both at home and outdoors and training young children not to leave things where dogs can get into them.


If you believe you pet has ingested a toxic substance, call the ASPCA animal poison control center at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-213-6680. Both phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Comments  43

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  • 03/10/2014 05:50am

    The slideshow doesn't work for me, I've been trying occasionally for more than an hour. I've tried with Java Script on and off, doesn't work either way. I'm using Firefox 27.0.1 with Windows XP Home Edition, version 2002 Service Pack 3.
    Any suggestions?

  • 04/29/2014 08:44am

    Same here. Maybe it's the outdated OS i'm using (win xp) Think it should work anyway...:(

  • 07/20/2014 06:21am

    For those who cannot see, the 5 foods listed are:Chocolate, Xylitol, Grapes, Onions/Garlic, Alcohol

    Here are some more: http://www.everythingpom.com/dangerous-foods-for-dogs/

    I actually have a friend who's dog ate grapes and they had to rush her dog to the vet! Beware!

  • 07/30/2014 04:19pm

    grapes would also include dried grapes, aka raisins

  • 03/21/2015 12:51pm

    Thanks for that captain obvious.

  • 09/13/2014 05:28am

    actually garlic is very healthy for dogs. idk where yall got yalls resources but garlic wont kill ur dog. infact giving garlic to ur dog help with flies and ticks. most dogfoods have garlic in it

  • 02/06/2015 12:42pm

    I agree. Garlic has been recommended for fleas for years and it does help. All my dogs have eaten garlic without any problems. Also, the comments about alcohol in the article are misleading; the alcohol in baked/cooked foods burns off so there is no alcohol

  • 07/16/2015 08:46pm

    Garlic may be recommended for fleas, but in large amounts, is not recommended for dogs. Garlic and onions interfer with the production of red blood cells and cause anemia. If not corrected, the dog in question can certainly, and will most probably, die.

    Make sure "garlic" is the last or close to the last ingredient in what you give your dog. Ingredients are listed according to their measure with the first being the most and the last being the least. Always check labels.

    And [u]never[/u] feed Fido anything you have cooked for your family if it contains garlic. Ever! Yes, dogs like it but so do babies like shiney knives to play with! Be smart!

  • 07/16/2015 08:57pm

    BTW, the article said not to give your dog, or not to allow your dog to "take" yeast bread dough, not the baked product. The unbaked dough will produce alcohol in the dog's stomach and intestines and has been known to be fatal.

    If you don't believe me, re-read the post carefully.

  • 10/15/2014 09:59pm

    It may be your video card, I am running XP PRO SPC, but Firefox 32.0 and I have no problem at all viewing the slide show. try updating firefox first and see if that helps

  • 11/25/2014 01:44am

    Worked ok with Explorer but not with Chrome

  • 07/16/2015 08:36pm

    I'm on Chrome and it worked perfectly for me.

  • 03/23/2015 03:14am

    Many thanks to Victoria and her associates at Petmed.com. Thanks to their dedication and followup they have resolved the slideshow problem I was having, and hopefully it has been resolved for others as well. I was contacted and asked for some specific information to give a clue as to what the problem might be and how to resolve it and the slideshow now works as intended for me. I've also tried other slideshows from this site and they perform as they should also. I appreciate the fact that someone cares enough to do something when people have problems. I know that others have had problems similar to mine and someone took the initiative to solve the problem rather than just accept that some people would be unable to view the content.
    Keep up the good work.
    You've secured at least one loyal user who appreciates your content and your effort to get it out to everyone. I'll be spreading the word that you have something worthwhile going here!


  • Garlic is good!
    04/08/2014 08:52am

    Onion is not good for dogs, agreed. But garlic is, in small amounts (half a glove a day for small/medium dog, whole glove for large dog). Garlic has a long list of health benefits, helps to fight (Toxocara canina) 'worms' and repels fleas. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-allergen, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoan, anti-viral and anti-carcinogen. Garlic can also be used topically to treat ear mite infestation and ear infections. I make my own dog food and include small amounts of garlic. I have a very healthy, happy dog who hasn't seen a vet except for her microchip & neutering.

  • 09/25/2014 09:12am

    Are u sure. Can I give it to my pet dogs? Look , please be very sure !

  • 10/08/2014 06:10pm

    Ur dog can have garlic. Just make sure to use garlic powder. the cloves are indeed harmful to them if injested, but in powder form, ur dogs will be just fine.

  • 10/08/2014 06:12pm

    actually cloves are harmful for dogs, but garlic is healthy for them in powder form. the dogs digestive system cant digest garlic cloves

  • Are you serious?!?
    06/20/2014 02:38pm

    Why in the world would you post a picture of a pup eating a hot dog under the heading "5 foods that will KILL your dog"?!? Now I know where NOT to go for pet advice!

  • 06/20/2014 04:08pm

    One hotdog isn't going to kill a dog, (unless he chokes on it and that's highly unlikely). A regular diet of such trash is certainly unhealthy for any pet or human, but one occasionally is much different than a candy bar, a plate of sauteed onions or chicken jerky from China.

  • 06/20/2014 10:15pm

    My very point.

  • 06/20/2014 10:32pm

    Sorry about that, I thought you meant 'why would they show a picture of something harmful'. Hot dogs are almost that bad, but not quite.
    What they're doing is called sensationalism, it's a ploy to get people to ha a W.T.F. moment then check it out to see what's up.
    I guess it worked on you and me both.

  • 06/20/2014 10:30pm

    Not a problem... no need for an apology, but thanks. It's often hard to figure out what people mean in their posts.

  • 10/15/2014 10:06pm

    I have a dog that eats anything that hits the floor, and she is healthy as can be, in fact, when we travel, I used hot dogs, sliced, for treats. Way healthier than those packaged treats from China. Now she doesn't get a whole onion, but she does eat onions, raw and cooked, garlic powder in her food (agreed, great for fleas and ticks, and better than chemicals), I try not to let her get to the grapes, but she has on occassion stolen some. She eats milk chocolate and all without any adverse effects. So a lot of this may depend on each individual dog. They are as unique as people, and what bothers one may have no effect on another. The only thing she has not ever had is sugar free gum. Even I can't have that. Makes me sick.

  • 07/16/2015 09:10pm

    When you slice hot dogs, always make sure to slice them lengthwise as well as in width-wise slices. That makes half-slices that are less likely to get caught in Fido's trachea and causing him/her to stop breathing. It pays to be extra careful when it comes to our "best friend."

    Hot dogs are not the most nutritious treat for humans or for dogs so use them sparingly.

  • 08/30/2014 02:30am

    Good grief! It does not state anything about a hot-dog poisoning, harming or anything else for that matter. It's only the initial picture of a dog eating a hot-dog AND cold-cuts! ....Deep breath there, Jim Dandy & Oggyyyy.

  • 08/30/2014 04:06am

    SnoDov, I don't need to breathe deeply, I was just pointing out that hot dogs aren't immediately dangerous to dogs

  • 03/21/2015 12:53pm

    Your comment doesn't make any sense. Hot dogs are not at all good for your dog.

  • 03/23/2015 02:33am

    Nor are they bad.

  • Comment to the garlic.
    09/13/2014 05:35am

    GArlic will not kill ur dogs people. Garlic is actually very healthy for them, It provides a 24-hour shield against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, gnats, etc, its Safe, effective alternative to chemical products.Its one of the world's most powerful antioxidant foods. it Promotes friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. It Provides four times more organic sulfur than any other food. It contains natural MSM and it stimulates immunity - antibacterial, anti fungal, antiviral, & anti-parasitic*

  • 09/13/2014 05:37am

    also, if dogs cant eat hotdogs then they might as well not eat wet dogfood.

  • 04/11/2015 01:02pm

    rRght: Hot Dogs are basically "canned cat food in a bun"!!! @

  • Typical "Slideshow"
    11/06/2014 03:14pm

    Give me a break. This is typical Internet "slideshow" shrieking designed to get you to flip through five pages of ads to generate revenue. Garlic "killing" a dog? These are animals that will eat their own vomit and poop, and you're telling me that garlic and onions will "kill" them? How much as we talking about? A clove? A bulb? A 50 pound sack force-fed with a wooden pole? The internet is a big place and there is plenty of room to post accurate, complete information. Quit insulting us with slideshows designed only to generate mouse clicks.

  • 11/06/2014 03:27pm

    Hi Jose.

    We get our information from several sources before we publish it, and we always have it checked by veterinarians. Just as with people, animals can have less or more sensitivity to foods than average; think people and peanut allergies.

    What you see here is, "If eaten in large amounts, onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in dogs..."

    Note that the description is for large amounts. A large amount is relative to the dog's size, health status, and sensitivity.

    Here are some other sites - ad-free sites - that have information on garlic and onion toxicity:

    ASPCA: All close members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. A rule of thumb is “the stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions, on an ounce-for-ounce basis.

    Pet Poison Helpline: Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are of the Allium family, and are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Garlic is considered to be about five times as potent as onions. Certain breeds and species seem to be more sensitive. Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) and gastroenteritis (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.

  • 12/30/2014 10:02pm

    Great answer.

  • Free App Can Dogs Eat?
    11/30/2014 04:11am

    My partner and I have built a free Android app "Can Dogs Eat" that is a comprehensive quick reference guide to what human foods and drinks are dangerous or safe for dogs to eat that dog owners can have on hand anywhere, anytime. Used in over 10 countries!

    The idea for the app was prompted by a scary experience earlier this year when a friend's puppy wolfed down a bowl of macadamia nuts before any of us could react (Charlie Brown the Chocolate Lab made a full recovery after an expensive emergency trip to the vet to induce vomiting).

    It has a huge database containing common food and drink products (currently over 470+) and allows you to simply search for a specific product or alternatively, scroll or swipe through the alphabetical list.

    We would be so grateful for your support to help us get this project off the ground.

    You can download from the Google PlayStore using this link:

    We also made a Facebook page which you can like:

    Follow us on Twitter:

    The Apple version for iPhone and iPad users is on the way and will be available from the iTunes store soon. We also are building a Windows Phone version and a website.

    Like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter to be notified of announcements :)

  • 03/08/2015 04:51am

    The Can Dogs Eat Free website is now released! Check out our website at http://whatcandogseat.com
    Our free website and mobile app with 495+ food and drink products is a comprehensive quick reference guide to what products are dangerous or safe for dogs to eat. The Apple IOS App is still on the way.

    Apologies for the second post could not edit first.

  • That's better
    03/08/2015 05:17am

    I know the folks at Petmd have been working on this and I want to thank them for their efforts. This, (and other slideshows on this site) haven't worked for me and a few other viewers. Thanks to their dedication to provide their content to as many people as possible it seems as though they have resolved conflicts that I couldn't get around on my end and the slideshow now works as it should.
    Thank you to Victoria and everyone else involved.
    I love what you are doing for pet owners, keep up the good work.

  • Caution/ Alert
    03/21/2015 03:37pm

    Remember to always use a bowl or other container when removing pills from the pill bottle.Never dump pills in you hand to single one out...Many times a very small pill the same color as carpet or flooring is lost unknowingly on the floor and later the dog finds if and consumes it.Then you have a suddenly sick dog or cat and no idea what has happened.Please remember this from today moving forward.

  • Caution/Alert
    03/21/2015 03:41pm

    Never try to dump pills into your hand without a container under your hand to catch a lost pill.A pill may fall onto the floor unknowingly and your pet will find it later and consume.Alert.It happens often.

  • "raw fish thiamine B1
    04/11/2015 01:05pm

    My comment is: " Feeding Cats A Raw Fish diet can deplete Thiamine Vit. B1; I do not know if Raw Fish is "bad for dogs"; Cooked Fish is okay though!
    Cooking the fish preserves the Thiamine Vitamin B1; Pork has Vitamins B1"

  • 04/11/2015 01:07pm

    ps I do not know if "cooked fish is actually okay for dogs"; I do know "cooked fish is very healthy for Cats; not raw fish"; Vitamin B1 is an essential Vitamin for both Cats and Dogs.

  • Poorly Done and Misleadin
    07/17/2015 07:16am

    The 5-Foods topic is POORLY done and misleading. How is someone supposed to guess what the things are - is the first one a carrot or a hot dog? Is the third one chiclets gum or some sort of medicine. Really, for such a simple topic you've really, really missed the mark.

  • Poorly Done and Misleadin
    07/17/2015 07:17am

    The 5-Foods topic is POORLY done and misleading. How is someone supposed to guess what the things are - is the first one a carrot or a hot dog? Is the third one chiclets gum or some sort of medicine. Really, for such a simple topic you've really, really missed the mark.