Do you know what foods are bad for dogs? Dr. Marie Haynes has produced this chart indicating which foods are safe and which are toxic to dogs and which foods are safe.
|Almonds||Safe||A few almonds are safe to give a dog. But, if your dog is little, almonds could pose a choking risk or could lead to an intestinal obstruction. If a dog ate a large amount of almonds this could cause some upset stomach or potentially pancreatitis.|
|Aloe Vera||Can be toxic.||The sap of the aloe vera plant contains anthracene glycosides. This substance can cause significant intestinal upset and can act as a laxative. If your dog ingested some, it's not likely an emergency. But, if he develops diarrhea you may want to contact your vet.
Just so you know, aloe vera products that are meant for ingestion (i.e. juice) have had the anthracene glycosides removed.
|Apples||Mostly Safe||If your dog likes apples, then keep giving them to him! In theory, it's possible for a dog (or a person for that matter) to get cyanide poisoning from eating apple seeds. However, the seeds need to be punctured to release the cyanide. And, a VERY large number of seeds have to be punctured in order for enough cyanide to be ingested to cause a problem.|
|Apricots||Mostly Safe||Apricots are not toxic at all to dogs. But, if your dog swallows the pit it could act as a foreign body and cause an intestinal obstruction. There is a very small amount of cyanide in the pit of an apricot. But, in order to cause problems the pit has to be crushed...and the dog has to eat a very very large amount of apricot pits.|
|Asparagus||Safe||Can dogs eat asparagus? Asparagus is safe for dogs to eat. However, if a dog eats some asparagus fern (the plant) this can cause serious intestinal upset. Asparagus itself is not bad for dogs though.|
|Aspartame||Not recommended||The sweetener, aspartame is not toxic to dogs but it can cause some stomach upset.|
|Avocados||Mostly Safe||The biggest worry with avocadoes is the pit. If your dog eats the pit there is a high possibility it's going to get stuck in his intestines. But, the flesh of an avocado is not toxic to dogs.
Some animals (cattle, horses, goats, rabbits, birds and fish) are really sensitive to a substance called persin in avocados, but a dog would have to eat a massive amount of avocados in order to get sick.
|Bananas||Safe||Bananas are a great treat for dogs!|
|Blueberries||Safe||Blueberries are safe and beneficial for dogs!|
|Bread Dough||Toxic!||Rising bread dough can cause serious problems to a dog if it is eaten. The heat in the dog's stomach will cause the dough to rise. This causes ethanol to be produced. It also causes the dough to expand in the dog's stomach.
A dog who has eaten bread dough will have severe abdominal pain and may be walking around like he is drunk. He needs to see a vet immediately!
|Broccoli||Safe||Broccoli is perfectly safe for dogs to eat. In cows and sheep, eating a large amount of broccoli can cause anemia, but this doesn't happen in dogs.|
|Celery||Safe||Celery is safe to give to dogs!|
|Chocolate||Toxic!||It is definitely not a good idea to give your dog chocolate! Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can affect a dog's heart and central nervous system. If a dog eats enough chocolate they can die! Another concern with eating chocolate is pancreatitis which can be very serious.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may find this CHOCOLATE TOXICITY CALCULATOR useful.
|Coconut||Mostly Safe||Can dogs eat coconut? Coconut is not toxic to dogs. But, the coconut does contain medium chain triglycerides which can cause some intestinal upset and bloating in some dogs.
It's not a good idea to give a dog a coconut with the shell on as this could cause some irritation or even perforation of the intestines. It could also lead to an intestinal obstruction.
|Coffee||Toxic||Dogs do not handle caffeine well. Caffeine causes an increase in heart rate, and could cause seizures. If a dog gets enough caffeine, it can be fatal.
If a large dog drinks a full cup of coffee, the only symptom you are likely to see is that the dog is a little wired. But, if a little dog drank a full cup it could be fatal.
But what about decaf? If you really want to give your dog some coffee, some decaf should be fine. With that being said, stay away from giving him coffee with cream. The cream can cause intestinal upset.
|Corn||Mostly Safe||Corn is perfectly safe for dogs. But, don't give your dog corn on the cob. Corn cobs can very easily get stuck in a dog's intestines. When they do get stuck they ferment and can cause serious, life threatening problems.|
|Cranberries||Safe||Cranberries are generally safe to give to dogs. But, don't be trying to treat a UTI with cranberries - it won't work. Cranberries contain a substance that helps to prevent E. Coli bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall, but not all infections are caused by E. Coli. And, the cranberries don't kill the bacteria. Also, if you have a dog on large amounts of cranberries every day it could cause them to develop calcium oxalate stones in their bladder.|
|Cucumbers||Safe||If your dog wants to eat cucumbers, then go for it!|
|Currants||Could be toxic||If you live in the US, then currants are actually a species of grape. Grapes can be toxic to dogs (see grapes).|
|Dates||Safe||Dates are not toxic to dogs. But, too many dates can cause diarrhea!|
|Figs||Mostly Safe||Figs are not toxic to dogs but even small amounts can cause some upset stomach.|
|Garlic||Can be toxic||Garlic causes damage to a dog's red blood cells. A small amount of garlic is not likely to cause any clinical symptoms, but will still damage some of your dog's red blood cells. If a dog gets a lot of garlic, or eats garlic every day they can eventually get anemia (low red blood cells).|
|Grapes||Toxic||Grape toxicity is still a mystery to us. Grapes can be highly toxic to the kidneys of some dogs. Yet, many dogs can eat grapes and never have a problem.
If your dog ate one or two grapes, look for signs of vomiting and an increase in thirst and urination. If he is vomiting and not feeling well then it's a good idea to see the vet. If your dog ate a lot of grapes, then see your vet right away. It's better to be safe than sorry!
|Gum||Can be very toxic!||If your dog ate gum, check the package to see if the gum contains "xylitol". Xylitol is very toxic to dogs (see xylitol at the bottom of this chart). If there was no xylitol in the gum then it is not likely to cause problems.|
|Hazelnuts||Mostly Safe||Hazelnuts are not toxic to dogs. But, if you have a small dog, a hazelnut could pose a choking risk or could cause an intestinal obstruction.|
|Lemons||Safe||Lemons are not toxic to dogs...but really, would your dog want to eat one?|
|Macadamia nuts||Toxic!||We don't know why macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats macadamia nuts it can cause him to be unable to stand. Ingestion of macadamia nuts can also cause vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia (high temperature).
If your dog ate these, then get him to the vet right away. Fortunately most dogs survive and are back to normal within 24-48 hours.
|Milk||Not recommended||Did you know that many dogs are lactose intolerant? Many dogs grow out of this intolerance as they become adults. But, a lot of dogs will get diarrhea if they are given milk.|
|Moldy food||Toxic!||Moldy foods can contain something called tremorgenic mycotoxins. These chemicals can cause seizures and tremors that can last for several days. If your dog ate a small amount of moldy food it may just cause some stomach upset. But if you are seeing any tremors then get him to the vet!|
|Mushrooms||Can be Toxic!||Regular table mushrooms are generally safe for dogs. But, if you have mushrooms growing in your yard these can be quite toxic. Some of these mushrooms can cause intensive vomiting and diarrhea. Others can cause serious neurological problems leading to tremors and seizures and possibly death.
"Magic" Mushrooms can be very toxic to dogs as well.
|Olives||Mostly Safe||If your dog likes olives, then a few every now and then are OK. But, some dogs can get stomach upset from eating olives. And, if the olives are old and moldy, the mold can cause seizures and tremors.|
|Onions||Can be toxic.||Onions can cause damage to a dog's red blood cells. While you're not likely to see symptoms unless a large amount is eaten, even a small amount of onions, onion powder or cooked onion can cause red blood cell damage. If there's enough damage then the dog can become anemic (low in red blood cells.)
If your dog ate a small amount of onion, don't be worried. But, don't let him make a habit out of it!
|Oranges||Safe||Oranges are safe for dogs. But, most dogs don't like them!|
|Parsley||Mostly Safe||Parsley is safe for dogs. If a dog ate a large amount of parsley it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. It can also act as a diuretic which would cause a dog to be excessively thirsty and urinate a lot, but this would only happen if given in large amounts.
Really large doses of parsley given daily could be toxic to a dog's liver. So, it's not a good idea to be giving massive amounts daily. But, a little bit to flavor a treat is fine.
|Peaches||Mostly Safe||Peaches are safe for dogs. But, it's not a good idea to let your dog eat the peach pit. The pit can cause an intestinal obstruction. If a dog crushes a peach pit and eats it, then he will ingest some cyanide. But, he'd have to crush and eat a large number of peach pits in order to eat a toxic amount.|
|Peanuts||Not recommended||A couple of peanuts are not likely to be harmful to your dog. But, as peanuts are high in fat and salt, it's not a good idea to offer them on a regular basis.
Some peanuts can contain molds that produce aflatoxin. Aflatoxin poisoning can be very serious!
|Pears||Safe||Feeding your dog pears is a great idea. However, if he ate a large number of pears it could cause some stomach upset. There is a small amount of cyanide in pear seeds. But, in order to cause problems the dog would have to eat and crush a huge amount of seeds.|
|Plums||Mostly Safe||The biggest concern with plums is the pit. In small dogs the pit could cause an obstruction or choking risk. If the pit was crushed, it would release cyanide. However, a dog would have to crush and eat a very large number of pits to cause a problem. The fruit of the plum is perfectly safe for dogs.|
|Potatoes||Can be toxic||Potatoes can be toxic to dogs. The biggest concern is if your dog eats potatoes with green areas on the skin (whether cooked or raw). This green area contains something called solanine. Solanine can cause stomach upset if a small amount is eaten. Depending on how much is eaten, the symptoms can get more severe. We can see an increase in thirst and urination. Or, we can see weakness and other neurological problems. Some dogs who have eaten potatoes have gone into renal failure, but this is rare.
A small amount of cooked potato with no skin is safe for your dog.
|Shrimp||Mostly Safe||Can dogs eat shrimp? As long as they are cooked, shrimp are safe to feed to dogs. Raw shrimp can cause shellfish toxicity just like in humans.|
|Sorbitol||Safe||Sorbitol is a sweetener added to food. It is not toxic to dogs. However, if the food contains the sweetener xylitol this can be deadly. (See xylitol).|
|Spinach||Safe||Can dogs eat spinach? Spinach is safe for dogs, but really, does your dog want to eat spinach?
Spinach does contain something called oxalates. Oxalates are toxic to a dog's kidneys, but the amount that would have to be eaten to cause damage is extremely high!
|Strawberries||Safe||Stawberries are safe for dogs. If you give a large amount though it could cause some stomach upset.|
|Sweet Potatoes||Safe||Sweet potatoes are a great food to give your dog.|
|Tea||Mostly Safe||A small amount of tea is perfectly safe for your dog. There is only a small amount of caffeine in tea - not enough to cause harm.
It's best not to give tea with milk in it though as some dogs are lactose intolerant (see "milk").
If your dog has had issues with calcium oxalate bladder stones it's a good idea to avoid tea as it can help these stones to form.
|Tomatoes||Mostly Safe||Tomatoes contain a substance called tomatine. It is found throughout the plant but mostly in the leaves and stems of the plant. Tomatine can be toxic to the heart but your dog would have to eat MASSIVE amounts of tomatoes to cause a problem. Some dogs can get some mild stomach upset from eating tomatoes.|
|Walnuts||Mostly Safe||Walnuts are generally safe for dogs. Don't give your dog a walnut with the shell on as it could get stuck or do damage to the intestines.
If walnuts get moldy though, they can produce mycotoxins which can cause serious neurological problems.
|Xylitol||Toxic!||Xylitol is a sweetener that is safe for people but deadly for dogs. When a dog eats xylitol it causes a huge spike in insulin. The spike is so high that it causes severe problems with low blood sugar. It is also toxic to a dog's liver.
Symptoms of xyllitol poisoning include weakness, tremors, seizures, and death.
Many chewing gums contain xylitol. In some cases, one stick of xylitol containing gum can be fatal if eaten by a 20 pound dog.
If you think your dog ate xylitol, see your vet immediately!
Note! This page is for information only and not meant to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet ate one of the above foods and you are unsure of whether to be concerned, please call your veterinarian!
Dr. Marie was quick to respond and thorough in suggesting treatment for my cat. I am so thankful- I have been so worried about my cat. Now I have additional options to discuss with my vet.
The service was incredibly fast and the vet's suggestions were right on target. This was incredibly helpful given that none of the vets in my area, mine now included, will take off hours calls now.