top of page

14 surprising foods your dog should never eat

From garlic to grapes, these human foods should never leave people plates.

Let’s face it. Most of us, when getting a dog, swear we'll never feed it people food. Then, inevitably, scraps fall from the cutting board, plates are left unattended, and those puppy dog eyes become irresistible. We give them just one bite.

Whether or not you keep your canine on a strict dog food diet or you’re the type who sneaks a human goody in once in a while, it’s important to know the foods every dog should avoid.

And while some products like alcohol, gum, tobacco, and hot peppers should be obvious no-nos for pets (you’d be surprised), there are some less obvious foods your dog should never consume.

1. Xylitol

This is one you have to investigate the ingredient list for, but it tops the list because xylitol is very dangerous for dogs. Used as a sugar substitute in products such as candy, bread, gum, toothpaste, and peanut butter, it can cause severe low blood sugar levels. This in turn, can lead to vomiting, seizures, and even liver failure in dogs.

2. Chocolate

It’s not an urban legend - never feed your dog chocolate. A chemical called theobromine in cocoa and chocolate is toxic in a dog’s system and can cause elevated heart rates, diarrhea, seizures, and even death. Dark chocolate is particularly poisonous for dogs.

3. Grape and Raisins

These sweet treats seem unassuming, but even one grape or raisin can make your dog sick. There isn’t much solid reason why, but grapes and raisins are simply toxic for canines and can lead to kidney failure and even be fatal.

4. Macadamia Nuts

The nut we shell out big money for should never be shared with your pet. Macadamias are extremely poisonous for dogs, and consuming them can lead to abdominal pain, depression, and really mess with a dog’s nervous system and muscle function.

5. Apricot/Apple/Peach/Plum/Cherry Pits

As tempting as they are for dogs to chew when found on the ground, these fruit pits contain cyanide and will poison your pet. Always throw out the stones of all your fruits in a safe container away from your dog.

6. Avocado

A superfood for humans, avocados are a no-no for dogs. The fats in this fruit can be harmful to your dog’s pancreas. Avocados also contain persin, a toxic compound that triggers vomiting and diarrhea.

7. Garlic

Part of the Allium family of plants, garlic can lead to anemia in dogs and harm red blood cells. Symptoms include lethargy, pale gums, and vomiting. Large amounts can be fatal, so monitor what you share with your dog at the dinner table.

8. Onions/Chives

Though not as toxic as garlic, onions fall into the same plant category and will produce the same symptoms and anemia issues.

9. Sugars and Candy

Seems like a no-brainer for any pet, but don’t give into the temptation to share your guilty pleasures. Sugary drinks like soda pop are particularly bad for your pup’s teeth and stomach and can easily lead to weight gain and diabetes.

10. Yeast Dough

Breads and treats that contain yeast will expand in your dog’s stomach and can even cause gastric-dilation volvulus (GDV, or Bloat for short) - a very serious condition that can be fatal.

11. Corn on the Cob

Though a little tough to digest, a bit of corn can be good for your dog. It’s the cob that’s the problem. Not only a choking hazard, corn cobs can cause intestinal blockages and lead to unnecessary sickness and surgery.

12. Cooked Meat Bones

Dogs and bones are a natural sight - but always avoid bones from cooked cuts. After breaking down in the heat, the risk of the bones splintering or shattering is high. And sharp pieces can damage teeth, cause blockage, or even puncture the stomach and intestines of a dog.

13. Raw Eggs

Cooked eggs are healthy for your dog, but raw (or undercooked) eggs contain an enzyme that hinders the absorption of biotin, which can jump start numerous health problems.

14. Caffeine

Coffee, tea, and any other caffeinated products will elevate a dog’s heart rate and may cause abnormal heart rhythms. Caffeine is a human indulgence and should never touch your pet’s lips.

People food that's ok to share

If you do find yourself sharing or going outside the dog food box, there are many “safe” foods your pet can eat. And some that even offer healthy benefits for your pup.


Most meats, with the exception of processed products like salty ham and salamis, are a great source of protein. Meats like turkey, chicken, pork, and rabbit are all safe, and provide good protein if you avoid the fatty cuts.

Fish (especially salmon) can be extremely healthy for a dog as a source of omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin.

Yogurt, cooked eggs, and cottage cheese in moderation are also fantastic sources of protein, as well as a calcium and vitamin boost.

Peanut butter, that perennial pup favourite, is a delicious hit of protein and healthy fats. Choose unsalted, natural peanut butters and watch for xylitol in the ingredients of cheaper brands.

Many fruits and veggies

Everything from apples and bananas to carrots and potatoes are healthy for your dog, just be sure to avoid those mentioned above, and consult this in depth list for more information. Green beans provide a ton of iron and vitamins and pumpkin is a super tasty source of fiber and vitamin A.

Pasta, Rice, and Oatmeal

The occasional spaghetti strand is fine, and brown rice and quinoa are healthy whole grains for your dog. Whole grain oatmeal, in particular, is an excellent source of fibre and filling for dogs with wheat allergies.

Of course, like everything in life, moderation is key. Start slow when introducing a new food to your dog and err on the side of small portions. If you have any dietary questions or your dog responds poorly to any food, always contact your veterinarian.


bottom of page