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A complete list of dog poison foods to be avoided

The following is a comprehensive ‘almost’ complete list of commonly available human foods that are toxic and sometimes deadly to dogs.

You will notice that the list of dog poison foods are all vegetable based or vegetable by-products.

This is another example of why feeding your dog, meat and meat dog treats, is the only safe and natural way to go.

There are a few surprising inclusions in the list and it is recommended that every dog owner is familiar with all of them.

Note that the majority of the definitions below do not include toxic weights primarily because this varies depending on dog breed, size, age etc. As these foods are dangerous at any level it is recommended that none of them are fed to dogs. The only proper treatment option if your dog has eaten these foods and is behaving strangely is to take your dog immediately to a vet for proper diagnosis.

DOG POISON Foods/ toxic to ALL DOG

Alcohol.  Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol - a seriously toxic chemical (small amounts) to dogs that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression. Note uncooked yeast doughs also produce ethanol.  Poisoning signs include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia (low body temperature).

Ethanol is quickly absorbed into the dogs body so medical attention is urgent. Because of the absorption vomiting is of often of little value. Treatment includes fluid therapy and medications.

Avocado: All parts are toxic to dogs including the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark, This is because avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. The high fat content will also cause indigestion on dogs.

Baking Soda, baking powder - large quantities need to be eaten to be toxic and generally dogs are not attracted to these powders. The toxic effect is from the release of gases when they react with moisture and heat in a dog's stomach. This reaction can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), muscle spasms and /or congestive heart failure.

Bones – Cooked bones, particularly small boned animals such as chicken are bad as the bone can splinter and get lodged in the dogs mouth or pierce their stomach or intestine. Raw bones are preferred, however leaving a dog with a large bone, if it is obsessive can lead to excessive wearing of teeth or choking hazards. This is why it is often preferable to leave a dog with dog treats hidden around the yard or inside of specially crafted dog treat toys, so that they can remain preoccupied and not get over fed or hurt.

Caffeine - Caffeine and chocolate poisoning has a similar affect and treatment. Caffeine ingestion can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. Dogs can accidently eat caffeine from caffeine pills, coffee beans and coffee, large amounts of tea, and chocolate.

Signs typically begin with restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting, panting, weakness, drunken gait increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions. Treatment is usually to induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage (stomach pump). Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.

Chocolate (cocoa) -  Contains Theobromine, a cardiac stimulant and diuretic which can be fatal to dogs. Theobromide adversely affects the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.

Overdose varies depending on the purity of the cocoa in the chocolate, the darker colour the chocolate, usually the more dangerous. Hence as little as 50g or cooking chocolate can poison a 10 Kg dog, while cheaper white chocolate may take as much as a 250g block to make a dog really sick.  Signs include excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, drunken gait, hyperthermia and coma.

Treatment may include inducing vomiting or performing gastric lavage (stomach pumping). Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and fluid therapy and medications. Charcoal is a powerful de-toxicant and is often applied at the rate of 1-3 gm per 1kg of dog body weight. Essentially the charcoal soaks up the toxic chemical before it reaches the kidneys. Re dosing is required every four to eight hours under the guidance of a vet.

Chives (same issue as for onions and garlic) – resulting in kidney damage

Dairy products are not considered toxic, however the lactose usually makes digestion difficult, this is why dog treat manufactures often make a special dog milk that is lactose free and boosted with vitamins. That is why the yogurt drops we sell are lactose free.

Foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium can cause indigestion, obesity, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance

Fruit Pits and Seeds: Apple seeds, almond kernels, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide. Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia (rapid heart rate), cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), coma, skin irritation. Treatments vary but may include oxygen therapy, fluids and supportive care.

Garlic: Contains Thiosulphate, though in a smaller amount than in onions. This means that it takes more to be toxic to a dog but it builds up in their system.

Grapes: Affects a dog's kidneys. As few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 10 Kg dog.

Macadamia Nuts: Affects the nervous system (causing neurological symptoms). The toxin is unknown and may not be fatal but can cause severe illness.  Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/muscle pain, and joint swelling. Note that in small doses these high fat nuts will mostly upset a dog’s stomach leading to diarrhoea. High doses may lead to pancreatitis. Sickness occurs within 6-24 hours.  With treatment dogs may take one to two days to recover and may require constant vet care.

Mushrooms: Affect the nervous system, kidneys and heart. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom and symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death.

Nutmeg: Can cause seizures and central nervous system damage. Symptoms include seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems, and death. The toxic compound is unknown however different dogs can react very differently to nutmeg. In humans its main effect is causing rapid heart rate, however because of dogs relatively small size, this can lead to the more severe symptoms listed above.

Onions: Contains same toxin as garlic (Thiosulphate) but it is much more concentrated in onions. Will cause hemolytic anemia called Heinz body anemia, this causes the destruction of red blood cells (red blood cells burst while circulating in its body) and can lead to kidney damage. Poisoning occurs from raw, cooked and dehydrated forms and affect is cumulative. This is why it is dangerous to feed dogs table scraps that may contain onion hidden in the sauces etc  Onion sources may also include  pizza, Chinese food and commercial baby food.

Onion poisoning symptoms are those shown by anaemia, such as pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, and bloody urine. Treatment: blood transfusions and/or oxygen administration may be necessary, followed by specific fluid therapy.

Pistachio nuts are high in fat causing digestion and diarrhea issues. Long term, eating of pistachios can cause dog pancreatitis.

Potato leaves and stems (green parts) contain oxalates, which can be toxic to dogs

Raisins: Same very high toxicity as for grapes

Rotten or Moldy Foods - Dogs can access these foods from rubbish bins or compost bins. The strong decaying smell can easily attract them.  Dogs may get botulism (bad bacteria) from garbage which can cause paralysis, slow heart rate, constipation, and urine retention. Recovery is dependent on how soon treatment is started.  Note decomposing fruit produces ethanol which is toxic as described elsewhere in this article.

The signs of moldy food poising can also include muscle tremors, convulsions and drunkenness. The therapy is very dependent on the type of toxin ingested. Treatment can include inducing vomiting or use of activated charcoal. Supportive care with fluids and medications is often required.

Rhubarb leaves -  Parts of these contain oxalates, which can be toxic to dogs

Salt - though rare, excess consumption can create excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Sodium ion poisoning restricts the amount of water and oxygen in the body. Dogs can gain excess salt either from poorly made dog snacks or human snacks such as chips or pop corn.

The symptoms includevomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures, kidney failure. It may even cause death. A dog diagnosed with epilepsy without a known cause can actually be suffering from salt poisoning. Vets will sometimes give anantibiotic and anti-emetic drug to stop seizures. They may also use intravenous therapy to increase the flow of oxygen and flush the high salt content from the blood.

Salmon -  Eating raw salmon (Steelhead and other trout ) can cause poisoning. The disease is caused from a deadly bacteria carried by some free swimming-parasites called flukes. If a dog eats the raw fish infested with the fluke, the parasites can attach to the walls of a dogs intestine releasing the bacteria. The bacteria can enter the blood stream and spread to other organs. Symptoms include diarrhoea, dehydration, depression and even death.

It can easily be prevented by cooking all fish before feeding your dog. If you are outdoors were salmon spawn, you need to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat fish carcases.

Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)  Parts of these contain oxalates, which can be toxic to dogs

Walnuts can cause gastric intestinal issues or obstructions in dogs. Moldy walnuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins (toxic chemical products produced by fungi). This is extremely toxic to dogs can cause  seizures or neurological symptoms. Ref 2

Xylitol is the synthetic sweetener often used in sugar free foods. which can cause liver failure in dogs. The reason is that it stimulates the pancreas to secrete excess insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The effects are very toxic with as little as two pieces of sugar free xylitol gum causing hypoglycemia to a 10 Kg dog.

Toxicity is RAPID, with affects occurring within an hour of ingestion. Signs of Xylitol poisoning include weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.  Treatment includes inducing vomiting or stomach pumping as well as being fed dextrose (sugar) intravenously. Close monitoring is required for up to two days but kidney damage is often permanent.

Best dog treat options for dogs with allergies

NO meat is poisonous to dogs, and while meat allergies are very low, if you have not had your dog tested and suspect a food allergy, see your vet for an exclusion diet option.

Failing that most dogs have beef or chicken or lamb in their commercial dog food, so if a dog is going to show an allergy to a meat protein it is most likely to be to the meat that they are regularly consuming in their foods.

That is why Kangaroo meat is often used in exclusion diets, because dogs are rarely exposed to roo, and its considered to be a hypo allergenic meat.   Our Kangaroo Jerkyis a 100% meat treat perfect for most dogs !

The same can be said for most fish dog treats.

If you are going to feed your dog these dog treats regularly then you are probably after the more economical fish dog treats for each meal such as:

Flake, Hoki (blue grenadier) or Sardines.

Meat toxicity in dogs is VERY RARE

An allergy to meat in a dogs is quite rare. Although it is noted that bone marrow is a very concentrated form of fat that can make some dogs have indigestion or be physically ill. A genuine meat allergy seems to occur mostly in dogs who have a general high sensitivity to the environment. This means that they form an allergy to a specific meat protein. This is ironic since dogs are carnivores and in the wild do not have any meat allergies. Though rare, the symptoms of meat allergy are the same as for the many other forms of allergies that dogs can contract. These include constant scratching and nasal discharge soon after contact or ingestion of meat.

Dogs can also have wheezing and coughing issues. The affects of these allergies are usually immediate and obvious. If a dog becomes allergic to a type of meat, there is no reason to make them become a vegetarian, as there are many other varieties of meat you can introduce to your carnivore dog.

The one dog breed that appears to be highly susceptible to meat allergies is the Dalmatian. It has a predisposition to urate urolithiasis complications due to a metabolic defect in its breed. This is why dalmatian owners must feed their dogs low protein diets that reduce the risk of producing urate calculi. Their diet must be formulated to provide adequate nutrition that meat usually provides.

This is why dalmations are often put on a diet of commercial dry dog food (grain) with a crude protein content of 15% to reduce urinary precipitates.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to

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