Sharing tidbits of tasty human food with your dog can make for a fun bonding experience. However, there are certain foods we eat on a regular basis that can be harmful – and potentially fatal – to your dog.
To protect their health, it is vital that you research any new foods before introducing them to your dog’s diet. We’ve compiled a list of popular human foods that your four-legged friend should never eat.
Foods your dog should never eat
A dog’s metabolism is different to a human’s, which is why some foods that are safe for us to consume are not safe for them. Keeping your dog in good health is about understanding what they can and cannot eat.
If you are concerned that your dog has eaten any of the following foods, we recommend talking to your vet immediately or taking them straight to your vet for expert medical attention and advice. If it is after hours and your vet is closed, speak with a 24 hour animal emergency centre.
Sweets and sweeteners
A much-loved sweet treat for people, chocolate is an absolute no-no for dogs as it contains chemicals that canines cannot easily metabolise.
Eating chocolate can cause your pup to experience abdominal pain, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious problems including heart attacks, internal bleeding and death. If your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your vet immediately.
Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods and some diet foods are all sweetened with xylitol. This commonly used sweetener is highly toxic to dogs and can cause their blood sugar to drop as well as causing liver failure.
Early symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, lethargy and coordination problems. Eventually, your dog may begin experiencing seizures, and liver failure can happen within just a few days of ingesting.
It’s important to note that some peanut butters are sweetened with xylitol. If you are someone who uses peanut butter to give your dog medication or as a treat, read the ingredients list on your favourite peanut butter jar before purchasing to ensure that it’s free from xylitol.
Chewing gum contains xylitol, which, as we have learnt, is extremely poisonous to dogs. Always keep chewing gum out of reach of your pup – this means emptying your coat pockets, keeping it zipped up in your day-to-day carry bag, or storing it away in a drawer or out-of-reach cupboard.
Before it’s baked, bread dough needs to rise – which is exactly what uncooked yeast dough would do in your dog’s stomach if they ate it. As it swells inside their stomach, yeast dough can stretch your pup’s abdomen and cause your four-legged friend a lot of pain.
In order for the dough to rise, the yeast must first ferment, a process through which alcohol is created and pumped through your dog’s body, which can also lead to alcohol poisoning.
Eating almonds can cause your pup to suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, gas, lethargy and loss of appetite. The high fat content they contain can also lead to pancreatitis, a condition that causes severe inflammation in the pancreas and inhibits your dog’s digestion and insulin release.
Macadamia nuts are highly poisonous to dogs. Similar to almonds, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Symptoms also include tremors, fever and weakness in your dog’s hind legs that can result in an inability to walk.
Garlic and onions
Both members of the Allium family, garlic and onions contain thiosulfate, a type of ion that is safe for humans to ingest but toxic to dogs. When dogs eat either of these two foods, they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and dehydration.
Too much thiosulfate in your dog’s system could also lead to anaemia (caused by oxidative damage to their red blood cells), symptoms of which include lethargy, general weakness, rapid breathing and dark urine.
A breakfast favourite, avocados are very popular in the human world. However, in the dog world, this delicious green fruit can cause more harm than good. Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin which is safe for human consumption but not for most animals.
Excess persin can cause vomiting, diarrhea and damage to the heart. The fruit’s high fat content – like almonds and macadamia nuts – can also put your pup at risk of developing pancreatitis.
Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins can be fatal to dogs, and we recommend keeping them well out of your four-legged friend’s reach. Ingesting either of these fruits can cause vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration and kidney failure.
Because grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs, we recommend visiting your local vet immediately if you suspect that your pooch has eaten any.
Persimmons, plums and peaches
In the case of persimmons, plums and peaches, it’s not the flesh of the fruit that’s the problem, but the seeds and stone pits they contain. Plum and peach pits contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney and liver damage, as well as an array of other harmful symptoms.
Persimmon seeds (as well as other fruits containing seeds and pits) are not only a choking hazard for your dog, but they can also cause intestinal blockages that lead to more serious digestive problems.
Milk and cheese
Just like people, dogs can suffer from lactose intolerance. While some dogs have no issue digesting dairy products, there are many who, after lapping up some milk or nibbling on some cheese, experience diarrhea and other digestive problems.
A small amount of cheese is okay for most dogs (those who aren’t lactose intolerant), but due to dairy’s high fat content, excess amounts of cheese and other dairy products can contribute to obesity and pancreatitis in your pup.
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs
Bones and fat trimmings
Even though it seems natural to give a dog a bone, there is a possibility that your furry friend could choke on it. Bones are dangerous for dogs because they can splinter and ultimately, wreak internal havoc.
Bone splinters can get trapped in your pup’s gums and cause a serious infection, or block and tear the digestive system as they move through the body. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can also cause pancreatitis in dogs.
It’s easy to feed your dog a sausage at the family BBQ and think nothing of it, but the reality is that sausages are not good for your precious pup.
Though our human metabolism can handle the excess fat and salt, your dog’s cannot, and eating sausages could cause them to develop pancreatitis.
This is an interesting one because while many owners regularly feed raw eggs to their dogs, some vets disagree with the practice as they believe there could be a chance of poisoning from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli.
Sugar isn’t good for people, and it’s not good for dogs, either. An excess of sugar or sugary foods can affect dogs in the same negative way that it affects people: through sugar highs and lows, lethargy, weight gain, teeth problems and even diabetes.
Salt poisoning and water deprivation are common conditions associated with dogs eating too much salt. Symptoms for these conditions include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, depression, tremors and seizures – and severe cases can be fatal.
While cinnamon is not highly toxic to dogs, it can still cause skin irritation and digestive issues. If your pup eats too much of this flavourful spice, they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, low blood sugar and liver disease.
Just like you wouldn’t give alcohol to children, you should never give it to your pets. Alcohol isn’t only found in beverages – it’s also found in everyday household items like cleaning products, perfumes, mouthwash and paint.
Alcohol consumption can cause fatigue, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Too much alcohol can be fatal for your dog.
Too many cups of coffee can leave us feeling pretty wired. For dogs, those feelings are experienced tenfold.
If your dog consumes caffeine – whether it be from coffee, tea or any other form of caffeine-based food or drink – it can cause extreme thirst, vomiting, diarrhea and incontinence, as well as lung failure and heart problems that could result in death.
Human medication is not meant for dogs. You should only ever give your four-legged friend medication that has been prescribed specifically for them by your vet.
Dogs are curious creatures. If they stumble across any personal medication you keep at home, they might eat it without you knowing. To prevent this from happening, be sure to keep your medicine well out of their reach in a high cupboard or other secure location.
Alternative dog treat options
While there are a number of human foods that your dog can’t eat, there are still plenty of healthy, natural dog-friendly snacks that they will love.
Packed with protein, minerals, essential B vitamins and omega fatty acids, our clean dog treats contain all-natural ingredients and nutrients that work together to promote your precious pup’s overall health and wellbeing. Choose from 100% Australian salmon, kangaroo or chicken.
Keep your dog safe from dangerous human foods
You may have noticed that vomiting and diarrhea are key symptoms of food poisoning and toxicity across all of the foods listed above. If your pup is showing these signs, it is likely that they’ve consumed something their body disagrees with.
Potential food toxicity in your pooch is best addressed sooner rather than later. If at any point you are concerned about your dog’s health due to dangerous food consumption, we recommend taking them to the vet for a checkup.