These foods are toxic to your dog

Did you know that many of the common foods that we humans eat can be toxic to our dogs? It's not always easy to navigate the information, so here's a list of the foods that can be life-threatening for your dog. If your dog has ingested any of these foods, it is a good idea to contact a vet for advice.

Chocolate and cocoa

Chocolate and cocoa are toxic to your dog because they contain theobromine. Theobromine is a substance found in chocolate that dogs cannot break down, which can lead to poisoning. How serious it is if your dog ingests chocolate depends on a number of things, such as the cocoa content, how much the dog ingests, how old it is and what it weighs. 

If your dog ingests chocolate, it's always best to call your vet straight away for advice, even if your dog seems alert. Should the dog become symptomatic, this is usually noticed within 2-6 hours, but anything between 1 hour and 24 hours is possible. Keep an extra eye on your dog for vomiting, shaking, excessive salivation, heart palpitations, diarrhoea, cramps and abdominal pain (which can be manifested by, for example, the dog not wanting to eat).

Raisins and grapes

Both raisins and grapes are very dangerous for your dog to ingest. If your dog ingests raisins and grapes, it may suffer from acute kidney failure. All types of grapes and raisins are dangerous for your dog. However, some individuals are more sensitive than others and there is no established link between the amount of raisins/grapes ingested and poisoning in dogs. 

Acute kidney failure is a very serious condition and you must act quickly. Unfortunately, despite prompt treatment, the mortality rate in dogs is high. If poisoning is suspected, contact a veterinarian immediately. Your dog may experience increased thirst and urination, vomiting that occurs 2-48 hours after ingestion of grapes/russin, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, lethargy and weakness.


Both raw and cooked onions contain the substance allicin which is toxic to your dog, the substance can cause anaemia, however it is difficult to say how much can cause poisoning. For those of you who often give your dog leftovers, this is particularly important to consider as human food often contains onions. Diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, pale mucous membranes and abdominal pain are common symptoms of onion poisoning.


Nuts can get stuck in your dog's throat or intestines and home first aid can make a big difference. Salty nuts can lead to your dog getting salt poisoning. Some nuts, such as bitter almonds and macadamia nuts, are also poisonous to your dog. Watch out for loss of appetite, vomiting, bloody stools, impaired liver function, diarrhoea, stomach problems, wobbliness, lethargy and paralysis.

Diets containing yeast

If your dog eats dough that contains yeast, the dough will ferment in the dog's stomach, producing alcohol and making your dog drunk. This is rarely a life-threatening condition but it can be perceived as unpleasant for your dog. So make a habit of always putting dough in a place that you are sure is completely out of your dog's reach. If your dog has ingested dough, you should keep an extra watchful eye to make sure it does not hurt itself and be prepared for some dogs to act aggressively when they find a situation unpleasant. Your dog may become wobbly and unsteady as a result. 


For example, if your dog drinks salt water or eats salty food, it may suffer from salt poisoning. Your dog may suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting, stiffness, cramps, tenderness.


Spices can be deadly for your dog, especially garlic and onion powder. But both chamomile, leek and chives should be avoided to be given to your dog.


Xylitol is commonly found in everyday products such as toothpaste, chewing gum, light products and sweets. The substance is dangerous for your dog as it lowers your dog's blood sugar level and can cause poisoning. It is individual how much xylitol a dog can tolerate without being poisoned, avoid giving your dog anything containing xylitol altogether. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, tremors, convulsions and loss of consciousness. 


As with humans, there are species of fungi that are directly fatal or can make your dog very ill. So be careful and keep an eye out for your dog picking up fungus when you're outdoors. If you suspect that your dog has ingested poisonous mushrooms, you should contact a vet as soon as possible. Symptoms here are usually vomiting, diarrhoea, trembling.


Whole avocados contain a substance called persin which is toxic to dogs and most other animals. Persin can damage the heart and gastrointestinal tract. Common symptoms are vomiting, apathy and diarrhoea.

Fava beans or broad beans

Fava beans or broad beans can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain in your dog.

Contact the vet

If you are worried that your dog has ingested something that may be poisonous, you should always consult a vet. In order for your vet to help you in the best possible way, it is helpful if you know what your dog has ingested and in what quantity. Poisoning can happen quickly, so it is better to consult a vet than to wait too long.

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