Poisonous Foods For Dogs

October 17, 2010  
Filed under Dog Health Tips, featured

Aside from being affectionate, loyal pets, all dogs are famous for their love of treats. Given their nature, it’s always tempting to feed your dog scraps from the table (especially when they give you “puppy eyes”!). However, just because certain types of food are edible for humans, they are not necessarily able to be processed by your dog’s digestive system. There are many human foods that can be toxic for your dog, and may cause serious health problems.


Chocolate is commonly known by many dog owners as being a toxic substance for pets. The reason chocolate is dangerous, is because it contains theobromine, which is a cardiac stimulant. Consuming large amounts of chocolate will cause a dog to become extremely sick, as the overdose of theobromine will cause the heart to beat irregularly. Chocolate can also cause extreme excitement in your dog, as well as hyperactivity (due to the high caffeine content). Death by heart failure is very common in dogs that have eaten a significant amount of chocolate.

Onions & Garlic

Onions and garlic both contain thiosulphate, which is extremely toxic to animals. Thiosulphate can cause haemolytic anaemia, which is an extremely serious condition. Dogs that are affected by haemolytic anaemia will have their red blood cells burst during circulation, which will show up in your dog’s vomit or urine. Symptoms include weakness, listlessness, vomiting and irregular urine. This is a very serious condition, and if your dog has eaten any products containing onions, it is strongly recommended to take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have only been recently discovered as a toxic substance that can negatively affect pet health. The specific element in macadamia nuts that is toxic for animals is unknown, however, several studies have proven that this is a very dangerous food for dogs. Ingestion of macadamia nuts can cause  swollen joints, labored breathing, and muscle tremors. Most dogs only need ingest a few macadamia nuts to have a negative reaction.

Large Amounts of Liver

Feeding your dog large amounts of “organ meats” (such as liver and kidney meat) can be extremely toxic. These meats are very high in Vitamin A, which should only be given in moderated amounts. Too much organ meat can cause Hypervitaminosis A (Vitamin A poisoning), which results in vomiting, nausea, and loss of muscle coordination.

Fat Trimmings

Though small amounts of fat are needed to sustain your dog’s overall health, large amounts of fat, especially in a single meal, can be extremely dangerous for your dog. Ingestion of a single high-fat meal can cause pancreatitis, a condition that is extremely dangerous if not treated. The pancreas is responsible for secreting digestive enzymes to help break down fats. However, with the constant ingestion of high-fat foods, the pancreas overworks itself, secreting an excess of digestive fluids. These fluids eventually begin to “digest” the pancreas and surrounding organs, sometimes causing complete failure of the pancreas.

These are just a handful of the many foods that can potentially poison your dog.  Always make sure that you do your research before feeding your dog a new food or even plant new shrub in your garden.  Also be sure that any poisonous foods are never left in places accessible by your dog.

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18 Responses to “Poisonous Foods For Dogs”
  1. Brad says:

    I work in a food and environmental lab and get to test a lot of products for dog food companies amongst a lot of other human consumption products.

    One major thing that needs to be on this list is Avocado. Avocado will and does kill animals. The toxic component is called Persin. Humans are able to break this agent down during digestion, most other animals cannot. If you have ever fed your chickens a bunch of table scraps and come out next morning and found them dead, (as one of my co-workers did) then check if avocado was in the scraps.

    Regarding Onion and Garlic, I wish these two plants were discussed separately. Simply put, the compound in onions that is toxic to animals is called Thiosulphate. The levels of thiosulphate in onion compared to garlic is massive by comparison. Here is one of the more realistic and accurate articles I’ve come across. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/garlic-for-dogs.html

    A quote from the article: “Though garlic also belongs to the onion family, there are slight differences between them. Garlic does not contain the same high concentrations of thiosulphate as onion and so is not very harmful for dogs. In fact, it is barely traceable in amounts and gets easily excreted from the body.”

  2. oce' says:

    I’d say tuffy’s dog food should be on there it killed 4 of my small dogs i couldn’t find out why, but when i had them scanned or what ever there was rat poison in then and that food was all they eat.

  3. Winnifred Graham says:

    The articles regarding the feeding of dogs and what food should be avoid I find very interesting. However, I must say that their is a different between the pure bread bree, as oppose to what we call in my country Mongrel dogs. Our mongrel dogs eat just about anything, never gone to the Vet, never had a shot of any kind, they are just wonderful dogs that are mostly fed from table scrap and restaurant scrap which will include at anytime, onions, garlic and all that is used to season these food before thy were cooked. Vet. of America, maybe you should look into taking a look at our so called Mongrel Dogs who is so very easy to care for. Unless they are deliberately poison by someone they are as healthy as a horse.

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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