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Author Jessica White
Jessica White Writer
Updated on Apr 9th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

What Foods Are Poisonous To Your Dog? Top Tips

Your dog's health and well-being start with what's in their food bowl. Many dog owners are increasingly conscious of their pets' nutrition, opting for quality kibble or even homemade meals. However, the quest for the perfect diet can also lead to the dangerous territory of feeding your dog foods that are safe for humans but toxic to them.

The need for awareness about food safety for dogs is more important than ever. A single table scrap or a seemingly innocent treat can result in an emergency vet visit. Unknowingly, you might be feeding your dog foods like chocolate, grapes, or onions that could have severe health implications.

Nom Nom offers a practical solution to this dilemma. It specializes in fresh, nutritionally-balanced meals, so you know you’re feeding your dog only good stuff. With an array of safe and delicious options, Nom Nom ensures your 4-legged friend enjoys meals that are both tasty and tailored to their nutritional needs.

Quick Guide: Human Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

  • Chocolate: Found in brownies, cakes, and candy bars, chocolate contains theobromine, harmful to dogs.

  • Grapes and Raisins: Present in fruit salads and some baked goods, these can lead to kidney failure in dogs.

  • Onions and Garlic: Common in stews, stir-fries, and seasonings, these can cause blood disorders in dogs.

  • Alcohol: Found in beer, wine, and mixed drinks, alcohol can lead to poisoning and even death in dogs.

  • Xylitol: Used in sugar-free gum, peanut butter, and some baked goods, it can cause rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia in dogs.

  • Nuts (Especially Macadamia Nuts): Included in cookies and trail mix, these nuts can cause severe lethargy and vomiting in dogs.

  • Avocado: Used in guacamole and salads, it contains persin, which can upset a dog's stomach

  • Caffeine: Found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks, caffeine can cause rapid heart rate and seizures in dogs.

Why Are Some Human Foods Poisonous to Dogs?

Dogs and humans have distinct metabolic processes. This means that foods that are safe for people can be harmful or even lethal to dogs. Chemicals and compounds found in certain human foods are metabolized differently in dogs. For instance, the liver enzymes in dogs can't break down certain substances effectively, which can lead to toxic accumulations in their bodies.

Specific compounds in foods pose particular risks. Ingredients like theobromine in chocolate or disulfides in onions interfere with a dog's biological functions, affecting organs like the heart or damaging red blood cells. Such variations in metabolism and biological impact make it essential to feed dogs food that’s specifically formulated for them.

Image of a bowl of Nom Nom's fresh food surrounded by bowls of individual ingredients
Nom Nom's recipes are packed with fresh ingredients that are super healthy for your dog

Nom Nom’s meals are crafted with fresh ingredients tailored for a dog's metabolism. Using high-quality components that prioritize your dog's health and safety ensures they receive nutrition without the risks associated with human foods. Every recipe undergoes rigorous scrutiny, providing peace of mind when you want the best for your furry companions.

What Foods Are Bad For Dogs And What to Look Out For


Theobromine in chocolate is toxic to dogs. While harmless for humans, dogs metabolize this compound much slower, allowing toxic levels to accumulate in their systems. Remember that dark chocolate and cooking chocolate are the most dangerous for dogs to consume.

If your dog eats chocolate, watch out for any alarming symptoms. These include rapid breathing, an irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, seizures, and vomiting. Any of these signs can indicate chocolate poisoning.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure in dogs. The exact harmful substance in these fruits remains unidentified but poses a significant risk. Sultanas are also toxic foods for dogs, so avoid these, too.

Dogs affected by these fruits display distinct signs. Lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and vomiting are typical symptoms to monitor. If you witness any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain thiosulfate which is indigestible for dogs. Consuming large quantities can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Don’t forget the rest of the onion family, which includes leeks, shallots, and chives.

Symptoms of onion or garlic ingestion can be concerning. Look out for indications like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy in your dog.


Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans. Even small amounts can adversely affect their liver and brain. So keep any alcoholic drinks out of reach of your pooch.

The symptoms of alcohol consumption in dogs can be severe. Vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation, and lethargy indicate alcohol poisoning, necessitating immediate veterinary care.


Xylitol, a common sugar substitute, is very dangerous for dogs. It can induce a rapid insulin release, plunging them into hypoglycemia. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free products and occasionally in peanut butter, so check the ingredients carefully.

Signs of xylitol poisoning are often immediate. Vomiting, loss of coordination, and an erratic heartbeat are common symptoms.

Nuts (Especially Macadamia Nuts)

Macadamia nuts, among other types, pose neurological threats to dogs. While not all nuts are toxic, this specific variety can be especially harmful.

If your dog consumes macadamia nuts, they might display alarming signs. Muscle tremors, weakness, vomiting, and hyperthermia are symptoms to be wary of.


Avocados contain persin, a compound that can be toxic in large amounts to dogs. While a small amount might not be harmful, consistent feeding or significant quantities pose risks. Plus, dogs can easily swallow an avocado pit, which could get stuck and cause an intestinal blockage.

Dogs affected by avocado often show gastrointestinal discomfort. Diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are typical signs of avocado ingestion.

Other Risky Items

Beyond the commonly known toxic foods, there are others that may pose a risk to your dog's health.

  • Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and cause internal injuries or obstructions.

  • Fatty Foods: Foods like bacon can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

  • Raw Dough: Can expand inside a dog's stomach, causing pain or even rupture.

  • Dairy Products: Many dogs are lactose intolerant; avoid giving them items like ice cream.

  • Salty Foods: High salt intake is harmful, and drinking seawater can cause salt poisoning.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Toxic Food

Realizing your dog has consumed something harmful can be frightening. Taking immediate and appropriate steps is crucial to ensure their well-being.

  • Stay calm: Panic can make situations worse and delay your response. Take a deep breath and focus on the necessary actions.

  • Identify the ingested substance: Determine what your dog ate and how much. The packaging or remnants of the food can provide useful information.

  • Contact your veterinarian: Always call your vet or an emergency animal clinic as soon as possible. They can provide guidance on the next steps and let you know if you need to bring your dog in for treatment.

  • Do not induce vomiting without vet advice: While it might seem like a good idea to get the substance out, inducing vomiting can sometimes do more harm, depending on what was ingested.

  • Keep packaging or remnants: If you're heading to the vet, bring along the packaging or remnants of the toxic substance. This will help the vet understand what was consumed and how best to treat it.

  • Monitor your dog: Watch for any signs of distress, including vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, lethargy, or seizures. Keeping a close eye on them can help you communicate any changes to the vet.

  • Prevent future incidents: Once the immediate danger has passed, evaluate and secure potential hazards in your home to ensure your dog doesn’t ingest something harmful again. Store risky foods and substances out of their reach.

In any case of potential poisoning, seeking professional advice promptly is essential. Remember, time is of the essence, and the quicker you act, the better the outcome is likely to be for your furry friend.

What Are Healthy Alternatives to Feed Your Dog?

Providing your dog with nutritious alternatives is key to their well-being. Instead of risking their health with potentially toxic human foods, it's better to opt for wholesome treats and meals specifically tailored for canine consumption.

Here are some top healthy alternatives:

    • Carrots: Low in calories and high in fiber, carrots are a great snack that can even benefit your dog's dental health.

      • Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants and fiber, blueberries make for a nutritious treat in moderation.

        • Cooked Chicken: A lean source of protein, cooked chicken can be a great additive to your dog’s regular diet.

          • Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins and fiber, cooked sweet potatoes can be a beneficial and digestible treat for dogs.

            • Pumpkin: High in fiber and low in calories, plain cooked pumpkin can help with digestive issues.

              • Green Beans: Low-calorie and high in fiber, green beans are a good option if you're looking to manage your dog's weight.

                • Apples: High in vitamins A and C, apples can be a refreshing and nutritious snack for dogs; just be sure to remove the seeds and core.

                  • Salmon: Full of omega-3 fatty acids, cooked salmon can contribute to a healthy coat and boost the immune system.

                  Image of Nom Nom's Turkey fare recipe in a bowl surrounded by fresh turkey, carrots, spinach, and a bowl of brown rice
                  Nom Nom's Turkey Fare recipe is packed with carrots, spinach, and brown rice which are great healthy foods for your dog

                  Nom Nom incorporates these wholesome foods into its specialized recipes. This means your dog receives a balanced and nutritious diet. With Nom Nom, you're opting for convenience and the assurance that your pet is being fed ingredients that support their health and well-being.

                  Tips to Keep Dogs Safe from Unsafe Foods

                  Implementing a few precautions ensures your furry friend's safety and well-being. Follow these essential tips:

                  • Educate the family: Ensuring every family member knows which foods are dangerous for dogs is vital. When everyone is informed, the likelihood of accidental feeding decreases, creating a safer environment for your pet.

                  • Use dog-specific treats: By sticking to treats made especially for canines, you eliminate the risk of unknowingly giving them something harmful. These treats are designed with a dog's nutritional needs and digestive capabilities in mind.

                  • Be wary during gatherings: Parties or family events can be hotspots for accidental feedings. Informing your guests about the dangers of certain foods and kindly asking them not to feed your dog keeps everyone on the same page and your dog out of harm's way.

                  • Avoid feeding leftovers: While it might seem harmless to share a bit of your meal with your furry friend, seasonings or minor ingredients can be dangerous. It's always best to be cautious and opt for dog-safe foods instead.

                  The Bottom Line: What Can’t Dogs Eat?

                  A variety of foods can be harmful to dogs, some surprisingly so. It's crucial to be vigilant about what your canine companion consumes. If you're ever in doubt about something your dog has ingested, always refer to ingredient labels and consult with your veterinarian immediately.

                  Opting for a balanced diet like Nom Nom offers, is a wise choice. Human foods can range in their effects on dogs, from mild stomach upsets to fatal consequences. Prioritize your pup's health by choosing meals filled with wholesome, beneficial ingredients tailored for them.


                  What human foods can dogs not eat?

                  Several human foods are off-limits for dogs. These include chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, caffeine, and alcohol. It's essential to familiarize yourself with these and ensure your dog can’t access them. Check out my tips for keeping dogs safe from poisonous human foods.

                  Can dogs get sick from too much human food?

                  Yes, excessive human food can harm dogs. Even if the food isn't toxic, ingredients or seasonings in human meals might upset a dog's digestive system.

                  What can dogs not eat that are most toxic?

                  Some of the most toxic foods for dogs are chocolate, grapes, onions, and xylitol. Consumption of these, even in small amounts, can be life-threatening. It's very important to keep these out of their reach.

                  Is it safe to give my dog leftovers?

                  Feeding leftovers to dogs isn't advisable. Human meals often have ingredients or seasonings that can harm dogs. For a nutritionally sound and safe option, consider feeding your dog fresh dog food from Nom Nom.

                  Are there any safe human foods I can share with my dog?

                  Yes, many human foods are safe for dogs. Some examples are lean meats, certain fruits like blueberries and apples (without seeds), and vegetables like carrots. Always ensure that the food is unseasoned and served in moderation.

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