What foods are harmful to dogs?

We love sharing a treat with our dog – and the good news is that when it comes to treat-time, you’ve got plenty of foods to choose from. We’ve even put together a handy guide on everything they can safely enjoy here.

But this blog is all about the bad stuff. If you’re a seasoned dog owner or a brand new one, use this blog as a handy guide to all the foods you should keep well out of reach. Some will make your dog feel a little unwell, whilst others are seriously harmful, toxic – and can potentially kill them.

Some food you might already know like chocolate and alcohol. But what about nuts or dairy? There might be a surprise or two in the list below…


Alcohol affects dogs more intensely than humans and is really damaging to lots of your dog’s organs – including the kidneys, liver, and stomach. Be extra careful if sweet alcoholic drinks are around, as the sugar can cover up the alcohol flavour that normally puts dogs off.


Another big no-no is chocolate. It contains theobromine – a substance similar to caffeine that’s poisonous for dogs. Dark chocolate can be especially dangerous as it contains much more theobromine than regular milk choc.


Coffee (and tea) is a stimulant – it can make dogs anxious, hyperactive, and affect their heart. It can even cause them to collapse or have a seizure if they have too much. It’s best to keep that morning brew out of reach.

Apple pips

Apple pips contain cyanide – so ditch the core, and serve tasty pip-free slices instead.

Blue cheese

Dairy is best avoided altogether, but blue cheese can be especially dangerous. It releases roquefortine C – a toxin that, in severe cases, can cause tremors and seizures.

Grapes, raisins, and currants

These are all highly toxic, causing serious problems – including kidney failure. If your dog gets hold of these, it’s best to get them to the vet quickly.

Onions, garlic, and leeks

These all contain thiosulphate which causes gastrointestinal problems and severe anemia. Lots of dishes contain any one of these, so keep anything risky out of reach.


A common artificial sweetener, xylitol is toxic for dogs – and it’s often in things you wouldn’t expect (like peanut butter).


This brunch staple contains persin – a chemical that can upset your dog’s stomach. 

Milk and cheese

Dogs can’t digest lactose properly, so it’s best to avoid feeding them milk, cheese, or any other high-lactose dairy products.


See what fish is fine here  – but shellfish like crab, prawns, and crayfish contain pathogens that can make your dog very unwell. Shellfish also has high levels of an amino acid called histidine, which can cause an allergic reaction.

Most nuts

When it comes to nuts, avoid everything except xylitol-free peanut butter. Most nuts can leave your dog very poorly – and macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous, as they can cause vomiting, fever, and muscle weakness.


Cooked bones are brittle, meaning pieces can break off and get stuck in your dog’s throat or digestive system. Raw bones must be stored properly, as they can carry nasty bacteria that will upset your dog’s stomach.

How can I tell if my dog has eaten something that’s bad for them?

It depends on what they’ve eaten, but if you notice anything off – or if there’s vomiting, diarrhoea, or even seizures – get them straight down to the vet for a check up. Stick to regular mealtimes to keep track of your dog’s digestive health and help you spot anything out of the ordinary.

How can I stop my dog eating something that’s bad for them?

Keep anything dangerous out of reach. And if your dog is a bit of a scavenger, keep temptation at bay by feeding a delicious and nutritionally complete food at mealtimes.

31 thoughts on “What foods are harmful to dogs?”

  1. Hey Emily, this list is very helpful! I’m going to print this, and leave it on the refrigerator as a reminder for everyone in my household.

  2. Hello; Our Jack Russel suffers from itchiness in the summer months can anyone tell me if they have a solution to the problem, we have used Apiquel tablets and they have little or no effect

    • I would talk to the vet about an allergy shot or about putting a safe digestive oil for dogs mixed in your dogs food, as it could be simply dry skin or allergies.

    • Do they react more around certain outside plants? If so they may have allergies that are enviromental. Or sometimes if they are not getting enough activity it could be nerves. I don’t know how old your dog is but perhaps they suffer from arthritis pain. Although it seems more like an allergy. Some dogs don’t respond well to the same med. I would see if there is something else.

  3. My vet suggested Piriton tablets three times a day. Though it did clear up the red eyes it didn’t really stop the itching, so I would be grateful if anybody has any suggestions too.

    • I give my dog one half of Benadryl and it stops the itching. I had been told this by a vet. I also gave him just a little bacon grease and it helped to moisturize his skin. A vet told me to do that as he would get hot spots and would scratch so much the skin would scab up. When I bathed him I also used a conditioner on them.

    • look up a company called “stinky stuff” for dogs. I used it on my spaniel who used to have itchiness through the summer months and it seems to help. Its not cheap but does come recommended.

    • A little bit of pork is absolutely fine for dogs to eat! Just remember, pork can be quite fatty so it’s best in moderation, or with all fat trimmed off.

  4. My puppy loves digging and eating the soil. Also, ants, moths, grasshoppers and crane flies. Basically, if it moves in the grass, he will eat it. Are any of these harmful?

    • Hi Paula – it’s unlikely they’ll do him any harm, but it’s best to be on the safe side, so try to keep him away from any creepy crawlies where you can!

  5. There are certain food items, which are considered to be safe for human beings but are not considered to be safe for dogs. So, what food can kill dogs? Basically, dogs have a different type of metabolism than the human beings. Because of this, a few items of food are not considered to be safe for dogs and those are toxic to them. We should always make sure that the dogs are out of reach of those particular food items.

  6. My dog Bodie has got into the habit of going around frantically licking my wooden floor every evening sometimes it can go on most of the evening


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