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What Can (And Can’t) Dogs Eat The Complete Guide

Whether you are a first-time dog parent or you have been parenting pups for as long as you can remember, one question that you will find yourself asking regularly is “is (was) that safe for my dog to eat?” In “What can (and can’t) dogs eat?” we are going to cover just about everything you need to know.

Table of Contents

A Brief Note

The following list can serve as a reference point for healthy snacks for your dog and as a source of information should your dog accidentally eat “human food”. This list may also be helpful as a reference when home cooking dog food.

If you plan to use this list as a guide for home cooking, consult with your vet and a veterinary nutritionist before doing so. Your dog has unique nutritional needs, and those needs must be met for your dog’s health.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Something That They Shouldn't

If your dog does eat something that it should not, call your veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is unavailable, call the pet poison helpline at (888) 426-4435. You should also have the address and phone number of a local emergency vet on hand.

The pet poison helpline can tell you how emergent the situation is. The vet-on-call will instruct you on how to handle the situation. If the helpline directs you to go to the emergency vet clinic, leave right away. Have a friend or family member call ahead to let them know that you are on your way.

Some items can do just as much damage coming back up as they do when ingested. So DO NOT induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian!

What To Expect From The Vet When Your Dog Eats Something That They Shouldn't

You need to have as much information available for the vet as possible when you get to the veterinary clinic. Expect the following questions:

  • What did your dog eat?
  • How much of it did your dog eat?
  • How long ago did your dog eat it?
  • What symptoms is your dog showing, if any?

You should also remind your vet of any health conditions your dog has, any allergies your dog has, and any medications that your dog is currently taking. Your vet will have this information on file, but it is faster for you to verbally confirm this when you arrive at the vet clinic.

The treatment that your dog receives at the vet clinic will vary depending on what they have eaten. Some treatment options include stabilization, administering activated charcoal, inducing vomiting, and administering a binding agent.

Monitoring And Stabilization

Monitoring and stabilization mean giving your dog supportive care until the risk of danger has passed. During this time, the veterinary clinic will keep a watchful eye on your dog for any signs of distress. The vet may also give your dog IV fluids.

IV fluids will keep your dog hydrated and help to move any toxins through your dog’s system at a faster pace.

Inducing Vomiting

One of the first lines of defense against toxicity in humans and animals is to induce vomiting. As we mentioned above, inducing vomiting is not the best solution for all toxins, so you should not attempt it without veterinary supervision.

In cases where your vet recommends inducing vomiting, they will introduce an emetic medication through IV. Within a few minutes, your dog will begin vomiting.

After your dog vomits, your vet will keep them at the veterinary clinic for monitoring and stabilization.

If a vet helpline technician or your veterinarian recommends inducing vomiting at home, they will guide you through administering hydrogen peroxide by mouth to induce vomiting.

Administering Activated Charcoal

Vets do not use activated charcoal as often as they used to because it can cause additional health complications. In cases where inducing vomiting has not been ineffective or when large quantities of a toxic substance get ingested; however, the vet may use activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal gets given by mouth or, if necessary, via a stomach tube. The activated charcoal coats the lining of your dog’s digestive tract and absorbs the toxin, preventing or reducing the number of toxins that your dog’s digestive system absorbs.

To be effective activated charcoal must be administered soon after ingestion of a toxin since it works by absorbing toxins.

Administering Specialized Treatment

In some instances, the substance that your dog has ingested may require specific treatment.

For example, in some instances of xylitol poisoning, treatment may include:

  • IV fluids with dextrose to combat hypoglycemia
  • Plasma transfusion to improve protein and clotting factors
  • Intravenous vitamin K to address severely impaired blood clotting
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics as a prophylactic against liver infection
  • GI protectants to protect the digestive tract
  • Hepatoprotectants to support the liver.

So, What Foods Can And Can't Dogs Eat?


Fruits Dog’s should not eat:


The fruit, leaves, seeds, and bark of the avocado contain persin. Persin causes diarrhea, vomiting, and in severe cases of toxicity, damage to the heart. For more information on why dogs can’t eat avocados please see our article here.


The “flesh” of the cherry is okay for dogs to eat (although it is high in sugar,) but the pit of the cherry contains cyanide. Smaller amounts of cyanide ingestion can cause salivation, respiratory distress, paralysis, and convulsions. Larger amounts of cyanide can cause death in minutes.


Currants – like grapes and raisins – are toxic to dogs. No single causative factor has been identified in current toxicity, but vets do know that it impairs renal function and can result in kidney failure.


Gooseberries are a member of the currant family, and like currants, they impair renal function when ingested and can cause kidney failure.


Grapefruit contains psoralen that can cause progressive toxicity and eventually death.

Symptoms of psoralen poisoning include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, excessive drooling, light sensitivity, and an inability to stand.

Psoralen is fast-acting and particularly concentrated in the peel, seeds, and pith of the fruit.

Grapefruits also contain essential oils like limonene and linalool that may cause liver and kidney damage when ingested.


Like currants and gooseberries, grapes are toxic to dogs and impair renal function. They may eventually cause death from renal failure. For more information on dogs and grapes please see our article here


Like grapefruit, lemons contain psoralen and essential oils that are toxic to dogs and can cause progressive toxicity and eventually death.

Symptoms of psoralen poisoning include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, excessive drooling, light sensitivity, and the inability to stand.

Psoralen is fast-acting and particularly concentrated in the peel, seeds, and pith of the fruit.

Lemons also contain essential oils like limonene and linalool that may cause liver and kidney damage when ingested.


Like lemons, limes contain psoralen and essential oils that are toxic to dogs and can cause progressive toxicity and eventually death.

Symptoms of psoralen poisoning include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, excessive drooling, light sensitivity, and the inability to stand.

Psoralen is fast-acting and particularly concentrated in the peel, seeds, and pith of the fruit.

Limes also contain essential oils like limonene and linalool that may cause liver and kidney damage when ingested.


Marionberries are derived from the blackberry and are native to Oregon, but veterinarians believe that they are toxic to dogs.


The persimmon flesh is safe for your dog to eat, but the seeds and the fruit pit can cause intestinal obstruction. Persimmons are also high in sugar and can cause diarrhea if large quantities get eaten.


There is no hard proof that pomegranate is toxic to dogs; however, many dogs experience nausea, vomiting, and general gastrointestinal distress after eating this fruit, so it is best to avoid it.


Like marionberries, veterinarians believe that salmonberries are toxic to dogs.


Like marionberry and salmonberry, serviceberries are toxic to dogs.


Sultanas fall into the same category as raisins, grapes, and currants and should be avoided as they impair renal functioning. Sultanas can also lead to liver failure.


It is okay to give your dog small pieces of ripened tomato now and again, but never give your dog any unripened tomatoes or let them get hold of the tomato plant.

Tomato plants are a member of the nightshade family, and unripened tomatoes and tomato plants contain solanine. Symptoms of solanine poisoning include diarrhea, abnormal body temperature, labored breathing, and heart problems.

Fruits Dogs can eat:

  • Apples (but not the stem or seeds.) For a more in-depth article on dogs and apples please see this article here.

  • Bananas (in moderation)

  • Blackberries

  • Blueberries

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cranberries

  • Cucumbers

  • Dates (in moderation and only the flesh.)

  • Honeydew Melon

  • Kiwi

  • Mango

  • Oranges (only a small amount of the flesh.)

  • Peaches (only the flesh, never give your dog the pit.)

  • Pears

  • Pineapple (in moderation.)

  • Raspberries (in extremely limited quantities because they naturally contain xylitol.)

  • Strawberries

  • Watermelon


Vegetables Dogs should not eat:


So long as it is cooked, and your dog only eats the section of the vegetable that humans eat, dogs can have asparagus in small quantities. Uncooked asparagus, however, is difficult for dogs to digest.

Berry-like seedpods of the asparagus plant are also toxic to humans and dogs and should be avoided.

Too much asparagus can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and gas.

Green Onions

Green onions are a member of the allium family (think onions) and are dangerous to dogs. Alliums contain N-propyl disulfide which is a sulfur compound that attaches to red blood cells and prevents them from carrying oxygen. The body notices this difference in the red blood cell structure and begins destroying them. Soon the body is destroying red blood cells faster than it can make them which is called hemolytic anemia.

Without immediate treatment, hemolytic anemia will cause death. Even with treatment, hemolytic anemia has a guarded outcome for many dogs.


Leeks are another member of the allium family. To see how leeks affect your dog’s health, see “Green Onions” above.


Some mushrooms are safe for dogs – these include white button, cremini, portobello, porcini, reishi, shiitake, and maitake.

Unfortunately, there are approximately one hundred mushroom species that are poisonous to dogs. The symptoms of ingesting these mushrooms vary by species but often include excessive salivation, tremors, seizures, gastrointestinal upset, liver failure, and may result in death.

It is always best to avoid any mushrooms found outdoors. If your dog happens upon mushrooms while walking, make sure that they do not ingest any of them and lead them away.


Onions are another member of the allium family. To see how onions affect your dog’s health, see “Green Onions” above.


Pickles themselves are not necessarily dangerous, but they are high in sodium. High sodium is a problem for all dogs, but particularly for dogs with heart disease.

Pickles are also frequently seasoned with onions and garlic, both of which are dangerous to your dog when ingested.

Potatoes (Raw)

Cooked potato is not a problem for your dog; however, raw potato, potato plants, and green potatoes are all potentially deadly because they – like green tomatoes and tomato plants – contain Solanine.

Symptoms of solanine poisoning include diarrhea, abnormal body temperature, labored breathing, and heart problems.


The stalk of the rhubarb plant is safe for your dog to eat. The leaves of rhubarb are not safe for your dog to eat because they contain soluble oxalate crystals.

If your dog is suffering from rhubarb toxicity, they will experience a significant drop in calcium levels. Symptoms include drooling, weakness, loss of appetite, and tremors. Occasionally, symptoms can lead to renal failure.


Shallots are another member of the allium family. To see how shallots affect your dog’s health, see “Green Onions” above.

Vegetables Dogs can eat:

  • Bell Peppers (red, green, and yellow in moderation)

  • Bok Choy

  • Broccoli (not the stems)

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Carrots (only the flesh, not the greenery)

  • Celery (only the stalk, not the leaves or plant) for more information on dogs and celery please see our article here

  • Corn (never on the cob)

  • Dandelion Greens

  • Edamame (without salt)

  • Eggplant

  • Green Beans

  • Lettuce

  • Peas

  • Potatoes (Cooked)

  • Pumpkin

  • Radish

  • Spinach

  • Sweet Potato

  • Zucchini

Herbs And Seasonings

Herbs and seasonings dogs should not eat:


Chamomile is given to dogs (particularly those with anxiety) in small quantities. If administered over a long period or in large quantities; however, it can be toxic. Symptoms of mild toxicity include gastrointestinal upset. Ingesting large amounts of chamomile, however, can cause abnormal bleeding and interfere with kidney function.

Symptoms of chamomile toxicity include excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, bleeding (particularly from the nose,) bruising, or signs of internal bleeding.


Chives are another member of the allium family. To see how chives affect your dog’s health, see “Green Onions” above.


Cinnamon falls on the “safe and unsafe” foods list because when incorporated into dog treats in minimal quantities, cinnamon is safe for your dog to eat.

Cinnamon sticks are not safe for your dog to eat and when eaten, they will cause irritation to the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract.

Do not let your dog sniff cinnamon powder, either. If accidentally inhaled, cinnamon powder can cause respiratory problems.


Fennel is safe for your dog to eat in small quantities when incorporated in food, but avoid fennel oil because it causes photosensitive dermatitis.

Dogs cannot fully digest fennel leaves and stems, so if you incorporate fennel into their diet, be sure to include just a small amount. Too much fennel will cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Garlic is another member of the allium family. To see how garlic affects your dog’s health, see “Green Onions” above.

Some non-professional sources recommend garlic capsule supplements as a means of parasite prevention; however, there is no evidence that this is an effective treatment. There is more potential for harm than good if you give your dog garlic.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds (and mustard because it contains mustard seeds) are toxic for your dog because they contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates cause extreme inflammation of the digestive tract, and this causes pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If eaten in large quantities mustard seeds (and mustard) can cause death in dogs


Nutmeg contains a substance called myristicin. Myristicin is toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of myristicin toxicity include disorientation, hallucinations, high blood pressure, tachycardia, abdominal pain, dry mouth, and seizures.

For a dog to take in a lethal dose of nutmeg, they would have to eat a lot of this spice. Nutmeg can induce fatal toxicity, however.


Salt and salty foods are both a bad idea for dogs because they cause increased thirst and increased urination.

More importantly, when your dog eats large doses of salt and cannot drink enough water or does not have access to water, they may die from sodium ion poisoning.

As the body continues trying to level out sodium levels, water gets taken from muscles and organs, and you will see symptoms like muscle stiffness and jerking. Eventually, your dog will experience respiratory failure and die.

Spring Parsley

Spring parsley contains furanocoumarin. Furanocoumarin is toxic to dogs. Ingestion of furanocoumarin causes extreme photosensitivity and ocular toxicity. In some cases, furanocoumarin poisoning can lead to blindness.

Black Pepper

Although small quantities of black pepper may not cause any health problems for your dog, larger amounts can cause gastrointestinal upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, most dogs simply do not care for the smell or taste of black pepper.

Herbs and Seasoning dogs can eat:

  • Basil

  • Coriander (Not For Pregnant Dogs)

  • Curly Leaf Parsley (Not For Dogs With Calcium Oxalate Stones)

  • Dill (Not For Pregnant Dogs)

  • Ginger

  • Oregano (Not For Dogs With Bleeding Disorders or Diabetes)

  • Peppermint (Not For Dogs With GERD or Diabetes)

  • Rosemary (in small amounts, too much can cause liver or kidney problems)

  • Thyme

  • Turmeric (With Guidance)

Meats, Fish, And Seafood

Meats, fish, and seafood dogs should not eat:


Bacon is a fatty food that is also very salty. We discussed the jeopardy of excess salt above, but what about fat?

Eating fatty foods irritates your dog’s digestive tract and will likely cause stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. More importantly, though, fatty foods can also cause pancreatitis – swelling, and inflammation of the pancreas.

Pancreatitis is extremely uncomfortable for your dog, and symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, lethargy, and an inability to get comfortable.

Deli Meats

Like bacon, deli meats are high in salt content that can cause dehydration, but they are also high in nitrates.

When your dog consumes nitrates, they can get converted to nitrosamines when combined with acid in the stomach and amines from proteins. Nitrosamines lead to an increased risk of developing cancer.

Nitrates also pose a risk of methemoglobinemia. When your dog takes in too much sodium nitrate or nitrite, this oxidizes the iron in the blood turning hemoglobin into methemoglobin.

The oxygen that could once bind to hemoglobin cannot bind to methemoglobin so your dog’s cells are no longer getting the oxygen they need to function. This condition is called methemoglobinemia.

Symptoms of methemoglobinemia in dogs include excessive panting, pale mucous membranes, vomiting, low blood pressure, inability to regulate body temperature, abdominal pain, and a blue tint to the skin. Left untreated methemoglobinemia will cause death.

Hot Dogs

Hotdogs pose the same risks to your dog as deli meats. For more information, please see the paragraph above.

Liver (in large quantities)

In measured quantities a dog can eat liver with no problems at all, however, freely feeding your dog liver or feeding too much liver can cause hypervitaminosis A.

Liver is an extraordinarily rich source of vitamin A, but too much liver can overload your dog with vitamin A. This overload can cause weight loss, stiffness in the muscles, muscle weakness, digestive difficulty, bone deformities where new bone grows around existing joints, pain, lameness, abnormalities in blood clotting, and difficulty eating.

Raw Fish

Raw fish has a high likelihood of carrying harmful bacteria like listeria and salmonella that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in your dog. Another concern with raw fish is the presence of parasites. Some fish contain parasites that can be passed on to your dog and make them terribly ill.

There are three parasites of particular concern – flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms.

Flukes tend to attach to your dog’s intestines, where they cause gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. If a fluke is carrying bacteria, those infectious organisms can also pass on to your dog.

Symptoms of flukes in dogs include coughing up bloody mucous, pneumonia, difficulty breathing, or a collapsed lung. Untreated, flukes can cause death.

Roundworms can also get passed on to your dog by ingesting infected fish. Symptoms of roundworm infection include a potbelly appearance, diarrhea with mucous, coughing, and a poor body condition. In severe cases, untreated roundworm infection can lead to death.

Tapeworms can also pass on to your dog through infected fish. Symptoms of tapeworm infection in dogs include vomiting, weight loss, scooting their bottom, and segments of worm in your dog’s feces. A heavy tapeworm infection can cause significant weight loss and malnutrition. In some instances, tapeworm infestations can be deadly.

Dogs can eat:

  • Beef

  • Chicken

  • Ham

  • Venison

  • Bison

  • Buffalo

  • Emu

  • Lobster

  • Pork (well-cooked)

  • Salmon (cooked)

  • Sardines

  • Shrimp (only a small amount of the meat, no shell)

  • Tuna (cooked and in small amounts)

  • Turkey

  • Quail

  • Pheasant

  • Duck

  • Goose

  • Whitefish (cooked)

  • Wild boar

  • Raw Meat. (Some are better than others) For more information on raw meats and the benefits please see our article here.


Legumes dogs should not eat:

Baked Beans/Canned Beans/Chili Beans/Refried Beans

Canned beans frequently have seasonings like salt, chilis, garlic, ETC. in them, and these are all potentially harmful to your dog.

Fava Beans (Broad Beans)

Fava beans contain phytohemagglutinin. Phytohemagglutinin is a known insecticide that can cause your dog’s red blood cells to glue together. This clumping makes it more likely that they will experience a blood clot. When ingested by dogs, Phytohemagglutin attacks the intestine lining and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Uncooked Kidney Beans

Like fava beans, uncooked kidney beans also contain phytohemagglutinin.

Legumes dogs can eat:

  • Black Beans (cooked without seasoning)

  • Butter Beans/Lima Beans (cooked)

  • Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas (cooked without seasoning)

  • Lentils (cooked without additives)

  • Pinto Beans (cooked)

  • Soybeans (in limited quantities. Be sure to watch for signs of a soy allergy)


Nuts dogs should not eat:


Dogs cannot digest almonds properly, so eating almonds can cause gastrointestinal distress, gas, diarrhea, discomfort, lethargy, and appetite loss.

Almonds are also high in fat, which puts your dog at risk for pancreatitis (for more information on pancreatitis, scroll up to “bacon”.)

If coated with flavoring or seasoning, almonds can also cause respiratory irritation or toxic side effects associated with seasonings like salt.

Lastly, almonds pose a choking risk or obstruction for smaller breed dogs.

Hickory Nuts

Hickory nuts can cause all the same symptoms as almonds when eaten by dogs, but they also contain a toxic compound called juglone. If consumed in large quantities, juglone can cause vomiting, tremors in the muscles, salivation, seizures, liver damage, restlessness, fever, and death.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are perhaps the most toxic of all nuts to dogs, and ingesting even a small number of nuts can cause serious symptoms to develop.

Symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning include tremors and weakness in the back legs, diarrhea, vomiting, and lameness.

Veterinarians do not yet know what component of macadamia nuts causes toxicity or why dogs seem to be the only mammal affected by them.

Macadamia nuts are also high in fat and pose the risk of pancreatitis.


Like other nuts, pecans pose a risk of obstruction of the windpipe or digestive system. Pecans also contain juglone (see “hickory nuts” above.)

Pecans also tend to grow mold that can cause Aflatoxin poisoning. Symptoms associated with Aflatoxin poisoning include appetite loss, jaundice, vomiting, unexplained bruising, diarrhea, and unexplained bruising.


Pistachios, like almonds, are difficult for your dog to digest. While they are not necessarily toxic, pistachios will cause gastrointestinal symptoms, and the high-fat content in the nuts can contribute to pancreatitis.


A single dropped walnut will not cause too many problems for the average dog, but if your dog eats black walnuts, they will quickly begin to show symptoms of toxicity.

Black walnuts are often affected by a type of black mold invisible to the naked eye, but that can cause severe symptoms.

Symptoms of black walnut toxicity include tremors, seizures, salivation, liver damage, loss of coordination, vomiting, panting, and in extreme cases, death.

As a larger nut, walnuts also pose an obstruction or choking hazard to some dogs.

All walnuts are also high in fat content and can contribute to pancreatitis as well as obesity.

Nuts dogs can eat:

  • Cashews (unsalted)

  • Coconut (small amounts of the flesh only)

  • Peanuts (plain, unsalted, shelled peanuts only)

Starches / Grains

Starches/grains dogs should not eat:

Yeast Dough

Doughs made with yeast are exceptionally dangerous for dogs and can cause multiple life-threatening conditions.

The first side effect of eating yeast dough is bloating. Once ingested, the yeast in the dough will have the warmth and moisture it needs to “proof.” The dough will then begin expanding which expands your dog’s stomach and can even cause the stomach to twist.

When the stomach twists the entrance and exit are both cut-off and the pressure from the gas inside continues to build. This is referred to as GDV or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. Emergency surgery is required immediately for a dog to survive GDV.

Symptoms of GDV include drooling, dry heaving, vomiting, inability to get comfortable, distention and pain in the abdomen, and anxious behavior.

The second concern with yeast dough is that as the yeast ferments it produces ethanol as a byproduct. That ethanol gets absorbed in the bloodstream and your dog begins to suffer from alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs include loss of coordination, weakness, collapse, low blood sugar, reduced rate of respiration, drooling, and vomiting. Left untreated intoxication can result in organ failure and death.

Starches/grains dogs can eat:

  • Bread (wheat not white)

  • Couscous (plain cooked)

  • Oatmeal (plain cooked)

  • Oats (plain cooked)

  • Quinoa (plain cooked)

  • Rice (brown and white)

  • Wheat



Dog’s should not eat:

Ice Cream

Ice cream often contains artificial flavors and preservatives that are unhealthy for your dog to ingest. Ice cream is also high in fats and sugars or artificial sweeteners – both of which can cause complications for your dog’s health. Sugars pose a risk of obesity while artificial sweeteners have much more serious consequences as we discussed above.

Ice cream also contains lactose, something that a lot of dogs have difficulty digesting due to a lack of lactase (an enzyme that breaks down milk for digestion.) Signs of lactose intolerance in dogs include vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, fecal incontinence, dehydration, and weakness.

Dairy dogs can eat:

  • Cheese (sparingly) for more information please see our article here.

  • Cottage Cheese (in limited quantities)

  • Goat Milk

  • Milk (in limited quantities if your dog does not show signs of lactose intolerance)

  • Yogurt (unflavored, plain, organic yogurt without artificial sweeteners)


Liquids dogs should not drink:


Alcoholic drinks cause intoxication in dogs and result in the same effects as the fermentation of yeast dough (see above.)


Coffee, tea, and soda all contain caffeine which can be life-threatening to dogs. Even small amounts of caffeine can cause symptoms such as vomiting, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, seizures, and collapse.

In severe cases of caffeine poisoning where dogs exhibit collapse and seizures, there is an extremely poor prognosis.


Juices and lemonades are remarkably high in sugar, added sweeteners, and artificial flavoring which can cause obesity, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Additionally, citrus juices contain the same harmful compounds as citrus fruits.

Dogs can drink:

  • Water

Basic Ingredients

Basic ingredients dog’s should not eat:

Chia Seeds

Your dog can eat chia seeds in limited quantities, but there is a potential for side effects to develop. After eating chia seeds, you may notice that your dog experiences gastrointestinal upset.

Large amounts of chia seeds have also been known to cause intestinal blockages in some dogs. As the seeds move through the digestive system, they absorb the intestinal moisture causing the seeds to “swell.” Symptoms of a blockage include vomiting, diarrhea, inability to keep food down, loss of appetite, bloating and pain in the abdomen, and lethargy.

Cocoa Powder

Both cocoa and cocoa powder are toxic to your dog because they contain caffeine and a substance called theobromine. Both of these toxins affect the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system significantly because dogs are less capable of processing them.

It may only take a small amount of cocoa or cocoa powder for your dog to begin showing symptoms of toxicity including vomiting, vomiting blood, and increased thirst.


The hops that brewers use to make beer are life-threatening to dogs. Once ingested, the hops prompt the body temperature to rise and it rises quickly. As the body temperature increases, major organs in the body are much more likely to be compromised.

Symptoms of hops ingestion include excessive panting, abdominal pain and bloating, seizures, tachycardia, and redness around the mouth. If left untreated, hops ingestion can lead to death.


Sugar is just as bad for our dogs as it is for us and while it is not toxic, too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity. Both of these conditions have lasting effects on your dog’s overall health and mental wellbeing.

Another risk associated with dogs eating sugar is tooth loss and decay. Unlike us, dogs do not brush their teeth regularly, Without regular brushing, the sugars in sugary food make the perfect food source for bacteria in the mouth. As the bacteria feed on that sugar, they produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel.

Ongoing tooth decay can lead to abscesses and infections, the need for regular dental cleanings, root canals, and tooth extraction. These dental procedures can be painful, but more importantly, they can compromise your dog’s ability to eat well.

Xylitol (Or Any Artificial Sweetener)

Xylitol is an extremely toxic substance for your dog and even small amounts can cause serious health concerns.

When we eat, our blood sugar increases and our pancreas responds by producing insulin which turns that sugar into energy and stores excess sugar for later use when it might be needed.  In humans, the body recognizes the difference between Xylitol and sugar, and it knows not to release insulin in response to Xylitol. In dogs, however, the body recognizes Xylitol as sugar and prompts a release of insulin. This massive release of insulin causes a significant drop in blood glucose levels which we refer to as hypoglycemia.

Xylitol toxicity requires immediate veterinary intervention. Without intervention, Xylitol toxicity may result in death.

Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, loss of coordination, reduced activity, collapse, seizures, and death.

Basic ingredients dogs can eat:

  • Coconut Oil (in limited quantities, excess will cause diarrhea)

  • Eggs (cooked)

  • Honey (in limited quantities) for more information on dogs and honey please see our article here.

  • Salmon Oil

  • Soy (in limited quantities and watch for signs of a soy allergy)

Other Edibles

Other edibles dog’s should not eat:


Candy brings together a lot of the toxic substances we have covered so far and consequently can be deadly. Candy often contains artificial sweeteners, chocolate, high levels of fat, high levels of sugar, citrus juices, etc. Each of these substances is harmful to your dog when alone, combining multiple substances is just asking for trouble!


Chocolate contains the same dangerous substances as cocoa and cocoa powder. To find out more about how chocolate affects your dog, please see our article on dogs and chocolate here.

Cooked Bones

When bones are cooked, they become more apt to breaking. As they splinter, smaller pieces of cooked bone can pierce the throat or digestive tract causing an emergency that requires surgical intervention.

It is also important to note that once cooked, much of the nutritive value of bones is eliminated.

Moldy Foods/Rotten Foods

Various types of mold can grow on rotten foods, and many of these molds are harmful to dogs. For example, we already covered the mold that frequently grows on black walnuts in the sections above.

Mycotoxins are the biggest culprit for mold poisoning in dogs and they grow in warm humid conditions on foods like grain, cereal, nuts, and dried fruit.

Dogs affected by mycotoxins show symptoms that include increased salivation, tachycardia, seizures, tremors, vomiting, loss of coordination, increased body temperature, and muscle spasms. If left untreated, dogs with mycotoxin poisoning can die.

Other edibles dogs can eat:

  • Peanut Butter (natural and unsweetened, and always check for artificial sweeteners)

  • Popcorn (unsalted cooked) for more information on dogs and popcorn (including some dog-friendly popcorn recipes) please see our article here

  • Seaweed (food grade only)

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