foods harmful dog

5 Foods That Are Harmful to Your Dog

(Last Updated On: June 18, 2019)

Some foods that are safe to human can be very harmful to dogs because dogs have a different metabolism that is different than that of people. This article has five food items that have been proven to be toxic to dogs and so it will be important to keep these foods far from their reach.

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is an alcoholic sugar that is used to sweeten candy, toothpaste, chewing gum, tooth and even baked foods. It can also be defined as an artificial sweetener in foods like toothpaste, sugarless gum, mouthwash, sugar-free candy and chewable vitamins. This is safe for human consumption but can be deadly to dogs especially when taken in excess.

If your dog eats foods which contain xylitol, it can lead to a sudden drop in the dog’s blood sugar. Within 30 minutes after consumption, your dog will initially show these symptoms;

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Go into a coma.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of coordination.

Later on, xylitol can cause liver damage and sometimes it causes death. A research showed that a small dog that weighs around 10-pound would need to only ingest a piece of the sugar-free gum to become intoxicated. If you are suspicious that your dog might have taken anything containing Xylitol, then, you should contact your vet as quick as possible.

2. Coffee, Tea and Other Caffeine

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and cocoa. It is also found in soft drinks and some medications. Caffeine can cause an increase in the dog’s heart rate and stimulate their nervous system. Within like four hours of taking caffeine, your dog might experience the following;

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea.

If they take in too much caffeine, they may experience an abnormal heart rate or sometimes lung failure, both of which can cause death.

Several death cases have been experienced due caffeine’s overdose. The minimum caffeine dose which has ever caused death is about 2.2 mg per pound of body weight.  The average or normal cup of tea or coffee contains about 40 to 150 mg of caffeine, meaning even a few sips can be deadly to a dog.

It is recommended that coffee, tea and all other sources of caffeine should be kept out of reach from dogs.

3. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can extremely be toxic to dogs. They can lead to kidney failure. The toxic substances in grapes have not yet been identified, but even little amounts can make him sick.

The toxic levels are not the same for all dogs, because some dogs can just die after taking a handful of raisins and therefore, an ingestion of any amount should be taken seriously.

Poisoning of dogs can happen simply by eating raw grapes and raisins, or taking them as ingredients in other foods such as cookies or cakes.

The symptoms may include;

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Depression.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • little urine production.

These symptoms may be followed by kidney failure.

In case your dog consumes grapes or raisins, then, you should contact your vet immediately. If you don’t, your dog may get a long term kidney disease or sometimes they die.

4. Alcohol and Yeast Dough

Alcohol can be found in products such as alcoholic beverages, mouthwash, perfumes, paint, varnish and some cleaning products. While a moderate amount of alcohol consumption is safe for human health, dogs can’t tolerate it, even in little amounts.

Within an hour of alcohol consumption, they will start showing the following signs and symptoms; 

  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Lack of muscle coordination
  • Low body temperature
  • Poor breathing
  • Vomiting
  • diarrhoea.
  • If he takes too much, it may cause;
  • Lung failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death.

Alcohol poisoning happens after a dog ingests alcoholic beverages. It becomes a concern also when a dog ingests raw yeast dough. The yeast cells produce alcohol when they ferment, which leads to a rise in the dog’s blood alcohol level. This can cause alcohol poisoning and later lead to death. 

The yeast dough might expand in the dog’s stomach leading to severe bloating. This pressurize the surrounding organs making it difficult to breath.

Never feed your dog with raw yeast dough or alcohol. Alcoholic beverages and raw dough should be kept out of the dog’s reach.

5. Chocolate

Chocolate has stimulant chemicals such as theobromine and caffeine, which are both difficult for dogs to metabolize. The symptoms that the dog might show are;

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • High body temperature.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Dehydration.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Internal bleeding
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death.

How severe the side effects will be, has to be dependent on how big the dogs is, the type and the amount of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic the chocolate will be for your dog. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder are among the most dangerous varieties.

Chocolate poisoning is common during holidays because people always have chocolate during these times. Regardless of the occasion, it is very important to keep the chocolate out of the dog’s reach. 

What to Do

Keep the harmful substances out of reach to ensure that your dog will not something harmful. To minimize the risk of poisoning your dog, ensure that you keep these foods tables or other places where he can access.

Consult your veterinarian immediately your pet ingests some harmful substances. Treatment will be dependent on the type of food they ingested and the symptoms. Never medicate or treat a dog yourself unless have been advised by a licensed veterinarian.


If you are not sure the type of food you should feed your dog, then, you should consult your veterinarian. Avoid feeding the dog with human food. Stick to your dog’s diet which is meant to meet his nutritional needs. 

In case your dog gets poisoned, the treatment bill can be expensive for owners. You should be willing to invest in pet insurance which will help you in settling the medical bill. It will be of help in case of emergencies and your wallet is dry.

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