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Toxic foods you should never feed your dog

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

Our dogs are part of the family, we share our hearts and home with them. If mine was anything to go by, the wee monkeys want involved in every aspect of you life... walking, sleeping, playing and eating. However to assume they can eat and enjoy the food we do can be potentially very dangerous. I can't count the number of times I have had owners phoning me over the Christmas period to say 'my dog has eaten a chocolate orange is that ok?'

There are a number of foods as humans we can eat completely safely that can end in a very different story for our four legged friends. Often when a toxic food is eaten by a dog they seem fine initially and we notice no change in their behaviour. Owners can often think lets wait and see what happens.....but this is the vitally important time to contact your vet. The sooner a potential toxicity is assessed and treated by your vet the less chance there is for the potential side effects and harm to occur. Here are some common house hold foods that you should be aware off and keep well out of reach of the pooch.


So chocolate ingestion is a a common one and can at times result in significant illness. As tempting and delicious as it is this really is one that warrants a call to your vets. Theobromine is a stimulant in chocolate that is toxic for dogs. The darker the chocolate the higher the concentration of this toxic substance. So chocolate toxicity severity is related to how dark the chocolate is, the amount the wee horror has gorged on and the weight of your beloved pet. If they have eaten a toxic quantity then it is likely you will be asked to head straight to the surgery and the sooner after ingestion the better.

Onions, Garlic and Chives

You might think the worst an onion would do is give you bad breath! Unfortunately it is a different story in dogs. Owners will often forget how common these ingredients are in food. I have heard the likes of 'my dog shared my delivery pizza with me' 'I gave my dog some of the bolognaise that's ok isn't it, its just meat' and they don't realised these ingredients are in so many human foods as they make dishes taste great.

There is a toxin in onions, garlic and chives that causes damage to the dogs red blood cells reducing its ability to carry oxygen which is its job of these cells, the body in reaction to this destroys the red blood cells which leads to a condition known as haemolytic anaemia.

It doesn't take much onion to be eaten to cause a serious concern and onion and garlic powders can be even more potent in the toxic substance. Your vet should be contacted immediately if you are concerned your dog or cat has eaten these ingredients.


Xylitol is a commonly used sugar substitute and food additive and has become more popular as we are more conscious of cutting the calories and watching our weight! It can be found in many products including sugar- free chewing gum, puddings, mints, sweets, baked goods, peanut butter toothpaste and many more.

Xylitol is extremely poisonous for dogs and can even in small quantities cause the glucose in the dogs blood to drop to dangerously low levels which left untreated can be life threatening. It can also cause liver failure.

If your dog is cheeky enough to steal even a bit of gum please contact your vet ASAP. Signs of poisoning can occur quickly and aggressive treatment protocols by your vet are needed to reverse and help stop development of severe problems.


Avocado may be the latest trendy heath food for us but can the same be said for our precious pooches?? Im afraid not!.

All parts of avacados contiain Persin- a fungicidal toxin. Its most potent in the leaves but also present in that juicy flesh. If ingested avocado can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. The other concern is the large seed within the avocado- if this is ingested is the perfect size to cause a gastrointestinal blockage which can potentially be fatal if not removed.

Pancreatitis can also be triggered in dogs due to the high fat content of this latest fad. So if your dog needs a health kick best sticking to carrots as a snack rather than giving avo on mixer a bash!

Always contact your vet if have concerns.

Grapes, raisins and currants

Anyone with little children knows how handy those tiny boxes of raisins can be and grapes are a great healthy snack..... and anyone with a dog knows they love to hang about under the toddlers high chair for any tasty morsels that fall to the floor. You need to be particularly careful about this one as it is not quantity related and can cause kidney failure. One raisin or grape can potentially be as dangerous as many. There appears to be an individual sensitivity in dogs to the toxicity of these fruit and there is no way to predict which dog will be more or less sensitive. So if your dog gets its paws on these fruit, wether its one grape or a whole Christmas cake (and yes my childhood dog Skye stole and entire Christmas cake) you should contact your vet immediately. If your dog is one of the sensitive souls unable to tolerate this fruit, and left untreated it can lead to kidney failure which im sure you can imagine can be incredibly serious.

Mouldy food eg. bread

We all know at times our dogs can do something and we think blugh that's absolutely disgusting! Well eating mouldy food isn't only a revolting past time it can be potentially fatal for our pets. It is easier to happen than you think..... bin raiders....... and another one to be aware of is where people leave bread out of the birds and your dog comes across it on a walk and munches it up before you even get close.

Mould produces substances called mycotoxins which can be incredibly toxic. Some foods that produce mycotoxins are bread, cheese, nuts, fruit, dogwood, compost heaps. Symptoms of eating food contaminated with these moulds include vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures and liver failure. Contact your vet straight away if you suspect your dog has ingested mould!

Raw/green potatoes

Solanine is a toxic compound found in potato and is in higher concentrations when they raw. Ingestion can cause a number of problems some of which can be incredibly serious so get you potato patch fenced off and keep the four legged friends out the vegetable drawer! Always contact your vet if you suspect they have eaten raw potatoes.

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