It’s easy to think that dogs will eat anything. After all, they managed on table scraps for thousands of years before the invention of tinned dog food in 1922. Most owners would agree that their dogs will eat just about anything they can get their teeth into, but that doesn’t mean that they should. A surprising number of everyday human foods are toxic to dogs, and you need to be really careful with treats and leftovers if you want to protect your pooch from some pretty nasty consequences.


Here are the top ten things you should avoid feeding to your dog:


  1. Chocolate – it’s a great treat for us, but chocolate can be fatal to dogs. It contains a stimulant called theobromine, as well as methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and ultimately death.
  2. Nuts – most nuts aren’t toxic as such, but they do contain high levels of fats that can cause digestive problems and even pancreatitis.
  3. Macadamia nuts – unlike other nuts, macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs. Just a few macadamia nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, shivers and paralysis which can last for up to 48hours.
  4. Grapes and raisins – it’s easy to avoid giving your dog grapes, but don’t forget the raisins in that biscuit or muffin. Grapes and raisins can cause lethargy, loss of appetite and can even lead to kidney failure and death within a few days.
  5. Onions and garlic – just like raisins, onions and garlic can be found in all sorts of foods, but again they are highly toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that affect the red blood cells, causing anaemia and lasting damage.
  6. Cooked bones – raw bones are a great treat for dogs, but don’t let them have them once they have been cooked. Cooked bones can easily splinter and puncture the intestines, which can be highly dangerous and even fatal.
  7. Avocado – if you don’t want to spend the afternoon cleaning up, don’t share your avocado lunch with your dog. The flesh contains Persin which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
  8. Xylitol – you may not even know that you are eating xylitol yourself, but it appears in all kinds of low fat or low sugar foods, including the doggy favourite, peanut butter. The substance causes a catastrophic spike in your dog’s insulin levels, with an associated drop in blood sugar. This can lead to vomiting seizures, and long-term liver damage.
  9. Fruit with seeds – many fruit seeds and pips contain cyanide, so don’t toss that apple core to the dog to finish off. You are literally poisoning him.
  10. Alcohol – many of us enjoy the intoxicating effects of alcohol, but these can be extremely dangerous to dogs, even in small amounts, leading to disorientation, high body temperature and even seizures.


What to do if your dog eats the wrong thing

If you know, or even suspect, that your dog has eaten any of the above, then you should consult your vet immediately. In most cases, they will only need to monitor your dog and make sure they are ok until the symptoms wear off. In severe cases, however, a trip to the vet could save your dog’s life. Prompt treatment and antidotes can be essential to avoid severe and long-term consequences.


How to keep your dog safe

The best way to keep your dog safe from poisoning is to educate your whole family, and dog boarding facilities, about what they can and can’t feed him. You also need to keep dangerous foods out of reach of even the most persistent pet. Remember, some substances, such as Xylitol and onions, can be found almost anywhere so extra care needs to be taken to keep them away from your dog.


A&T Dogs can help to keep your dog safe in a number of different ways. Our residential dog training can teach them appropriate behaviour around food and in the kitchen, while doggy day-care and dog boarding avoids them being home alone and tempted to forage for food where it isn’t safe. To find out more about our dog boarding facilities visit: