Picture of a sick dog

Toxic ‘human’ food for Dogs

We all know what it’s like to glance down from the dinner table and see our four-legged best friend staring back at us. Who can resist those big puppy-dog eyes? Could a little treat off your dinner plate really harm your dog?



There are actually many toxic  foods that are edible for humans that can be quite harmful to our furry companions. Some of these common toxic foods might even surprise you!

We’ll start off by talking about the most well-known poisonous foods for dogs. First on the list is chocolate. While delicious to us, chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include, but are not limited to: vomiting, excessive passing of urine, un-quenchable thirst, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and seizures. The most dangerous effect of theobromine is that it will either increase their heart rate or cause it to be irregular. The severity of the chocolate poisoning will depend on the type of chocolate consumed, the amount of chocolate consumed, and the size of the dog. The darker chocolates (cooking chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.) generally contain more theobromine and thus, are more harmful. A small amount of chocolate, which may not seem like much to us, can actually be lethal to a small dog!

Another well-known toxic food for dogs are grapes (and raisins). Although the toxic substance within grapes remains unknown, the consumption of grapes can cause kidney failure and clinical signs are not thought to be dose dependant. Symptoms of poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, and signs of kidney failure. There are many other ‘human-foods’ that, surprisingly, are very poisonous when consumed by dogs because of their different metabolism. Below is a list of other toxic /best avoided foods.

  • Alcohol
  • Apple core (seeds contain cyanide and if consumed in large amounts and crushed could be problematic)
  • Apricot (pit can become obstructed)
  • Bones (can break teeth, splinter or cause obstructions)
  • Bread dough (yeast converts carbohydrates to alcohol and CO2 causes the dough to rise) 
  • Broccoli (and members of the brassica family can cause hemolytic anemia if fed in large quantities)
  • Caffeine
  • Candy
  • Cherries (pits)
  • Chives (potentially causing hemolytic anemia)
  • Corn cobs (get stuck in the stomach)
  • Fat trimmings
  • Garlic (can cause anemia)
  • Macademia nuts
  • Nutmeg (at very high doses can be hallucinogenic)
  • Onions (can cause anemia)
  • Peaches (pit)
  • Pears (seeds)
  • Plums (pits)
  • Potatoes (raw, leaves or green parts of skin or vegetable)
  • Rhubarb (leaves)
  • Salmon (raw)
  • Salt
  • Sugary foods
  • Tobacco products
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener)

This is just a general list of toxic foods to use as a reference of ‘human-foods’ to avoid feeding your dog. If your dog has consumed any of these foods and you suspect they are showing signs of sickness, it is important to contact us at (905) 775-4787. In the case that it is an emergency and We are unavailable, you can contact the Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region at (905) 953-5351.

As a general rule, it is safest to just stick to rewarding your furry companion with dog treats – they’ll be just as content!