20+ Foods That Make Dogs Sick

Napa is, what the vet has called him, an indiscriminate eater. Slugs, nails, socks, you name it, he’s put it in his mouth. Because our constant struggle to put together a foods that make dogs sick list, we decided to keep this resource updated for ourselves and for everyone.

The ASPCA says not to feed me (or your dog):

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol

But more specifically, what’s going to happen to your dog if you he consumes foods that make dogs sick? Y’know.. on “accident”? Or maybe just because he likes your floors to be “crumb-free”?

Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, and it only takes one serving.

Onions: Onions destroy red blood cells and can cause anemia.

Chocolate: Chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous. Your dog might be able to  consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated, but it is still dangerous. (Napa found M&Ms outside on the ground once and ate a few – so far, so good!)

Coffee, Coffee grounds, tea and tea bags: Drinks/foods containing caffeine cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes. Drats – no caffeine addiction for me!

Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis. Limit all other nuts as they are not good for dogs in general, their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Exception to this rule seems to be PEANUT BUTTER (no jokes, thank you!). However- always use Salt/Sugar free ORGANIC Peanut butter (sugar encourages cancer growth) free . Try to use ORGANIC peanut butter because nearly all of the peanuts consumed in the U.S. are now among the most carcinogenic and pesticide-contaminated of any snack even we as humans can consume.

Animal fat and fried foods: Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.

Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and damage my internal organs. Raw Bones should always be supervised as a piece can always break off and cause problems. Try frozen oxtails or frozen knuckle bones then take the bone away before your dog can swallow a final small piece whole. It’s a good natural way to clean teeth too.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes can cause tremors and heart arrhythmia. Tomato plants are the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe. (Napa has licked plenty of tomato sauce off the floor and been fine … but my dad’s dog likes to get into the tomato plants in the garden and now has a big issue with his pancreas!

Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death

Apples, Cherries, Peaches PITS and similar fruit are great for your dog – HOWEVER, the seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans. Unlike humans, dogs do not know to stop eating at the core/pit and easily ingest them. It can also become lodged in the intestines and kill the your dog in 24 hours with no warning.

Raw eggs: Raw eggs can cause salmonella poisoning in dogs. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans and are not as likely to suffer from food poisoning, but it is still possible. Scrambled lightly is best!

Salt: Excessive salt intake can cause kidney problems (as with any living thing, I think).

Mushrooms: Can be deadly- never let your pets chew on mushrooms found in your yard. Only safe “food” mushrooms are shitaki, maitake and reishi. If you’re a mushroom expert, you should be all set! Or you could give them this to chew on instead.

Xylitol: Even a small amount can cause liver failure and death. You can find them in breath mints, toothpaste, gum, mouthwash and other minty things.

Sugar and Corn Syrups: These things promote the growth of cancer. Honey and Molasses are OK, though they should only be given in small amounts and never for to dogs with cancer. If your dog becomes hypoglycemic, corn syrup is ok to be used for emergencies – especially for diabetic dogs.

Other foods that make dogs sick:

Dairy: Use caution with dairy products as they are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhea. Usually, nonfat plain yogurt is safe in small amounts as is cottage cheese in small amounts.

Bread: Don’t give your dog any white breads, or anything that converts to sugar. Remember this simple rule –  feed no WHITE colored foods!

Grains: Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but these foods are generally safe in small amounts. In dogs that have hair in their ears and are prone to ear build-up (Napa is), it’s best to give them grain-free food to reduce build up.

Vegetables: Carrots (and vegetables in general) are great for dogs, but carrots should not be given to dogs with cancer and should be served in moderation, due to the sugar content. Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. It’s best to put them through a food processor before giving them to your dog.

Meat: Meats should be boneless and it’s best if the skin is removed.  Some people like a RAW diet. Some people rather cook. If you cook meat do not over cook. Keep it ‘rare’ so you don’t kill the enzymes.  ESPECIALLY FOR SICK animals. However all Fish and Pork must be well cooked. Also note – totally Raw and cooked diets should never be mixed at the same meal as they digest differently. Be careful with Tuna, because it’s high in magnesium and may have bones in it. Even though we like them, don’t feed us ‘cold cuts’. They are high in salt and nitrates and can lead to kidney and digestive problems.

With all this in mind, remember doggies, like humans, may also have allergies or just plain don’t tolerate certain foods. Many are allergic to chicken! If you have issues with foods that make dogs sick, make sure you call the vet and don’t feed it to them again. If your dog has eaten anything on the “foods that make dogs sick” list above, call the ASPCA Poison Hotline – (888) 426-4435.

Many treats and food sold in supermarkets are what are making us pets die young and get cancer or diabetes. Remember to read your labels to avoid foods that make dogs sick. Look for these no-no foods like corn syrup in the ingredients.

Side note: Do you run a business in the pet industry? Would you like to drive more traffic and sales to your site through a search-optimized pet blog? Get in touch with my office-mates at Lantern Content Marketing!

About Napa 'ze Dog

My name is Napa and I'm the Lantern Content Marketing Adventure Company office dog. They create content for business blogs, so I do my part by blogging about pet stuff. My favorite topic is poop! Since you asked, I'm an F2B Miniature Goldendoodle. Everything else you want to know about me is right over here!

113 comments on “20+ Foods That Make Dogs Sick

  1. Thank you so much!! My two miniature schnauzers are my life. If I were the source of their demise I would go to spiralling insanity. Well maybe not but I would feel pretty bad. They love peanut butter but I have made them sick because I have fed them macadamia nuts. A lot of them because that’s what I use to train them(not anymore). And grapes. I sometimes give them bones because of that sterotype that all dogs love those and bread. The oldest one is about nine and he got into a bag of hershey’s kisses when he was younger. He must have eaten like twenty but he recovered because that was like eight years ago.

  2. Peanut butter is “full of toxins and pesticides? So where do you come up with that unsubstantiated sweeping statement?

    Please back that up with a valid source or delete it. And don’t give me “everyone knows”.

    1. If you don’t believe it do the research yourself.
      This person put the warnings out there. If you’re too lazy, keep the attitude to yourself, keep feeding your dog peanut butter and you’ll find out if it’s true.

    1. How did dogs manage to live before the Internet? When I was a child, dogs ate table scraps which could include anything. My dog ate salads including onions and M&M’s and lived to be 16. My father also gave her Champagne which she loved!

      1. I definitely agree with this statement 100% because when I was growing up that’s mainly what dogs did was eat table scraps and it was like the mail that you ate is the same mail your dog would eat and it’s probably not healthy of course but I know some dogs that are Winos LOL and love this stuff and are living to be a very healthy old age so I kind of believe the saying don’t believe everything you read on the internet

        1. Thank u. I just fed my pit bull a grape and my teenager almost lost her mind. So of course, I start freaking out and looking on the internet. Praying and watching her.

      2. well your was lucky and I am sorry that your dog died I have two dogs that are dead and I know how it feels but chocolate is bad

    2. Gave my little dog some peanut butter and the next day she was sick I will not be giving her anymore and she only had a little bit and it was because I thought it was ok for them but it’s not so before you give you dog anything you need to do your research and make sure its ok if you love your dog mine is ok just a upset stomach and not her playful self right so watch what you feed them

  3. Anna is a lab husky mix. She will not eat dry or wet dog food. She will eat peanut butter, liver and tuna occasionally.
    Anna looks healthy and is happy but we would like to find her something otherthan peanut butter as her main diet.
    Believe that we have tried many things. She might eat 3 pieces of cat food accasionally but she eats very little.
    Any ideas????
    Natalie Sevener Sova

    1. Try Stella & Chewy’s Beef or Chicken Patties. They’re expensive but I mix two up with her dog food and she still doesn’t eat all the dog food but a lot more than she would eat without the patties. You could just feed the patties but I have a large breed dog and that would be too expensive.

  4. I gave my silky terrier a half of a hamburger patty that had some swiss cheese on it. I had wiped some of it off not knowing if it was ok for him or not but immediately after he ate it he started wobbling & couldnt keep his balance. I was trying to tell him to sit still while i got dressed to run him to the vet but he follows me everywhere & was still wobbling. I put my hand on his back & his eyes almost rolled. Was it the swiss cheese? I know the patty had garlic seasoning & other spices but i didnt know that wasnt ok for them. i thought I knew all the things they shouldnt eat so thank you for your info. Still curious if it wa sthe cheese or the vet said could have been a seizure so just hoping to rule seizures out. Thanks

    1. And it could’ve been all the fat from the meat. You should never feed your dog hamburger meat unless it’s boiled and all the fat drained off of it.

  5. Now, now, Binglebug. Don’t be so hostile. They’ve got a point. It does have toxins for sure because if it’s not organic, it contains peanut oil. That’s made from peanuts. All peanuts are bad for dogs. And besides,s ince when have they gotta listen to you? “Delete that or back it up”? Uh-Uh. Who owns the site? they do. And if you don’t believe it, you go right ahead, keep feeding your dog peanut butter. Kill it. Show hoiw much you love dogs.

  6. I hope that you tell all vets this message!! The first thing a vet will tell you when your pet won’t take a pill is put peanut butter on it! Imy Shis tzu was on meds for years and would only take it with peanut butter. He died last year at the age of 15 years. I hope I did not add to his demise.

  7. I just fed my dogs grapes son of a #&@!] and every thing else in the past but they are fine if its poison to them why are my dogs fine.

  8. Thanks for the great information! I am extremely careful with my dog. To the point that, with the exception of when I have to travel, I do not let others feed him. Even then I take his food and provide instructions on how much food he is to get every day. I was eating an apple and my dog wanted some. I thought I would check whether it was safe BEFORE I gave it to him. I was glad to know that it is okay. Curiously, I never thought to read the labels on the treats to check for anything other than food coloring. I certainly will now.

  9. my dog was acting like he couldnt jump on the couch and hes usally a good jumper so i checked him for sore spots and none so i picked him up and put him on the couch and he yelp and started shivering i turned the fan off and put some blankets on him any ideas of what happenned oh yeah and ive got a 2 year old sister that might have fed him somethin but she rarely gets grapes or chocolate to eat for a snack

  10. Thanks for the food advise for my pup. We haven’t had a dog for 15+ yrs & it’s great having the internet to research things like this. I appreciate you sharing your experience & perspectives.

  11. Who knew, avacado’s! I was aware of most other stuff though, I do feed my dog table scraps of meat and is very healthy! I never feed her peanut butter! Thanks for posting!

      1. Why not, my dog will eat a whole bowl of cereal milk cereal and all and he’s healthy big and doing just fine. I think if you start these things with your dog when they’re young you tend to might not see any effect rather than if you try to feed them this stuff after they grow up because I know families who’ve never ever used dog food and they have healthy as an ox dogs

        1. Pour low sodium broth on the food, soften it up a bit. They usually will eat that. I agree! Stop treating dogs like children, let them be dogs!

  12. Omg my Abby just ate some raisins! Now I’m freaking out. She is a little pugshire (half pug half yorkie) she ate maybe 10. I didn’t know! Hope she will be ok

  13. I Had a Whippet for 17 years and sadly we had to say goodbye recently but EVERY year at easter she was guaranteed to find the egg stash and eat the lot!! She also used to jump through our friends 4WD window wound 1/4 way down and steal his pack of tim tams he always had stashed!! I always worried about it but i’m sure she had built up a tolerance or something!! Even in her final months of being completely senile, blind and deaf she could still smell out the chocolate!!

  14. my dog only eats people food how can I get her to eat dog food steak chicken chicken livers she loves
    pastromi, she eats alot of french fries

    1. Linda, your dog only eats people food? How did she even know about steak, chicken, chicken livers, pastrami and French fries? SOMEONE had to introduce the dog to these items; she didn’t come out of her Dam’s womb knowing what these items were–let alone how they taste. My guess as to whom introduced these food to her would be you, someone who lives with you or a previous owner.

      Someone clearly “created a monster,” however, no creature will allow itself to starve to death unless it was forcibly. If otherwise, then there is generally a cerebral and/or emotional issue which you might want to discuss with your Veterinarian.

      The dog won’t allow itself to starve. A little “tough love” in regards to the food allowance won’t kill your dog. Murdering the dog, making it terribly ill and/or shortening its life span do not t sound like better options to me. Nobody has to agree with me, however, and I also realize that *one size does not fit all.*

      Good luck, regardless of anything else.


    2. Stop feeding her people food. Whats she gonna do, call the doggie cops on you? Youre in charge, feed her a good kibble. She will eat, a dog wont lay & starve to death if food is available.

  15. Tonight, my dog got into a half a container of bread crumbs. I noticed alot of it on the floor, but I no she consumed some of it and alot of the paper part of the container…at least she didn’t eat the lid or the bottom of the container. Hope she will be ok?

  16. im starting to make my dogs food is there anything that i need to know i made some with ground turkey meat with peas,carrots and green beans i made sure to cut up the green beans and carrots very fine please give me any advise . and please give me any recipe for doggie treats

    1. I put some whole grain rice and all the veggies in boiling water then when the rice is 2/3 cooked I break some whole wheat spaghetti into 4 pieces and throw it in with all the veggies you mentioned, after draining I add 1/2 to 1 cup of yogurt. He loves it. I recently read about eggshells crushed and mixed with his food for calcium. I wash the eggshells then put them in the over at 350° for about 15 minutes to make sure he doesn’t get sick and it helps to crush the shells into a powder. I put in a whole table spoon in a large pot. I have a 9 month old 75 lb pit so your measurements would depend on breed and size. Also you should know this is my first dog as an adult, and all this info I have shared I have spent hours on the internet researching and have checked more than one site for the info but I am no professional. I hope this helps guide you in the right direction for a healthy happy pet.

  17. We just lost our Aust. Shep. to extensive liver cancer that had also gotten into the gall bladder and pancreas. She was just at 13 years old. Now my wife is trying to find out how we were responsible for her death. She had good kibbles most of her life with an occasional (occasional only) snack from the leftovers. Our mother was here for 3 months until a few weeks ago and would occasionally give her a small chicken bone. She showed little symptoms until she would not eat one night. She was put down 5 days later when she was still not eating and could not stand. My wife thinks the small amount of “Gen. Tsao’s Chicken” sauce I mixed in with her kibbles pushed her over the edge. I think she lived a full life and suffered only a short while before going over “Rainbow Bridge.” Can a few tablespoons of “Gen. Tsao’s” sauce kill a dog?

    1. NEVER give a dog spicy food. That should just be a given. A dog would never find chili paste in the wild. Plus that stuff is loaded with salt and msgs.

      1. My dog loves red hot hot sauce. He put that sh@t on everything LOL. But no seriously he doesn’t mind hot sauce he actually lick my plate before and was licking his lips but wanted more for some reason and of course I didn’t give it to him but he is fine and healthy

    2. 13 years old is a very good old age for an Aussie. She may have gotten a hold of something but she also may have gotten old along with cancer. I am sorry for your loss. Some dogs really do not show their age until they’re ready to say good bye. Please don’t hurt yourselves with such grim memories. Remember her with the joy and love you experienced with her instead. 🙂

  18. my Italian Grayhound ate some sourdough
    bread and had a seizure…we took her to the vet and they could find nothing wrong with her. Then two months later after I ate a sandwich with sourdough bread she had another seizure…I don’t think I fed her any sourdough bread that time but
    is it possible that sourdough bread could have caused her seizures? She is about 6 years old…she had also received a rabies shot and a distemper shot about 3 months previous to the first seizure.

  19. I have a yellow lab and she gets sick every 5 days or so. She always ate wellness healthy weight for years. she is nine years old and I dont know if she has become allergic to something? I have tried to switch to different foods but nothing seems to work, so i give her rice for a few days and its fine until I feed her again and she will go 5 days or so then she gets sick again. Its getting very frustrating!! Any suggestions?

    1. Have you tried giving her some of the refrigerated dog foods. Napa is a very picky eater and we literally went through 30 different types brands and flavors until we found Fresh Pet.

  20. I have a 10yr old Australian Blue Healer, male…a couple of weeks ago i gave him a ham bone, he ate it and soon after I noticed that he began drinking water every time we turned around, could it have been the salt from the ham bone? He as of lately has calmed down from drinking so much, but, now he doesn’t want his dog food or snacks? I’ve been trying can dog food and twice i was able to get him to eat, but, he only eats small amounts, i’m worried…one good thing is he is still drinking fluids and going outside to relieve himself, he vomited and i found some wire he must have swallowed, he seemed to feel better, more alert…but then i caught him dragging his butt on the floor and saw a small worm? My cats have a tendency to catch mice and leave them on my porch; i wonder if he tries to eat the dead mice and got sick???

  21. HI, I was hoping i could get some advice about inducing vomiting in my 11 week old Irish Staffy. She has swallowed a furry snake (my 6 year olds toy). What should i do? its about 10-15cm long, I’m worried encase it gets stuck and she cant pass it. Is there anything i can to to help her be sick? i went out into my garden i picked some grass, I washed it and gave it to her as usual she scoffed the lot. Please help if can. :/

  22. My dog had been attempting to chew on things in my garden – possibly chives, tomato plant leaves and ground cover phlox. She chewed something and then staggered sideways for 10 or 12 feet, but didn’t fall down and then was instantly better. This happened 3x over the course of a week or two. By process of elimination, I think it may have been the tomato plant. I have since removed everything from her reach.

  23. Greetings, it says that dogs shouldn’t consume chicken as most are allergic. I have a 6 month old male pit bull, and normally I feed him purina beneful, the original bag, and he normally eats it all up, but he hasn’t ate for over 36 hours now, and had no interest in food or using the bathroom, and I’m thinking he may be constipated, but would an allergy to chicken consist of constipation? I had fed him one piece of chicken battered with shake n bake. If he doesn’t get better today I’m taking him to the vet. Thanks

    1. I hope your dog gets better I definitely feel for you. I have a pitbull and he’s one and a half and he eats anything as far as table food and I also give him dog food and he is very very healthy so hopefully it’s not the chicken because my dog eats plenty of fried chicken honestly out of everything that I have fed my dog or he has gotten into the only thing that made him throw up was onions and I would also recommend that Rachael Ray new dog food it works very well and it has a lot more crude protein than the other dog foods so it will help your dog be nice and big and healthy and it will also help with his coat and with shedding so I hope everything goes well with you and your puppy

  24. My 1year old Beabull ate raw scallops someone left outside to rot. Don’t know if she ate more than a small amount. What should I do????

    1. Hi Dawn-
      If your concerned that something is wrong with your pet, we’d recommend calling your veterinarian! We hope your dog is well.

  25. i just got a two year old pitbull that was malnourished what becides rice and meat will help? and he doesn’t like to drop things when he gets them. any advice??

    1. Hi Tank- If your dog is malnourished, we highly recommend asking your veterinarian for a diet plan or meal suggestions. Best of luck!

  26. My 13 year old dog that’s a pitbull chopped off one of someones buttcheeks , can you tell me if a buttcheek is good for a dog to eat please?! I’m really worried!

  27. I need some advice, my 7 year old dog is about to have babies, and my dog is eating alot of things we accidently drop on the ground. Since she’s eating them, will it make her babies inside of her stomach sick? Please reply back. Thanks! 🙂

  28. Joshua you obviously think thats funny, which when this is a site that is here to help owners with their concerns or to give advice makes me think your either a child or something of a d@!#. Or you actually don’t care about dogs/pets full stop….

  29. Any advice please…. my Schnauzer is 11 … always had a sensitive tummy but kept it under control with diet .. Changed over to another food as seems as she is getting older she is getting worse . She also stays naucious . Doc says it could be in her head cause we can’t find anything wrong. I say it’s her food but can’t seem to get her to stop.

  30. Is it okay to let my dog smoke cigarettes? He loves Marlboros. I modified a chew toy that he uses to smoke with and he brings it to me to put a cig in every couple hours and I light it for him too.

  31. This forgot to add unions which is a huge thing to not give your dog in food with..not even union salts even. I already knew most this list and foods they can not eat . I had to look up a couple things. my dog only got sick once from a food that i know of without me knowing right away.. it was chips with union flavoring. Remember, that BBQ sauce and Some Potato chips that say union anything even if you think it is not real unions, and just fake flavoring added.. still makes them sick sometimes, I think. I stop buying those since and always read ingredients . As for other times, She never got sick and things went on as normal, but There is really is a big difference with dogs and humans . They can not have pain pills over the counter or sleep pills over the counter which surprised me because I found out the pills they give them after being sick somethings has no pain relief at all. So, sucks to be a dog in that way. At least the cheap ones i got… did nothing for her for pain after reading what it was made of .guessing she had to suffer unlike we do not have, too with what they give us compared to dogs which is fake. Anyway, I never knew about pork bones or any/all cooked bones beside chicken ones or small ones were bad, but they say all are bad cooked. Not just white meat either. Other thing, I looked up from being curious , The food i buy my dog is fish / salmon type nothing bad in it. Mostly the organic expensive types, but it has no Fat! like not enough in my opinion when switched … we exercise, so I was wondering how I can make it into pre made wet food and wanted her to gain some weight back or maintain weight or make it taste better, and found out Mayo is not toxic, but is bad because it contains tons of fat . The only question i had after that was, but what about Mayo with fat taken out very light types or a cheap way to add fat to your dog after changing food because they like fish better then beef flavor?. also, thanks for the carrot advice…since raw they look kinda like a chew toy, my dog likes to try and get them from me or kinda wants them to chew on even with bones from the store around, so I will watch out for that again.I mostly just gave the carrot once to see if she would eat it like A bone out of being curious or to get her to stop wondering about it..spit it out because most veggies ..dogs hate, I thought automatically…Turns out.. I was wrong, I suppose. If i crush the carrot up, then she would not want it…so lets forget that all together . Other then all that ..I seem to knew what not to do already.

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