The 9 most dangerous foods for dogs

The 9 most dangerous foods for dogs

Even the most attentive dog owner can’t keep Fido out of trouble all the time.  Dogs are curious and persistent and may, in spite of your best efforts, end up eating the wrong thing.  Below is a list of the most dangerous foods for dogs, the symptoms you may see, and the immediate steps to take.  We covered what we thought of as the “top 9” but then couldn’t make ourselves stop so we covered a few others as well.

First, a number for you as a quick reference in case you are in a hurry:

ASPCA poison control hotline available 24/7/365 (888) 426-4435

Note that your dog’s breed, size, and state of health will often determine their reaction to the items below.  A very small dog will need less chocolate, for example, to be in harm’s way than a larger dog.  Then again, the danger posed by some items (grapes and caffeine for instance) seem to be affected less by the size, breed, and health of the dog.

You’ll notice that every ‘treatment’ item below includes a call to your vet.  This is not a typo or cut/paste error.  Your vet should be your first response in all cases.


Macadamia nuts




Grapes and Raisins



Fruits with pits

Raw yeast dough

Those are the top 9 most dangerous foods for dogs in our book – the ones to really keep an eye out for and that can cause damage very quickly.

One thing to note about these or any other harmful foods is that if you’ve been giving your dogs any of these as treats, that doesn’t make it OK.  Just because your dog hasn’t had a problem with them yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  There are plenty of good, healthy treats available so rather than using olives as a treat during training, find a good, healthy, low fat alternative.

Other harmful foods for dogs to consider

These don’t make our “top 9” of the most dangerous foods for dogs but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly.  These can be life threatening as well.

What else?

Well, the normal stuff that’s not good for us humans is often not good for our four legged friends and usually for about the same reason

What do you do if your dog eats dangerous food?

The first step is always avoidance.  Ensure these dangerous foods are not readily available to your dog.  Certainly don’t feed them as treats.

But if the time comes where treatment is required, an emergency call to your vet is always the best first step.  You should have the number to your vet and after hours emergency vet on speed dial and hanging from your refrigerator on a magnet for easy access.  Right?

The ASPCA has a poison control hotline available 24/7/365 – please make note of it:  (888) 426-4435

The Pet Poison Helpline has been helping pet owners for over 15 years.  Their number is 855-764-7661.  Note that there is currently $59 fee that is charged when you call.  Follow on consultations are included in that. Trust me, in an emergency situation, the $59 is money well spent and you will be speaking with an expert.

Should I just wait to see what happens?

It hurts my feelings a bit that folks ask this, but ask it they do.  So I feel compelled to mention it.

No, don’t wait.

Your dog’s life could be in danger.

At the very least call your vet or your local emergency vet.  Or the ASPCA number listed above.

In the end, you may be told to wait but at least you’ll be hearing that from an expert that has seen this a thousand times and knows what to look for.

Should you always induce vomiting?

No, you should not.  This is dependent on what you dog has ingested and when.  Best advice is to consult your veterinarian or one of the emergency numbers above.  When dealing with toxins or dangerous foods, vomiting is usually the best course if done within the first hour, maybe up to four hours.

If your dog has induced a chemical that is potentially caustic, inducing vomiting will bring that caustic material back into the throat and potentially cause more harm than good.

If your dog has ingested a petroleum based product, that could potentially be aspirated into the lungs during vomiting.

So it’s not an automatic “I have to make him vomit” situation.

How to induce vomiting

Inducing vomiting is not always recommended but in cases where it is, a quick method is to use one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.  Put this into a turkey baster or small syringe and shoot it into his throat.  Often you’ll need to keep their mouth closed and maybe rub their throat.  If they don’t vomit within 15 minutes, give one more dose.  Do not give a third.

After they vomit, don’t give them any food or water.

If it has been more than 4 hours since your dog ate the offending item, vomiting may be less helpful as the food will have moved into the small intestine.  Vomiting is most successful within the first hour.

Other points about inducing vomiting:

Wrapping it all up

As mentioned, we can’t always keep up with where Fido puts his nose so accidents will happen.  The key is being prepared.  Make sure you have the vet’s number as well as the after hour emergency vet’s number handy.

Err on the side of caution and call the vet even if you think everything will be fine.

The best approach is to prevent the problem from happening so be careful where you store those macadamia nuts, fence off that compost pile, and don’t share your Scotch with your four legged friend.

None of the items on the list above are acceptable treats or rewards so please don’t consider them as such.  Even if you’ve shared them with your dog in the past. Tossing a tasty chocolate kiss for your dog doing his favorite trick is asking for trouble.  You owe it to your dog to find a healthy alternative.

The most dangerous foods for dogs are, unfortunately, often some of the most common items we have laying around and readily available so an understanding of the inherent danger and a careful approach is needed.

In case you missed it earlier:


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