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Human Foods Dogs Should Avoid


Human Foods Dogs Should Avoid

Our dogs are such a big part of our homes, that it’s easy to forget they are actually animals. Many dog owners treat their pets as they would their children, which means sometimes they can receive a well-meant food treat that is actually harmful to their health.

Most dogs love to eat human food, and there are plenty of fruits and vegetables they can safely enjoy. While some make a nutritious and tasty treat for your pup, other foods can cause serious harm. So, we have listed the top foods dogs should avoid below.


Possibly the most well-known poisonous food is chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs but not humans. This is because dogs process theobromine much slower, allowing it to build up to toxic levels. A small amount of chocolate will likely result in an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. But large amounts can cause muscle seizures, internal bleeding or even a heart attack.

More information on the dangers of chocolate here.

Tea and Coffee

Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans are, this is because caffeine is a stimulant. Dogs that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate. For dogs, it is hard to determine how much caffeine is too much, so it’s best to avoid caffeine all together. Although it can be tempting to let your pup slurp up the last of your brew, the risks can be deadly.


Xylitol is a sweetener found in many sweet treats, such as cakes, biscuits and low-calorie supplements. However, it can also be found in syrups and toothpaste. Although Xylitol is a great sugar alternative for humans, dogs process it very differently. The human body recognises that it is an additional sugar, but dogs don’t, so the sweetener is absorbed rapidly.

Once Xylitol is in the bloodstream, it triggers a large amount of insulin, which causes the dogs blood sugar levels to plummet. This causes dogs to become dizzy and possibly lose consciousness. For smaller dogs, just one piece of chewing gum or a single sweet can cause serious problems.


The base of many homemade meals, onions add flavour to any recipe. However, onions can be very dangerous to dogs. Onions in any form, can lead to serious problems with a dogs’ blood. Onions contain N-propyl, which attacks the Haemoglobin in a dog’s blood, so avoid giving your dog meals that contain onions.


Similar to onions, garlic can be poisonous to dogs, as well as cats. Large quantities of garlic can cause damage to the dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.


Although grapes may seem like a healthy treat for dogs, sadly they are not safe in any amount. If your pup accidentally ingests a grape or raisin, they may have a decreased appetite, seem lethargic, suffer sickness and diarrhea.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts may not be on your weekly shopping list; but they are commonly found in baked goods such as cakes, cookies and muffins. These nuts are highly toxic to dogs, so even the smallest amount can lead to vomiting, a weakness in the legs and hyperthermia.


Avocado has become somewhat of a ‘social media sensation’ in recent years, but avocado can be poisonous if ingested by a dog. It contains persin, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs. Plus, the avocado pit is a major choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. So, if you are a ‘guac’ lover, ensure you store the fruit safely out of your dogs’ reach.

What to do if a dog ingests poisonous food?

If your dog eats a food that is poisonous to them, act fast and call your local vet.

 Please note:

Barking Mad, the UK’s leading home dog boarding provider, assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is only intended as a guide and is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet.  Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment about your dog’s diet or if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, they’ll always have an emergency out of hours service available.

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