Have you ever wondered what can dogs NOT eat? As dog owners, we love to share our food with our furry companions. However, it’s important to be mindful of what we’re giving them, as certain human foods can be harmful to dogs. And just because I’m an animal communicator doesn’t mean that I don’t run into the same problems with my pets as everyone else!
What Can Dogs Not Eat: Understanding the Canine Diet
As I was steam cleaning the cantaloupe juice out of the carpet one morning (one of my dogs had snacked on the fruit that had been sitting on the kitchen countertop), I realized that I did not know whether cantaloupe was toxic for dogs. In fact, I wished I had an easily accessible catalog of toxic foods for dogs!
In case of an emergency, National Animal Poison Control is really helpful. Their website is here –> Animal Poison Control or call them at 800-426-4435. There is a $60, however, in times of need, this is no more than the typical co-pay for a human to go to the emergency room. My experience and that of my clients have all been very positive with this organization.
Please DO NOT post here that your dog has eaten something you are unsure of and ask if it is OK. We do not monitor this page on a daily basis. If you are questioning your dog’s behavior, CALL YOUR VET!
The Basics of a Dog’s Diet
Because of my line of work, I often have people calling me in a panic because their dog ate something and they don’t know what the potential consequences are. With that in mind, I have put the following list together, based on experience and research – and was especially surprised to learn about the dangers of avocados!
But first, do keep in mind dogs are omnivores. This means they can digest both plant-based and animal-based foods. However, their dietary needs are different from ours. Here’s a breakdown of what dogs should eat:
- Protein: Protein is the building block of muscle and essential for healthy growth and development. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs (cooked) are excellent sources of protein for dogs.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates provide energy for your dog’s daily activities. Whole grains, such as brown rice and oats, are healthy carbohydrate sources for dogs.
- Fats: Fats are essential for nutrient absorption and energy production. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, are particularly beneficial for dogs.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins and minerals are crucial for various bodily functions, including digestion, immune system support, and bone health. A balanced diet should provide your dog with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
What Human Foods Can Dogs NOT Eat?
While dogs may be tempted by the enticing aromas of human foods, many of these foods can be toxic to them. Here’s a list of what can dogs NOT eat:
NOTE: This in NOT an exhaustive list and it is certainly not meant to raise alarm – only to inform you about what to look out for. And notice… cantaloupe is not on the list! Hooray!
- Baby Food: Can contain onion power which can be toxic to dogs.
- Cat Food: Usually too high in protein and fats.
- Eggs (raw): 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. If your dog has a partial blockage in their intestines where food can be trapped, e coli or salmonella could breed more easily. Egg white contains the protein ‘avidin’ which forms a stable and biologically inactive complex with biotin. The avidin in egg whites will tie up the biotin so it cannot be used by the dog.
- Fat Trimmings: Fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis.
- Iron: Human vitamin supplements containing iron can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to other organs including the liver and kidneys.
- Marijuana: Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
- Tobacco: Nausea, salivation, vomiting, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat).
- Yeast Dough: Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines
What fruits can dogs not eat
- Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. The toxic ingredient in avocado is called persin. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart, vomiting, diarrhea, death, inflammation of mammary glands, cardiac failure, respiratory distress, generalized congestion, abdominal enlargement.
- Prunes: Like grapes and raisins, prunes can cause kidney failure.
- Apple, Apricot, Peach, Cherry, Plum, Pear & similar fruit – The seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans causing diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, (Stem, Seeds and Leaves).
- Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruits): The citric acid can cause irritation, and large amounts may be toxic.
- Citrus Oil Extracts: can cause vomiting.
- Persimmons Seeds: Can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
- Excessive amounts of any fruit: Too much fruit can lead to digestive upset or diarrhea due to the natural sugars and fiber content.
What berries can dogs not eat
- Grapes and raisins: These can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Cherries: The pits and stems of cherries contain cyanide, which can be toxic to dogs.
- Holly berries: These berries can be toxic and cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Juniper berries: Ingesting large quantities of juniper berries can cause digestive issues in dogs.
- Baneberries: Also known as Doll’s Eyes, these berries are highly toxic to dogs.
- Pokeweed berries: The entire pokeweed plant, including the berries, is toxic to dogs.
- Mistletoe berries: Ingesting mistletoe berries can be toxic and cause various symptoms, including gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular issues.
- Yew berries: The entire yew plant, including the berries, is highly toxic to dogs and can be fatal.
What vegetables can dogs not eat
- Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic contain thiosulfate, a toxin that can damage red blood cells in dogs.
- Broccoli: it can act as a gastrointestinal irritant.
- Tomatoes: not technically a vegetable, but considered one by nutritionists. In dogs, it can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias. Tomato plants and the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe.
- Raw potatoes: Raw potatoes and green potato skins contain solanine, which can be harmful to dogs.
- Mushrooms: Not technically a veggie, but important to mention. While some mushrooms are safe, many wild mushrooms are toxic to dogs. They can cause various symptoms, including digestive upset, seizures, and organ failure.
- Rhubarb leaves: The leaves of the rhubarb plant contain oxalates, which can be toxic to dogs.
- Corn on the cob: While plain corn is safe in moderation, the cob can pose a choking hazard. Or it cause intestinal blockages.
- Chives and leeks: Like onions and garlic, chives and leeks can contain compounds that are harmful to dogs.
What nuts can dogs not eat
- Macadamia nuts: Even small amounts of macadamia nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.
- Walnuts: Moldy walnuts, in particular, can contain toxins that can be harmful to dogs. Additionally, the high-fat content in nuts can lead to digestive upset.
- Almonds: While plain, unsalted almonds in small amounts are not generally toxic. However, they can be difficult for dogs to digest and may cause blockages.
- Pecans: Pecans can be high in fat and may cause digestive issues in dogs. Moldy pecans, similar to moldy walnuts, can be toxic.
- Pistachios: The high-fat content in pistachios can lead to upset stomach and pancreatitis in dogs. Additionally, the shells can be a choking hazard.
- Cashews: While plain, unsalted cashews are not toxic. But they are high in fat, which can lead to digestive upset and pancreatitis in large amounts.
- Acorns: Acorns and their caps can be toxic to dogs, and ingestion may cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Hickory nuts: The toxins in hickory nuts can cause stomach upset and other issues in dogs.
What seafood can dogs not eat
- Shellfish: Shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, are generally safe for dogs in small amounts. However, if they are seasoned, cooked with garlic or onions, or served with shells, they can be problematic.
- Scallops and mussels: These shellfish can be safe for dogs when thoroughly cooked, but they should be served without any additional seasonings or garlic/onions.
What fish can dogs not eat
- Raw fish: Raw fish, especially salmon, can contain parasites that may cause serious illness in dogs. Additionally, some types of raw fish can carry harmful bacteria.
- Certain types of fish with high mercury content: Some large predatory fish, such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel, may contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed regularly.
- Fish with added seasonings or sauces: Preparations with spices, garlic, onions, or heavy sauces should be avoided, as these ingredients can be toxic to dogs.
- Canned fish in oil: The oil in canned fish can be too “rich” for dogs and may lead to digestive upset.
What meat can dogs not eat
- Processed meats: Avoid giving dogs processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli meats. These often contain high levels of sodium and preservatives, which can be harmful to dogs.
- Fatty cuts of meat: While lean meats are generally good for dogs, fatty cuts can lead to pancreatitis, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
- Raw or undercooked pork: Pork can carry the risk of transmitting a parasite called Trichinella spiralis, which can cause trichinosis in dogs.
- Large amounts of liver: While liver is a nutritious organ meat, excessive consumption, especially of certain types like polar bear or seal liver, can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
- Meat with added seasonings: Avoid giving dogs meat that has been seasoned with ingredients like garlic, onions, salt, or other spices, as these can be toxic to dogs.
- Processed or seasoned meats: Foods like sausages or burgers often contain spices, herbs, or other additives that can be harmful to dogs.
- Game: Some wild game meats may carry parasites or diseases that can be harmful to dogs if not properly cooked or prepared.
What herbs can dogs not eat
- Chives: Chives contain compounds similar to those in garlic and onions that can be harmful to dogs.
- Lemon and lime: While the fruit itself is not toxic, the essential oils and compounds found in the peels and seeds can cause digestive upset.
- Pennyroyal: This herb, often used in essential oils, can be toxic to dogs and may cause liver damage.
- Rue: Rue can be toxic to dogs and may cause skin irritation, digestive upset, and other adverse reactions.
- Tansy: Tansy contains compounds that can be toxic to dogs and may cause various symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea.
- Wormwood: Wormwood contains compounds like thujone that can be toxic to dogs and may cause neurological symptoms.
What cheese can dogs not eat
- High-fat cheeses: Too much fat in a dog’s diet can lead to pancreatitis, a serious condition. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid extremely high-fat cheeses.
- Salted cheeses: Cheeses with high salt content, such as blue cheese or feta, should be limited. Excessive salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning or other health issues.
- Cheeses with added seasonings: Some cheeses may contain ingredients like garlic or onion, which can be toxic to dogs. Always check the ingredients before offering cheese to your dog.
- Soft cheeses with molds: Certain soft cheeses with molds, like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, may not be suitable for dogs. Moldy cheeses can contain mycotoxins that may be harmful.
Lactose-intolerant dogs: Some dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the enzyme needed to digest lactose properly. In such cases, it’s best to avoid dairy products or choose lactose-free options.
What plants can dogs not eat
- Azalea: Ingesting any part of the azalea plant can be toxic to dogs and may cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and, in severe cases, cardiovascular collapse.
- Autumn Crocus: This plant can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, kidney and liver damage, respiratory failure, and even death in dogs.
- Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane): Ingesting this plant can cause oral irritation, intense burning, and swelling of the mouth and tongue in dogs.
- Oleander: All parts of the oleander plant are toxic and can cause symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, heart abnormalities.
- Sago Palm: The seeds of the sago palm are highly toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, leading to death.
- Lilies: Certain lily species, such as Easter lilies, can be toxic to cats and dogs, causing kidney failure. Even a small amount of ingestion can be dangerous.
- Castor Bean Plant: The seeds of the castor bean plant contain ricin, a highly toxic substance that can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and organ damage.
- Foxglove: Ingesting foxglove can cause heart arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in severe cases, death.
- Hydrangea: Ingesting hydrangea leaves or flowers can cause gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea.
- Philodendron: Philodendron plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat if ingested.
What bones can dogs not eat
- Cooked Bones: Cooking bones makes them brittle and more likely to splinter, which can lead to choking, internal injuries, or intestinal blockages.
- Poultry Bones: Small poultry bones, such as those from chicken or turkey, can splinter easily and pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.
- Fish Bones: Fish bones are small, sharp, and can easily cause choking or damage to the digestive tract.
- T-Bones or Large Knuckle Bones: Large, hard bones, such as T-bones or large knuckle bones, can cause broken teeth, digestive tract injuries, or blockages.
- Pork Bones: Pork bones, especially when cooked, can splinter and pose similar risks as cooked poultry bones.
- Bones with Marrow: While some dogs enjoy bones with marrow, excessive consumption can lead to pancreatitis due to the high fat content.
- Artificial Bones: Some commercially available synthetic or plastic bones can be too hard and may cause dental injuries or splinter into sharp pieces.
- Rib Bones: Rib bones can be small and may splinter, posing a choking hazard or causing intestinal blockages.
What spices can dogs not eat
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg can be toxic to dogs and may cause symptoms such as hallucinations, disorientation, increased heart rate, and stomach upset.
- Cinnamon: While a small amount of cinnamon is generally safe, large quantities can cause digestive upset. Cinnamon essential oil is more concentrated and should be avoided.
- Allspice: Allspice can cause stomach upset and may be toxic in larger amounts.
- Salt: Excessive salt can be harmful to dogs and may lead to sodium ion poisoning. Avoid highly salted foods and salty spice blends.
What sugar can dogs not eat
- Xylitol (a sugar substitute): Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in sugar-free gum, candies, and some baked goods. It is highly toxic to dogs and can cause insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and liver failure.
- Chocolate: While not a sugar, chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are particularly dangerous.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, are not known to be toxic to dogs in small amounts, but large quantities can be harmful.
- High-Sugar Foods: Foods that are high in sugar, such as candies, cakes, and cookies, can contribute to obesity and dental problems in dogs. Additionally, large amounts of sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset.
What can dogs not drink?
- Alcohol: Alcohol is toxic to dogs and can cause severe health issues, including respiratory failure, coma, and even death. Never allow your dog to consume alcoholic beverages.
- Caffeinated Beverages: Drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, should be kept away from dogs. Caffeine can lead to restlessness, increased heart rate, and, in severe cases, tremors or seizures.
- Milk (for some dogs): While many dogs can tolerate milk, some are lactose intolerant and may experience digestive upset, including diarrhea, if they consume dairy products. Use caution when offering milk and dairy to dogs.
- Fruit Juice (in excess): Fruit juices can be high in sugar and may contribute to gastrointestinal upset or obesity if consumed in large quantities. It’s best to offer water instead.
- Sugary Drinks: Beverages high in sugar, such as soda or sweetened fruit drinks, can contribute to obesity, dental problems, and other health issues in dogs. Water is the best choice.
- Sports Drinks: Sports drinks may contain electrolytes and sugars, but they are formulated for humans and may not be suitable for dogs. Consult your veterinarian before offering sports drinks to your dog.
- Bone Broth (high in sodium): While small amounts of plain, unsalted bone broth can be beneficial, commercially available or homemade bone broths with high sodium content may not be suitable for dogs, especially those with certain health conditions.
Beyond the Bowl: A Safe and Savory Approach to Canine Nutrition
While providing your dog with a balanced diet is essential, it’s also important to consider their individual needs and preferences. This is where animal communication can come in handy!
Animal communication is the practice of connecting with animals telepathically to understand their thoughts, feelings, and health concerns. By communicating with your dog, you can gain valuable insights into their dietary needs and preferences.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to talk to your pet, and how it can benefit your dog’s health, I do encourage you to explore the resources on my website. My animal communication classes are designed to help you better understand your pet’s perspective and communicate more effectively with them. And in case you didn’t know, anyone can learn animal communication!
And, psst! You can also check out this directory of animal communicators who can provide personalized guidance for those looking to better connect with their pet.
Remember, the most important thing is to be an informed and responsible pet owner. By understanding what your dog can and cannot eat, you can make informed decisions about their diet and ensure their long-term health and well-being.