7 Foods You Should Absolutely Never Feed Your Dog

We all know that chocolate is fatal for our furry friends, but there are a host of other foods your dog should never be eating. Some of them may surprise you. Keep in mind that canine digestive systems are significantly less developed than human ones and rather ill-equipped to process certain foods.

There’s a reason dogs eat the same food every day—it contains all their necessary nutrients, and human food can actually cause health problems past an upset stomach. While all human food won’t poison your dog, every pooch is different and just because Fluffy loves steak doesn’t mean Fido will, too. Additionally, small dogs tend to have a more sensitive stomach than large ones.

After a study of complaints and incidents through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal, the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has compiled a list of the top people foods and ingredients that you should never feed your dog.

1. Alliums

This includes garlic and onions (and any foods seasoned with them). They have been associated with a disorder called hemolytic anemia, says Martine Hartogensis, the deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, which can damage a dog’s red blood cells.

If your pup eats garlic or onion, here are the symptoms to look out for: disorientation, fatigue and listlessness, rapid heartbeat and darkened urine or vomiting as the disease progresses.

Photo by SoraZG
Photo by SoraZG
Photo by SoraZG

2. Spoiled food

Look, if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your dog. Anything with mold on it or that smells questionable should go straight into the trash.


3. Fried foods

Extremely fatty foods like fried chicken are very toxic to dogs, Hartogensis says. Eating fries foods can cause pancreatic inflammation, which in turn can cause damage to your pet’s other intestines. This can be life-threatening. If you’re worried that Fluffy got into the curly fries, take her to the vet ASAP—pancreatitis can cause extreme vomiting and requires immediate emergency care.

french fries photo
Photo by pittaya

4. Grapes

This is a puzzler for vets. They’re not sure what it is in grapes that makes dogs so sick, but there is a strong correlation between eating grapes and kidney failure.

This also includes raisins and dried currants, which are even more dangerous because the dried fruit is more concentrated. Also, the smaller the dog, the fewer grapes it takes to make one very sick.

If your dog eats a grape, even one, watch for signs of kidney failure. Symptoms include: diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, low urine output and weakness, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

ripe sweet grapes isolated on white

5. Macadamia nuts

Dogs seem to be the only animal around that simply can’t tolerate macadamia nuts, and again, vets just aren’t sure why.

While it’s unlikely you’ll leave these expensive nuts lying around (and a dog would have to eat a good number of them to get sick), results can be very serious. Symptoms include depression, fever, muscle weakness and vomiting.

Really, you should never feed your dog nuts, says Hartogensis, but especially not macadamia nuts.

Photo by theilr
Photo by theilr
Photo by theilr

6. Salty snacks

Just like humans, dogs shouldn’t eat too much salt. In fact, foods with excessive sodium levels can cause sodium ion poisoning. While a singular pretzel or potato chip isn’t cause for the emergency room, dogs have been known to get into bags of food where they don’t belong.

Symptoms include depression, diarrhea, high fever, excessive thirst, kidney damage, seizures and vomiting. Make sure Mr. Woofers has a full water bowl all the time, but especially if he’s snuck a salty snack.

Photo by katerha
Photo by katerha
Photo by katerha

7. Xylitol

This is a low-calorie sugar substitute frequently added to a number of processed foods and other products like gum, breath mints and toothpaste. Even just a small amount of xylitol can cause a huge spike in a dog’s insulin levels, which could cause dangerously low blood sugar levels later on.

“Even just a few pieces of gum can be pretty toxic,” says Hartogensis. Little dogs are especially vulnerable to xylitol poisoning, so make sure to keep gum and mints well out of reach. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning initially include vomiting, and can later progress to fainting, seizures, staggering and weakness.

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