What not to feed a dog

Dogs seem to devour most foods with gusto but tempting as it may be to give your dog a tasty titbit it may do them harm.

Food which we humans find delicious may actually be poisonous to dogs. They have different metabolisms and ways of breaking down and processing food so it affects them in a different way. The problem is dogs will usually love to eat the foods which can cause them potential harm.

Here’s a list of the main food which can prove harmful to dogs:


Chocolate contains caffeine which can harm your dog but also theobromine which can be toxic, cause panting, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It can damage your dog’s heart and nervous system. In severe cases dogs can actually die from chocolate poisoning.

Plain, dark and cooking chocolate contain the highest levels of theobromine. So keep chocolate out of your dog’s reach. This is especially relevant at times like Christmas and Easter when there’s a lot of chocolate lying around the home or wrapped up in presents which your dog may be able to get to.

Cola, coffee and tea all contain caffeine. So avoid letting your dog have access to them as well.

Raisins and grapes

Raisins and grapes seem innocuous enough to humans but are known to be toxic to dogs.

Don’t leave out a fruit bowl containing grapes in your home if your dog can reach it. Even a handful of grapes may cause harm in some cases.

No-one’s really sure why grapes and raisins are so toxic to dogs. It may be a fungal toxin or herbicide that’s the problem.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, swelling of the abdomen and kidney damage.


Avocados are a healthy choice for us humans but dangerous for dogs. They contain a substance called persin which is poisonous to dogs. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea.

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause dogs to develop a temporary tremor and weakness or paralysis of their back legs.

The exact substance that triggers the reaction isn’t known. Dogs can recover with no treatment and long term problems.


Onions contain substances called disulfides and sulfoxides which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.Never give it to your dog regularly or in any large amounts. Don’t leave out leftovers from Indian or Chinese takeaways as they could contain onions.


Alcohol should never be given to dogs as it has a similar effect on dogs as it does to humans. Only a small amount of alcohol can cause sickness, diarrhoea and co-ordination problems. In severe cases it can lead to difficulty breathing and even death. Dogs shouldn’t be given anything containing alcohol as it may lead to alcohol poisoning.

Sugar-free sweets and other products

A common sweetener called Xylitol which is used in sugar-free sweets, chewing gum and other sugar-free foods is bad for dogs.

It’s connected with low blood sugar in dogs. First symptoms include vomiting and o-ordination problems. In extreme cases it can lead to liver failure.

Peaches and plum stones

If dogs eat peaches or plums they may well swallow the stone which can cause an obstruction. The stones also contain a type of cyanide which is poisonous to humans and dogs. We don’t eat the stones but dogs will.

There are plenty of other foods that dogs shouldn’t eat including rhubarb leaves, tomato plants and uncooked bread dough.

The best rule of thumb is to just feed dog food and keep the human food for people. If you think your dog has eaten anything that may be poisonous take him straight to the vet.