Foods Toxic to Dogs | Essential Guide on Herbs, Spices, Fruits & Veggies

By: Danielle Harris

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foods toxic to dogs

Hey, dog owners! Ever caught your four-legged friend eyeing up your dinner with a look that says, “Just one bite, please?” We’ve all been there. But remember, not everything on our plates is safe for Spot. Some common foods can be more dangerous to dogs than a squirrel on a skateboard!

From herbs and spices to fruits and veggies, many seemingly harmless items could spell trouble for your pooch’s health. So it’s crucial to know what foods are the equivalent of doggie kryptonite! It’s like being a food detective but without the fancy hat.

As their humans, we play a big role in preventing these culinary catastrophes. After all, you wouldn’t want to unknowingly feed Fido something that could harm him, right? Stay tuned as we dive into this important topic – no snorkel required!

Table of Contents – Foods toxic to dogs

Exploring Toxic Herbs and Spices for Dogs

Harmful Herbs: More Than Just Weeds

Herbs like parsley, oregano, and rosemary are common in our kitchens but can be harmful to dogs. While these herbs may seem harmless, they contain essential oils that can cause upset stomachs and even poisoning in dogs when consumed in excess.

Never feed your pet essential oils in general. They’re too concentrated and can causes severe damage.

  • Parsley: This herb contains furanocoumarins, a toxic substance which can lead to photosensitization in dogs.
  • Oregano: It’s not just a pizza topping. Ingesting large amounts of oregano can lead to digestive issues in dogs.
  • Rosemary: While it might make your roast chicken taste divine, rosemary contains volatile oils that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Spices: Not Everything Nice

Spices such as nutmeg and paprika aren’t just flavor enhancers; they’re potential hazards for your furry friends.

  • Nutmeg: This holiday spice contains myristicin which is toxic to dogs and can cause hallucinations or seizures.
  • Paprika: A common ingredient in many dishes, paprika has capsicum which irritates the skin and eyes of dogs.

Seasonings: Hidden Dangers

Certain seasonings like onion powder may seem innocuous but pose serious threats to canine health. Onion powder is concentrated with thiosulphate, a compound causing hemolytic anemia in dogs – a condition where red blood cells burst while circulating in the body.

Evaluating Effects: Recognizing Symptoms

Understanding the effects of these herbs and spices on your dog’s health is crucial. Common symptoms include:

  1. Vomiting or diarrhea
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Lethargy or weakness

Assessing Safety of Fruits for Dogs

Beneficial Fruits for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can benefit from a variety of fruits in their diet. These provide essential vitamins and minerals that promote overall health. For instance:

  • Apples are rich in fiber and vitamin A and C.
  • Blueberries offer antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.
  • Watermelon (without seeds or rind) is hydrating and packed with vitamins A, B6, and C.

Though these fruits are beneficial, it’s crucial to serve them in moderation as they contain sugar.

Risky Fruits for Dogs

However, not all fruits are safe for our canine friends. Some pose serious risks including:

  1. Cherries: The pits contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs.
  2. Grapes: Can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  3. Avocados: Contains persin which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Small amounts of Avocado flesh is ok for your dog to eat but the skin and pits are where the danger lies.

It’s important to avoid these fruits entirely to prevent any potential harm.

Hazards of Fruit Consumption

Even with dog-friendly fruits, there are hazards to consider:

  • Seeds or Pits: Apple seeds or peach pits contain cyanide which is harmful if ingested by dogs.
  • Sugar Content: Excessive consumption may lead to obesity or diabetes.

Always remove the seeds/pits before feeding your dog fruit and monitor their intake closely.

Symptoms after Unsafe Fruit Ingestion

If your dog has ingested unsafe fruits, watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal behavior such as restlessness or aggression

Should you notice any of these symptoms following fruit ingestion, consult a vet immediately.

Grapes and Raisins: A Deadly Snack for Dogs

The Hidden Danger in Tiny Fruits

Grapes and raisins, seemingly harmless snacks for humans, present a severe toxicity risk to our canine friends. Their small size belies the significant threat they pose. The reason why these tiny fruits are so deadly isn’t due to any poisonous compounds like solanine or xylitol found in other foods toxic to dogs such as grapefruit, raspberries, rhubarb, or yeast products. Instead, it’s an unidentified substance within grapes and raisins that causes a sudden and often fatal kidney failure in dogs.

Symptoms of Grape/Raisin Ingestion

After consuming grapes or raisins, dogs might show several symptoms:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Upset stomach
  4. Excessive thirst
  5. Lethargy

These symptoms can appear within 12 hours after ingestion and may indicate serious damage to the kidneys.

Urgency is Key

If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, act urgently! Even a small amount can lead to devastating health effects including liver failure and destruction of red blood cells.

Don’t wait until symptoms appear. By then, irreversible damage may have already occurred leading to kidney failure – a life-threatening condition.

Take your dog immediately to the vet if you believe they’ve consumed any amount of grapes or raisins. Your quick action could save their life!


  • Grapes are not just toxic; they’re deadly.
  • Size doesn’t matter; even one grape can cause harm.
  • Act fast; time is critical when combating grape/raisin poisoning.

The severity of this issue cannot be overstated. Just as we avoid giving caffeine to our pets due to its harmful effects similar to burns on their bodies’ systems, we should also keep them away from grapes and raisins.

Seeds and Pits: Hidden Dangers in Fruits

The Cyanide Threat

Ever munched on an apple and wondered about the tiny seeds? They contain a compound called amygdalin, which releases cyanide when ingested. While humans can handle small amounts, our canine friends aren’t so fortunate. Even a few apple seeds can cause problems for a small dog.

Fruits like peaches, pears, and cherries also have seeds or pits with similar compounds. These are some of the foods that are toxic to dogs: herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables all included. But it’s not just about toxicity – there’s more to be cautious about.

Choking Hazards

Imagine swallowing a peach stone – not pleasant! Now imagine being a dog who doesn’t understand the concept of “inedible”. Large pits from fruits like peaches or cherries pose serious choking risks for dogs. And it’s not just large fruits; even smaller ones like strawberries have seeds that could potentially get lodged in a dog’s throat.

Gastrointestinal Blockages

Swallowed seeds or pits don’t always end up as choking incidents; sometimes they make their way down to the stomach. Here they can cause blockages in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract – something far more dangerous than an upset tummy.

For example:

  • Peas: Their size might seem harmless but swallowed whole, peas can lead to blockages.
  • Oranges and cantaloupes: Despite their soft flesh, these fruits have hard seeds that could cause problems if swallowed.

The key takeaway here is simple – remove any seeds or pits before feeding your dog fruit.

Protecting Your Pet

You love sharing treats with your pup. But remember this rule of thumb before you share that juicy pear or ripe strawberry:

  1. Check if the fruit is safe for dogs (some plants may also cause kidney damage).

Avocado: A Toxic Fruit for Dogs

The Danger of Persin

Avocados, while a favorite among humans, are not a friend to our canine companions. This seemingly harmless fruit contains a toxin called persin. While humans can easily digest this substance, dogs’ systems react differently. Ingesting avocado can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in dogs due to the presence of persin.

Persin is present in all parts of the avocado – the skin, leaves, and even the pit. So whether your dog sniffs out an avocado from your grocery bag or finds one fallen from a tree in your backyard, they’re at risk.

Avocado pulp is not toxic to dogs, and there are some health benefits to eating the flesh of an avocado—including vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants.

Symptoms of Avocado Poisoning

Should your dog ingest an avocado, there are several symptoms you should be on the lookout for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing

These symptoms might not appear immediately after consumption but keep a close eye on them if you suspect they’ve eaten an avocado.

Choking Hazards

Another danger avocados pose to dogs is their large pits. These can cause choking or blockages in their digestive tract if swallowed whole. Even though mango and orange seeds may also pose similar risks, it’s the size and hardness of avocado pits that make them particularly dangerous.

Keep Avocados Out of Reach

Prevention is always better than cure. To ensure your furry friend stays safe:

  1. Store avocados out of reach.
  2. Dispose of pits safely.
  3. Avoid feeding dogs food containing avocados.
  4. Be cautious with guacamole – remember it’s made from avocados!

Vegetables: Risks and Benefits for Dogs

Beneficial Veggies for Dogs

Dogs can chow down on a variety of vegetables, which provide essential nutrients and antioxidants. Carrots, cucumbers, and green beans are some examples that dogs can safely consume.

  • Carrots: High in vitamin A and fiber, carrots are good for a dog’s digestion and vision. They’re also low in calories, making them an excellent treat for overweight dogs.
  • Cucumbers: These are hydrating veggies with low fat content, ideal for overweight dogs. Plus, they contain vitamins K, C, and B1.
  • Green Beans: Packed with iron and vitamins, green beans offer antioxidant benefits to your canine friends. They’re also low in calories but high in fiber.

Harmful Veggies to Watch Out For

While many vegetables benefit dogs’ health, others could be harmful if consumed raw or in large quantities. Raw potatoes and tomatoes fall into this category.

  • Raw Potatoes: Contain solanine which is toxic to dogs when raw or green.
  • Tomatoes: The green parts of tomatoes contain solanine as well. While ripe tomatoes might not harm your dog significantly unless eaten excessively.

Potential Hazards of Vegetable Consumption

Even safe vegetables pose potential hazards if not prepared properly or fed appropriately:

  1. Choking hazard: Hard vegetables like carrots should be cut into smaller pieces before feeding them to your dog.
  2. Digestive issues: Some dogs might have difficulty digesting certain types of vegetables leading to gastrointestinal discomfort.
  3. Allergic reactions: Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain veggies too!

Preparation Methods Matter

How you prepare these veggies can make a big difference:

  • Cooking methods: Boiling or steaming the veggies makes them easier to chew and digest.

Safe and Unsafe Snacks: Nuts, Seeds, Meat

The Good Treats

Let’s cut to the chase. You’re sharing a snack with your furry friend, but are you sure it’s safe? Cooked chicken or turkey can be a great treat for dogs. These lunch meats are usually well-tolerated by most dogs and can provide them with some healthy proteins. Just make sure they’re not seasoned with harmful herbs or spices.

Peanut butter is another tasty treat that dogs usually love. It’s packed with protein and healthy fats that can provide your dog with energy. However, be careful to choose a brand without xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

Eggs are also on the menu of good treats for dogs. They are high in protein and easily digestible. Plus, they’re easy to prepare – just boil or scramble them without any seasoning or oil.

Toxic Foods: Nuts and Seeds

On the flip side, certain people foods like nuts can be dangerous for our canine friends. For example:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts

These nuts contain toxins that can cause vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia and weakness in dogs.

Seeds such as flaxseeds might seem like a healthy food option for humans but they aren’t suitable for our four-legged friends. They can cause digestive upset in dogs due to their high fiber content.

Raw Meat Risks

Raw meat often comes up when discussing dog diets – after all, wolves eat raw food in the wild! Yet feeding raw meat presents risks due to bacteria such as Salmonella or E.coli which could lead to serious health issues in both pets and humans.

Not all human foods are bad news though!

The Hidden Dangers of Mushrooms for Dogs

Toxicity Levels Among Mushroom Species

Not all mushrooms are created equal, especially. Some wild mushrooms are harmless, while others can be deadly. For instance, Amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap mushroom, is one of the most toxic. Even a small bite can cause severe poisoning in dogs.

Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs

The side effects after a dog has ingested a poisonous mushroom vary based on the species consumed. Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Seizures

In some cases, these symptoms may not appear immediately but can develop within 6 to 24 hours after ingestion.

Urgency in Response to Mushroom Ingestion

If you suspect your dog has eaten a toxic mushroom, immediate action is crucial. Contact your vet or an emergency animal hospital right away. If possible, take a sample of the mushroom with you for identification purposes.

Prevention is Key

Preventing access to wild mushrooms during walks is essential in keeping your pet safe. Here are some tips:

  1. Keep your dog on a leash during walks in wooded areas.
  2. Regularly check your yard for any growing mushrooms and remove them.
  3. Train your dog to avoid eating anything off the ground.

By understanding the risks associated with wild mushrooms and taking preventative measures, you can help ensure that your four-legged friend stays healthy and happy!

Tomatoes and Raw Potatoes: Potential Hazards for Dogs

The Hidden Toxin

You might be surprised to learn that common foods, like tomatoes and raw potatoes, can pose a serious threat to dogs. They contain solanine, a toxin found in the green parts of these plants. Now you might be thinking, “But my dog has eaten tomatoes before without any issues.” That’s because solanine is primarily present in the green parts of the tomato plant, including unripe tomatoes.

Though it’s not common for dogs to munch on tomato plants or chow down on a bag of raw potatoes, it’s important to be aware of these dangers. Solanine poisoning can lead to severe health problems in dogs.

Symptoms After Ingestion

If your dog has ingested solanine from raw potatoes or tomatoes, there are certain symptoms you should look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Confusion or abnormal behavior
  • Tremors or seizures

These symptoms usually occur within six hours after ingestion. If your canine companion exhibits any of these signs after eating raw potatoes or tomatoes, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Small Amounts Still Pose Risks

Even small amounts of these foods can cause harm. So if you’re thinking about tossing your pup a piece of tomato while cooking dinner – think again! It’s best to keep them away from these foods entirely.

Reducing Solanine Levels

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce solanine levels in these foods. Cooking methods such as boiling or baking can significantly lower their toxicity levels:

  1. Boiling: Boil the potatoes until they are soft when poked with a fork.
  2. Baking: Bake the potatoes at 375°F (190°C) until they are easily pierced with a fork.

Broccoli: A Double-Edged Sword for Dogs

Nutrient-Rich Veggie

Broccoli, like cabbage, asparagus, spinach, and celery, is packed with nutrients. It’s a healthy choice for humans, but what about our four-legged friends? Well, it can be beneficial to dogs too – if fed in moderation. High in fiber and vitamin C, broccoli can contribute positively to your dog’s diet.

However, as the saying goes “too much of a good thing…” applies here. Overfeeding broccoli can lead to problems due to a compound called isothiocyanates.

The Isothiocyanate Issue

Isothiocyanates are present in many cruciferous vegetables including broccoli. While they have health benefits for humans (and dogs) in small amounts, overconsumption can cause gastrointestinal irritation in dogs leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea.

This isn’t just an issue with broccoli; other foods like cabbage and asparagus contain these compounds too. So while these veggies might seem like great low-calorie snacks for your pooch – remember moderation is key!

Serving Size Matters

The quantity of broccoli that constitutes ‘moderation’ depends on your dog’s weight. A general guideline is that treats (including veggies like broccoli) should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

So how does this translate into servings of broccoli? For a small breed dog weighing around 10 pounds (4.5 kg), one or two small florets would suffice. Larger breeds weighing around 50 pounds (22 kg), could handle about half a cup.

Remember though – every dog is different! What works for one may not work for another.

Watch Out For Reactions

After feeding your dog any new food item – including broccoli – it’s important to monitor them closely for any adverse reactions.

The Risks of Onions, Garlic, Chives, Green Onions, and Leeks for Dogs

foods toxic to dogs
Foods Toxic to Dogs – Onions

Hemolytic Anemia: A Silent Killer

A dog’s diet is more than just a bowl of kibble. It’s a balance of nutrients that keep them healthy and energetic. But did you know some everyday foods like onions can disrupt this balance? In fact, onions along with garlic, chives, and leeks pose a serious risk to dogs as they cause hemolytic anemia – a condition where the dog’s body destroys its own red blood cells.

Ingesting these foods leads to the formation of Heinz bodies in their red blood cells. These abnormal clusters within the cells make them less flexible and more prone to rupture. This results in a reduced ability for blood to carry oxygen around the body – hence causing hemolytic anemia.

Spotting Symptoms Early Can Save Lives

So how would you know if your fur-buddy has ingested any of these toxic foods? Look out for symptoms such as pale gums, rapid breathing or increased heart rate. Your dog might also show signs of weakness or fatigue, lose its appetite or even collapse in severe cases.

But here’s the kicker: symptoms may not appear immediately after your dog consumes these foods. It could take several days before any signs become apparent which makes it even more crucial to keep a vigilant eye on your pet’s behavior post-ingestion.

No Amount is Safe

You might think feeding small amounts won’t harm your pet but remember this – toxicity from onions and other such foods is cumulative over time. Meaning even tiny bits can add up and lead to toxic levels in their system over time.

Think about it like this: Would you risk playing Russian roulette with your pet’s life?

Act Swiftly To Prevent Disaster

If you suspect that your dog has eaten any amount of onions or similar food items – don’t wait!

Guidelines: Feeding Your Dog Safely

Feeding your dog a balanced diet is more than just ensuring they have enough to eat. It’s about providing the right nutrients in the correct proportions. The role of portion control cannot be overstated for a healthy dog. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition.

  • Proteins should form about 20% of their diet
  • Carbohydrates provide energy and should make up around 50%
  • Fats are also essential for energy and should constitute approximately 25%
  • The remaining 5% should come from fiber and micronutrients

Regular vet check-ups are crucial in monitoring your pet’s health and dietary needs. Your vet will assess:

  1. Weight changes
  2. Dental health
  3. Digestive issues
  4. Allergies

These factors can influence what you feed your dog and how often.

Safe food preparation methods for dogs differ from those we use for ourselves. Some foods that are safe for human consumption can be harmful or even fatal to dogs, such as certain herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables.

Here are some tips on preparing food safely:

  • Always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Remove any seeds or pits as these can pose choking hazards.
  • Cook meat thoroughly to eliminate bacteria.
  • Avoid seasoning food with salt, onion powder, garlic powder or other spices that may be toxic to dogs.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to educate yourself about potential food hazards. Foods that are toxic to dogs include:

Herbs & SpicesFruitsVegetables
NutmegAvocadosRhubarb leaves

Knowledge is power.

Wrapping Up Your Dog’s Diet Dilemmas

Navigating the do’s and don’ts of your dog’s diet can feel like a walk through a minefield, right? We’ve tackled everything from toxic herbs and spices to fruits and veggies that could be harmful for your furry friend. Not all that glitters is gold – some snacks that seem harmless, like grapes or avocados, can actually be deadly for dogs.

But hey, don’t let this scare you! It’s all about being informed and cautious. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your vet before introducing anything new into your dog’s diet. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you can make safer choices for your canine companion. Ready to take the next step in ensuring a healthy diet for your pet?


Can dogs eat apples?

Yes, dogs can eat apples but ensure to remove the seeds and core as they contain cyanide which is harmful to dogs.

Are bananas safe for dogs?

Bananas are safe for dogs in moderation due to their high sugar content.

Is broccoli good for my dog?

Broccoli can be good for dogs but only in small quantities as it contains isothiocyanates which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs.

Can my dog eat nuts?

Some nuts like almonds and peanuts are generally safe if unsalted while others like macadamia nuts are toxic.

Are onions bad for my dog?

Yes, onions are highly toxic to dogs causing damage to their red blood cells leading to anemia.

Can I give my dog garlic?

No, garlic is part of the Allium family (which includes onions) and is poisonous to most pets including dogs.

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