Beware: Common Human Foods, Snacks, and Drugs That Are Toxic and Deadly to Dogs

July 11, 2023

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Beware: Common Human Foods, Snacks, and Drugs That Are Toxic and Deadly to Dogs


As responsible dog owners, we often enjoy sharing our lives and experiences with our furry friends. However, it's crucial to remember that not everything we consume is safe for our canine companions. Some common human foods, snacks, and drugs can be toxic and potentially fatal to dogs. In this blog post, we will highlight a few notorious culprits that pet owners should be aware of to ensure the well-being and safety of their beloved pets.


Who doesn't enjoy indulging in a piece of chocolate? While it may be a treat for us, chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate pose the greatest danger due to their higher theobromine content. Consumption of chocolate by dogs can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death. It's important to keep chocolate securely out of your dog's reach at all times.


Alcohol is a big no-no for dogs. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause significant harm to their bodies. Dogs are highly sensitive to alcohol, and ingesting it can lead to severe health complications such as liver damage, brain damage, respiratory distress, and even death. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation, excessive drooling, and in severe cases, coma. Always ensure that alcoholic beverages are kept away from your pets and clean up any spills promptly.

Marijuana (Weed):

As the legalization of marijuana becomes more widespread, it's important to remember that it can be highly toxic to dogs. The active compounds in marijuana, such as THC, affect dogs differently than they do humans. Dogs are far more sensitive to the effects of THC, and ingestion can result in symptoms like lethargy, lack of coordination, drooling, dilated pupils, vomiting, and even seizures. If you suspect your dog has ingested marijuana, seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Grapes and Raisins:

Grapes and raisins, although healthy for humans, can be toxic to dogs. The exact substance that causes the toxicity is unknown, but even small amounts can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and increased thirst and urination. It's best to keep these fruits away from your dog's reach and avoid feeding them any foods containing grapes or raisins.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, baked goods, and other products. While harmless to humans, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Ingesting xylitol can cause a sudden release of insulin in dogs, leading to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure. It's essential to read product labels carefully and keep xylitol-containing items well out of your dog's reach.

Onions and Garlic:

Onions and garlic, whether raw, cooked, or powdered, contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells and lead to anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, increased heart rate, and collapse. It's advisable to avoid feeding dogs any dishes that contain onions or garlic.


Caffeine is found in various products such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and certain medications. Ingesting caffeine can affect a dog's central nervous system and cardiovascular system, leading to restlessness, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and, in severe cases, even death. Keep all caffeinated products securely stored away from your dog's access.

Macadamia Nuts:

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in baked goods and can cause serious problems for dogs. Ingesting these nuts can result in symptoms like weakness, vomiting, tremors, elevated body temperature, and even temporary paralysis of the hind limbs. Ensure macadamia nuts and products containing them are kept away from your dog.


Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can be toxic to dogs, especially in large amounts. While the flesh itself may not be as harmful, the pit, skin, and leaves contain higher concentrations of persin. Ingestion can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and fluid accumulation around the heart. Be cautious and keep avocados out of your dog's reach.


Certain human medications, including over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions, can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as antidepressants, can cause serious harm. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medications, and store all medications securely where your dog cannot access them.

If you suspect or know that your dog has ingested a toxic substance, it's essential to act quickly. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Stay Calm: While it's natural to feel worried or panicked, it's important to remain calm. Your dog will pick up on your emotions, and it's best to approach the situation with a clear mind.
  2. Remove Your Dog from the Area: If possible, move your dog away from the source of the toxin to prevent further ingestion.
  3. Assess the Situation: Determine what your dog has ingested, how much, and when. This information will be helpful when you contact your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline.
  4. Contact Your Veterinarian: Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Describe the situation and provide all relevant details, including the substance ingested, the quantity, and the time of ingestion. They will guide you on the next steps to take.
  5. Do Not Induce Vomiting without Veterinary Guidance: Inducing vomiting may be recommended in some cases, but it should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. Some substances can cause more harm if vomited back up or if they have already been absorbed into the system. Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully.
  6. Follow Veterinary Advice: Your veterinarian may instruct you to monitor your dog's symptoms, bring them in for an examination, or take other necessary actions. Follow their advice closely.
  7. Keep the Packaging or Product: If possible, keep the packaging or any remnants of the substance your dog ingested. This can help the veterinarian identify the specific toxic ingredients and determine the appropriate treatment.
  8. Prevent Future Incidents: Take measures to prevent your dog from accessing toxic substances in the future. Store medications, cleaning products, and hazardous foods securely out of your dog's reach. Be vigilant and aware of potential dangers in your home and surroundings.

Remember, time is of the essence in cases of potential poisoning. Acting promptly and seeking professional veterinary assistance is crucial for the well-being and safety of your dog.


As dog owners, it's our responsibility to protect our furry friends from harm. While it's tempting to share our favorite foods, snacks, and even drugs with our dogs, some substances can have severe and even fatal consequences for their health. Awareness is the first step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of our canine companions. Always consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ingested any toxic substances, as early intervention is crucial in such cases. Remember, a little extra caution can go a long way in keeping our four-legged friends healthy and happy and this is just a short list, there are many more to be aware of...follow us for more!