Unsafe Chow: What Foods Can’t Your Dog Digest?

As a veterinarian, it is common for me to witness dog owners unknowingly feeding their furry friends toxic foods. It is important as a dog owner to be mindful of what your dog is consuming as certain foods can cause digestive issues, organ damage, or even death.

Unsafe Chow: What Foods Can't Your Dog Digest?


Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains, making it more dangerous for dogs to consume. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins may seem like harmless treats for dogs, but in reality, they can lead to kidney failure. Even a small amount can be harmful, so it is important to keep these foods away from your dog at all times.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.


Avocado contains a compound called persin, which is toxic to dogs in large amounts. While small amounts of avocado may not harm your dog, large amounts can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.


Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and some soft drinks, can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors in dogs. In severe cases, caffeine can cause death.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, vomiting, hyperthermia, and tremors in dogs. Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last up to two days.


Alcohol can affect dogs in the same way it affects humans, but dogs are much more sensitive to it. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, and even coma or death.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candy, and baked goods. It can cause insulin release, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures.


In conclusion, it is essential to be aware of what your dog is consuming, as certain foods can cause severe consequences. The foods listed above should be avoided at all times to ensure your dog’s well-being. If your dog has ingested any of the above foods, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

As a responsible dog owner, it is important to keep your dog safe and healthy. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your dog is not accidentally ingesting toxic foods.

Remember to always consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet.


Q: Can dogs eat chocolate?
A: No, dogs cannot properly digest chocolate. It contains a substance called theobromine, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested in large amounts. Theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

Q: Is it safe for dogs to consume grapes or raisins?
A: No, grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause kidney failure, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite.

Q: Can dogs eat onions or garlic?
A: No, both onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. Symptoms can include weakness, pale gums, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can even lead to organ damage. It’s best to avoid feeding your dog any foods that contain onions or garlic, including soups, stews, and baby food.

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