15 common human foods that can be poisonous to dogs

Recent information from the USA indicated that almost halve the dog poisonings from household foodstuffs resulted from eating chocolate. Apart from the obvious chocolate, these are also 15 other common human foods that can be poisonous to dogs:

Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits)

As with humans, any alcohol can be quite dangerous to a dog’s liver. Unlike humans though, dogs only need small amounts of these OH-groups to have a vigorous effect. In the short term, all symptoms connected to being drunk will be seen in dogs consuming a “dop”. In the long term, alcohol toxicity can lead to permanent liver damage.


Avos contains a dangerous substance called Persin. It can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. In addition to dogs, birds are also particularly sensitive to avos. It stimulates the heart to beat faster, leading to serious reactions such as the development of congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart.

Blue cheese

Over ripe or festering blue cheese can produce a toxin called roquefortine which dogs are particularly susceptible to. Sudden death has been reported in dogs. If you’re not willing to eat it, don’t let your dog eat it – simple.

Fruit pips

Cherries, apple, apricot and many more. It is not actually the fruit that is poisonous to dogs, but the pip. Many fruit pips contains cyanide, a lethal poison to even humans. Cyanide toxicity will lead to breathing problems and death.

Grapes & raisins

Apart from the cyanide containing seeds / pips, grapes and raisins also contains an unknown toxin, which can lead to sudden kidney failure. Although not all dogs will be affected, it is better to stay away from feeding grapes and raisins to your dog.

Human pain killers (Panado & Disprin)

In too high dosages Panado (paracetamol) and Disprin (asperin) can cause kidney failure, stomach bleeding and bleeding problems. Although more prominent in cats – where these pain killers can even be lethal, high doses in dogs can also lead to serious problems.

Macadamia nuts

Apart from the shells, the Macadamia nut fruit have also been shown to be poisonous to dogs. Ingestion can lead to weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and an increased in body temperature.

Old bread

Bread per se, although not recommended, is not toxic to dogs. Old mouldy bread on the other hand contains fungi that can produce enough toxins to cause liver failure. Poisoned dogs will usually bleed internally and start to vomit and pass blood. Rather reserve old bread for the rubbish bin.

Onions & garlic

Onions and Garlic, in addition to causing stomach and gut irritation, it can also lead to red blood cell damage. Although higher levels are needed in cats, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Signs of poisoning will usually occur a few days after ingestion.

Potatoes (raw & green)

Green and raw potatoes are toxic to dogs and humans alike. Symptoms of potato toxicity in dogs include nausea, vomiting, seizures and heart irregularities.


The leaves and stems of Rhubarb depletes the Calcium levels in our dogs’ bodies. This can result in renal failure, bone deformities and other medical problems.


Salt (Sodium Chloride) toxicity is dangerous in dogs. Remember that salt is is used to increase the taste of food. A toxic dose of slat may be very little in dogs. Salt water is also one of the worst things you can use to stimulate vomition in a poisoned dog. High salt levels in dogs will lead to blood pressure and heart abnormalities.

Sugar free sweeteners, chewing gum & breath mints

Some artificial sweeteners contain Xylatol. In the long term, Xylatox toxicity can cause permanent liver damage in dogs. In the short term it will stimulate blood insulin release which can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Tea & coffee

One of the main reasons we drink these is for their stimulating effect. The reason for this is that it contains methylxanthines, which passes the brain barrier and activates certain stimulatory parts of the brain. In dogs, relatively more methylxanthines will reach the brain, having a much greater stimulating effect. This can lead to hyperexcitability, agitation, pacing, seizures and even death! This is also the reason why chocolate “isn’t good for dogs”.

Vitamin oils / capsules

These include Cod liver oil, Castor Oil, deep fish oils and many other. The vitamins in these (mainly Vit. A & D) are fat soluble and in excess can accumulate in toxic amounts in a dog’s liver. It will also lead to excessive Calcium absorption from their food which will lead to abnormal bone formation. Rather stick to vitamins recommended by your family veterinarian.


With the 15 common human foods that can be poisonous to dogs, we emphasise the word poisonous. This list does not contain non-poisonous, but dangerous foods for your dog. These include bones, corn on the cob, and many, many more. While some owners start to see dogs as their children, one should still refrain from feeding any human food. Although we want the best from them, feeding a dog a premium dog food is still the best we can do.

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