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Human Foods That Are Bad For Dogs

Updated on July 13, 2013

Some table scraps can be harmful

We've all succumbed to the sad-eyed plea for table scraps from our furry, four-legged friends. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the foods you share with your dog can't harm him. Here are some of the most well-known dog-toxic foods, as well as some you may not have heard about.

Chocolate can cause death in dogs

Chocolate is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in dogs. It can be found everywhere - in the house, in the car, a child in the household might leave it sitting out; and discarded candy bars can be found lying around public spaces, too, just waiting to be snatched up on your walk in the park.

Dark chocolate is the most dangerous for dogs, because the theobromine (a dog-toxic chemical component) is more concentrated. This chemical isn't as harmful to humans, because our bodies metabolize it more quickly. In dogs, though, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea; and at the more severe side of the spectrum, can lead to seizures, respiratory failure, heart attack and/or coma.

Grapes and raisins harm a dog's kidneys

If the dog appears to have only eaten a few grapes, it is possible that nothing bad will happen; watch for unusual behavior if you suspect it was a small amount. If a large quantity is ingested, it can be lethal. It is best to induce vomiting if the ingestion is discovered within two hours, as kidney failure can occur within 48 hours of your dog having eaten the grapes. If possible, take the dog to the vet immediately, and let the doctor provide appropriate care for him.


Beer hops are toxic to dogs

When a dog ingests spent hops from home beer brewing, an emergency vet visit is required. This can cause malignant hyperthermia, which involves a rapidly increasing body temperature, rapid heart rate and painful muscle contractions. If you brew at home, be very careful with the disposal of your hops.

Beer isn't good for dogs, either, even though many dog owners let them drink it.

Uncooked yeast dough

When a dog eats uncooked yeast dough, the warmth inside her stomach causes the rising process of the dough to happen rapidly. This can be very dangerous if the dough expands beyond the capacity of her internal organs. Not only this, but the yeast in the dough gets converted to alcohol inside the dog's body, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.


Beware of cooked bones for dogs

It is generally pretty safe to give your dog raw marrow bones - these are full of nutrients and can be acquired inexpensively at the butcher's. Ask for them to be cut at a length where there won't be a choking risk and make sure to supervise your dog with her marrow bone, just in case.

However, if you are going to give your dogs meat scraps at the end of a meal, scrape it off the bone, and just give him the meat. Dogs tend to swallow chicken bones whole, which is a choking hazard and poses a risk of damage to internal organs; other cooked bones tend to splinter, which is unsafe as well.

Lesser-know foods that are toxic to dogs

  • Caffeinated foods and beverages
  • Fatty table scraps - can lead to pancreatitis
  • Foods sweetened with Xylitol
  • Fruit pits and seeds - these contain cyanide
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy foods - just as harmful to dogs as to humans. Keep a dog-proof lid on the trash can
  • Onions and garlic

So what table scraps are safe for dogs?

  • Apples, cored and with no seeds
  • Cooked eggs
  • Carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Olive or flax oil - a teaspoon with dinner will make her coat shine
  • Parsley - sprinkled in with food, freshens breath
  • Peanut butter - as a special treat
  • Popcorn, without butter or salt
  • Poultry, beef, pork, or smaller amounts of salmon (all cooked, without bones)
  • Pumpkin and other squash
  • Rice - white or brown, plain or cooked with chicken broth
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yogurt (without sweeteners)

It is entirely possible to feed your dog without purchasing bagged dog food. Just do a bit of research, first, to make sure you are providing the correct nutrients to keep her healthy.

Copyright ©2013 FindWholeness


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    • Solaras profile image

      Barbara Fitzgerald 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Good Hub on a favorite topic! Thumbs up!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      7 years ago from Lincolnshire, England


      A very useful article,which hopefully will save some pets from owner ignorance.Thumbs Up!

      Romeo's Quill

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This note is for anoocre8ion, who asked about how to make home-cooked dog food. You can look on my profile page for the link to my hub about how (and why) to do just that. I'm not allowed to put the link here, but I hope you will read it if you're interested in making healthy food for your dog(s). I cook for my dog once a week, and she's thriving on it.

      Best wishes,


    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Michelle Dee 

      7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Very useful and helpful hub. It's seems natural food and home cooked meals for pets are healthier option than some commercial dog foods. If I had a pet I would rather find the time to cook their food. By the way your Layla is such a cutie pie and she looks happy. What a kissable little face :-). Thanks for sharing, voted up.

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      I wanted to point out that the yellow lab in the pics above is my sweetie, Layla. :)

    • Natashalh profile image


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      A coworker with dogs recently told me all about how he gives cooked bones to them. I was like nonono!!! He wouldn't believe me that they're bad for pups =(

      It's sad that a lot of people give dogs things because they're trying to give a treat when the food is actually harmful!

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you! Yep, the safe foods come in handy, especially if your dog has the runs and can't tolerate dog food for a few days. Feeding them white rice cooked in chicken broth, just a little at a time until diarrhea passes, really helps a lot.

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Welcome to Hub Pages and congrats on your nomination. I already knew about the dangerous foods you mention. What's new to me is the list of safe foods. I like to minimize what I print, but I'm printing that list!

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Excellent advice, so many people don't know or understand the dangers of foods for animals. They think that because they can eat it their pets can as well. Thanks sharing this one :)

    • anoocre8ion profile image


      7 years ago from Texas

      Good job. So, when are you going to tell us how to feed a dog on home made food?

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Great list of safe table scraps! Congratulations on your nomination.

    • alphagirl profile image

      Mae Williams 

      7 years ago from USA

      I never give my dog human food. The only exception is peanutbutter with the heartworm pill. I only give dog treats. There is so many great dog treats out there. Thanks for sharing.

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Jaye, I know where you are coming from. My old roommate's 6-year-old was always leaving uneaten chocolate poptarts and bags of M&M's and cookies laying around, and their tiny little Maltese was eating that stuff on a regular basis. I can't believe he never got seriously ill.

      And sugarless gum - I can't even chew that stuff without a stomachache. Blech!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I keep a list like this posted to the side of my frig that reads, "DO NOT FEED ANYTHING ON THIS LIST TO THE DOG. IT'S POISON!" I don't buy chocolate, grapes, Macadamia nuts, etc. and don't allow anyone else to bring them into my home. Paranoid? Maybe, but it's so easy for grand-kids to drop things on the floor, and my dog can swoop up something in a flash! It isn't worth chancing.

      One thing that makes me angry is manufacturers advertising "green", "healthy" toothpaste without chemical additives when it contains either xylitol (highly toxic to dogs) or sorbitol (not good for humans or animals.) I don't want an ingredient in my house that might kill my dog. Even if the toothpaste normally resides inside the medicine cabinet, the aforesaid great-grandchildren might leave it out where it could then fall on the floor, a tragedy waiting to happen.

      Toothpaste is like a land mine. I saw one so-called "healthy" toothpaste for children listed online with a huge warning about what to do if a child swallowed this toothpaste. WHAT CHILD DOESN'T SWALLOW TOOTHPASTE??? It tastes good, and they're kids! I've managed to find one toothpaste, made in Australia, that leaves out toxic chemicals, as well as xylitol and sorbitol, and I've ordered it from Green Polka Dot Box. Sugarless gum also contains xylitol, so it's banned from my home, too. I don't chew gum, but make certain that other people don't leave any of the stuff lying around.

      Other people might not be as paranoid as I am, but dogs are much like human toddlers--you have to take care of them because they don't understand what is dangerous and will eat things that might prove fatal. When we take responsibility for a dog, it should be a commitment to keep that pet safe.

      Voted Up++


      P.S. Sorry I got carried away in my comment, but this is an important topic for me.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie Marie 

      7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks for sharing this info. I've never had a dog, but I am guilty of feeding my boyfriend's dog table food here and there. I have to win over the dog somehow! ;-) I will keep in mind what I should and should not feed him.

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks, Stephanie! I like your hubs, too. My boyfriend and I have been scheming about how we're going to leave it all behind and live in a camper on the road. :) I've pinned a couple of your articles for reference.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages! When our pets beg of human food, it's all too easy to give in to them. Your hub is a great reminder that not all human food is good for dogs...we do need to be careful about what we feed them! Voted up and shared!

      Welcome to HubPages! I look forward to reading your future hubs!

    • findwholeness profile imageAUTHOR

      Kat McAdams 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is excellent information for anyone who loves dogs. I had heard of the issue with chocolate, but some of the others you mention are new to me. Grapes? Raisins? I had no idea!

      Voted up and up!


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