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8 foods bad for dogs

Avoid these foods to keep your dog happy and healthy

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
girl feeding dog food from the table

It's hard to resist your pooch's big pleading eyes when they beg for a snack or morsel from your dinner plate, but take heed: Man’s best friend should not share your meal plan. Humans can easily digest food that would make your puppy sick. And in worst-case scenarios, the wrong food can be fatal to your tail-wagging friend. Beware of these eight treats never to feed your dog.

pieces of chocolate

Chocolate

Yes, you've probably heard this one before. Chocolate is bad for dogs. The cacao plant (from which chocolate is made) contains the alkaloid theobromine. This bitter organic compound is harmless to humans but can cause vomiting, seizures and even death in dogs. You should never give your dog a piece of chocolate — no matter how much they beg.

bowl of popcorn

Salty foods

Potato chips, salty pretzels and other salt-laden nibbles can cause sodium ion poisoning in your pooch. Some of the symptoms of sodium ion poisoning include seizures, excessive urination, a rise in body temperature and diarrhea. No matter how much your dog salivates when you pop open a can of Pringles or bag of popcorn, resist the urge to share salty snacks with your couch companion.

heap of grated mozzarella cheese

Dairy

Milk and cheese can be hit and miss with canines. Many dogs — like their human counterparts — are lactose intolerant. They can suffer from the same symptoms people do (big intestinal problems) when they consume too much dairy. If your dog seems fine after a bit of milk or cheese, your pup is probably safe when it comes to these foods. Still, keep the dairy-based treats to a minimum — better to err on the side of caution here.

grapes and raisins

Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts

Some foods just don't agree with your dog's digestive system, and scientists aren't exactly sure why. Grapes and raisins (and trail mixes with these items tossed in) can harm your pet’s kidney, leading to vomiting and possibly fatal renal failure. Macadamia nuts make your pup extremely weak and sick, inducing vomiting, chills and seizures. So save the grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts for yourself.

Feeding your dog the right food

Finding the right dog food can be tough. We’re here to make it easier. Read up-to-date customer reviews and expert opinions on our dog food guide, or explore our top three picks below.

LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Fresh Food DietNomNomNow Visit website
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Dry Food DietCanidae Pet FoodsRead Reviews
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Novel Protein DietTaste of the WildRead Reviews
garlic on a chopping board

Garlic, leeks, shallots and onions

Garlic, leeks, shallots and onions are part of the genus Allium, which, when raw and fed to dogs, can harm their red blood cells. Garlic and onions, when consumed in large quantities, can cause anemic reactions (fatigue, loss of appetite) in your pooch, which is not what any responsible animal owner wants.

bacon avocado and egg breakfast

Bacon and avocados (fatty foods)

Mmmm ... bacon. Fatty foods, like breakfast favorite bacon, have an aromatic allure but can cause pancreatitis in your fluffy pal. Avocados also contain a lot of fat that isn't good for your dog. Even worse, the pit — if swallowed — can lead to a dangerous blockage in your pet's digestive tract.

a cup of artificial sweetener packets

Sugar-free sweets

Sugar-free sweets like candy and gum often contain the sugar substitute xylitol. Too much xylitol messes with your dog’s liver and pancreas, leading to an insulin dump from the pancreas. This excessive insulin can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and create serious health consequences. You might be on a diet, but keep those sugar-free sweets away from Fido.

raw meats

Raw meat and eggs

Raw and uncooked foods like meat and eggs have the potential to give humans and dogs food poisoning. If you don't want to see your pet suffer through twin eruptions of vomiting and diarrhea, refrain from slipping raw meat or uncooked eggs to your dog while you're cooking and make sure these foods are never left where your dog can reach.

These eye-opening examples should make you more cautious about the human food you feed your dog. The wrong treat, while well-intentioned, can lead to serious canine health issues. Take time to research the best dog foods and treats available for your pet to ensure your furry companion enjoys a healthy diet and happy life.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.