Human Foods That Are Bad for Dogs

Dogs have an appreciation for all things edible. While it makes feeding them a balanced diet easy, there are a few human foods that are can be harmful or toxic to them. Fortunately, most human foods can also be eaten by dogs so learning to avoid a few or keeping them out of reach isn’t difficult.

Toxic Foods


Even though humans consume chocolate in excess quantities with weight gain as the only result, it can cause illness in dogs. A compound called theobromine has been documented as causing vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, heart problems, and seizures. It’s not certain what quantity of the compound is harmful so the best advice is for your dog to abstain entirely from anything with cacao.


Any grape variety or derivative including raisins, currants, jams, jellies, and juices should be kept far away from your canine companion. Grapes have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs with the onset of symptoms seen from a couple to 24 hours after ingestion. The information on grape toxicity is spotty so pet guardians are asked to err on the side of caution and keep this sweet vine fruit away from dogs.


This green fruit is a subject of controversy. While the skin and pit are most likely toxic to dogs, the flesh of the avocado is thought to be innocuous. The flesh contains a compound called persin and some pet experts warn vehemently against feeding it to dogs. However, just as many experts say that the flesh is not harmful to dogs including the Pet Poison Helpline. In any case, perhaps this fruit should be avoided all together. There are plenty of other healthy and nutritious foods that can be used in place of the avocado such as flax and olive oils.

Onion and Garlic Family

Your dog may like foods spiced up with these potent plants but his red blood cells won’t. These bulbs are said to cause anemia in dogs. Onions and garlic might be harmless in small amounts but the exact quantity at which they start causing harm is unknown. Thus, it is best to keep them out of your dog’s diet.

Non-Toxic Foods That Should Be Avoided

Greasy, fatty foods should never be given to your dog. Even though he unceasingly begs for those strips of bacon, do not give in to his demands. Many of these processed foods, in addition to being fatty, are high in cholesterol, salt, and refined sugar.

Don’t add sugar and salt to your dog’s diet. He gets enough sodium from his regular dog food. There is plenty of sodium that occurs naturally in plants so there is no need to worry about an electrolyte deficiency. Americans have jumped on a diet trend that eradicates any white foods (rice, flour, sugar, salt, for example) from their diets but this rule should also be extended to dogs.

Dairy is up for debate as many believe that the lactose is harmful to a dog’s digestive system. Conversely, some swear that yogurt is very healthy for them, citing the active cultures as improving their digestion. If you choose to feed your dog dairy, keep away from cheeses, butter, and milk. Stick to plain, nonfat yogurts and cottage cheese.

So…Is It Good for My Dog?

Always check with several sources before feeding your dog a human food that wasn’t listed in this article. Consult your vet but get a second and third opinion from online resources. You’ll find that often there are two or three differing opinions for the same food making it impossible to get a definitive answer. Just like humans, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer; each dog and dog breed is wildly dissimilar. If you would like more information on the human foods that might be healthy for your dog, read Human Foods That Are Good for Dogs.

By Gabrielle Allemeier


References: 10 Foods That Are Bad for Dogs

About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.