For the longest time I knew that chocolate was a human food that was dangerous for dogs. I thought that the list ended there.
But then one day, my daughter finished eating some kale salad and left her dish on the ground. One of our dogs ended up getting to her dish and gobbling up the remnants.
While kale isn’t a toxic human food for dogs (though some veterinarians say avoid feeding it to your dog, since it can cause kidney stones), the currants and onions in that kale salad were. We had no idea how many pieces of onion or currants the dog ate, but we knew that it could have a really bad outcome.
After calling the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and giving our credit card to cover the required $65 fee, we were connected with a specialist who instructed us on how to induce vomiting. I won’t go into the details of how we induced vomiting or what the next 10 minutes in our household were like. However, the instructions worked and we did find at least a half dozen currants and onion pieces.
Discovering dangerous human food for dogs
Afterwards, when I called my veterinarian. She told us that no one knows how much of the dangerous human food a dog needs to eat for it to be fatal. It could be one currant or raisin or grape or 10. But since we had induced vomiting within minutes of the dog ingesting that dangerous food, she felt confident that we caught it before digestion started. Nonetheless, we watched him overnight, and it turned out he was OK.
So, you may be wondering, why am I writing about dangerous foods for dogs? Well, first, I know that a lot of people have adopted dogs this year. It’s the whole reason I wrote my recent blog post on new dog must haves.
The holidays, human food and dogs
Second, with the holidays right around the corner, chances are you’re going to have a lot of food out at your house. And if your dog is a scavenger like mine are, your dog could easily get in trouble like mine did. Even our previous dog Buffy got into trouble when we left Easter baskets unattended for just a few minutes. In no time flat Buffy gobbled up a chocolate bunny, and he was one sick puppy afterwards. One vet trip and $500 later for rehydrating him with IV fluids, Buffy was better.
Third, I wanted to create a checklist for you of human food your dog can’t eat because it’s dangerous. And then I wanted to follow up with a list of human food that is safe for dogs to eat.
Finally, I’ve organized this to address the most common food holidays, listed alphabetically below. Under each holiday I’ve included foods commonly served at those holidays. These are the human food you should keep your dog away from or, for safety’s sake, simply keep off your holiday menu.
I’m doing this because I never want you to have to called the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and then have to make your dog throw up because he ate a dangerous food for dogs. Nor do I want you to have to rush your dog to the veterinarian knowing that he ate something potentially toxic to him, all the time wondering if your pet will pull through.
Note: This information is presented as informational only. You should contact your veterinarian with any questions about your dog’s health. This blog cannot be responsible for any pet injury or illness.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at Christmas
This was a surprise to me–that apple seeds can be a dangerous human food for dogs. In the past I have given my dogs the apple core to chew on, but no more. Making an apple pie this holiday season? The apple itself is fine for your pooch but not the seeds in the core.
Do you put an orange or clementine in Christmas stockings? Well, keep them away from your dog. If your dogs are anything like mine, they run away from the smell of a citrus peel, and that’s a good thing since it is toxic to them. Dogs can eat pieces of orange and other citrus, but it’s likely to upset their stomach so it’s probably not worth it.
Speaking of Christmas stockings, I hope you’ll visit my Etsy store, which includes this bone shaped Christmas stocking and bone shaped pillow for a dog. Both are in a festive Buffalo plaid pattern.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
Caffein is bad for your dog’s heart and could kill him. And to think I would only get mad when my dog Sadie climbed onto my desk to lap up my leftover coffee. Now I know better that it’s a dangerous food, nay, drink for her to enjoy.
Nutmeg and other spices
When adding nutmeg to your eggnog (already a no-no for dogs), keep the nutmeg and other spices in a safe place. Dogs should never have free reign around spices and other cooking pantry essentials–many can make them very sick.
Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts
Most nuts do not fall into the category of dangerous human food for dogs. For example, we know peanuts are fine because peanut butter is fine. Assuming the peanut butter does not include xylitol, a sugar alcohol. Now that is toxic for dogs.
However, certain nuts could kill your pup. That would be macadamia nuts and certain walnuts. Since I’m not 100% sure which kind of walnuts are bad for them, just keep them all away from your dog. So, if you’re placing nuts out for your holiday guests, keep them up high where dogs can’t get them.
Onion and Garlic
Many menus served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day include onions and garlic, both toxic to dogs. They can cause kidney failure. Like those aforementioned currants, my vet told me you don’t know how much onion or garlic could kill your dog. So, don’t risk it.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at Easter
Chocolate causes severe gastrointestinal stress in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also cause “seizures, coma and death,” says Mara Ratnofsky, DVM. Dark chocolate is especially potent. So, keep all chocolate away from your pup.
Many families traditionally serve ham for their Easter meal. You may want to share some with your dog but please don’t. Vets say that fatty meats are never a good idea for a dog’s digestive system. Same with bacon. Sorry, pup.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at Halloween
As mentioned earlier in regards to peanut butter, you want to stay away from xylitol. You most often find xylitol, an artificial sweetener, in sugarless gum, which your children could possibly get in their trick or treat bag.
However, some peanut butter brands have added xylitol. Snopes.com confirms this danger. Since we all know how much dogs like peanut butter, be sure to read the label before giving any to your pup.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at New Year’s Eve
Alcohol, including champagne
Never ever give your dog alcohol or anything with alcohol in it. This includes some sweeteners that use sugar alcohol like xylitol mentioned earlier. Alcohol causes a host of toxicity issues for dogs from diarrhea to difficulty breathing to death. So, while it may look cute on social media to share a drink with your dog, the outcome from doing that will be less than cute.
Passed around hors d’oeurves are great for a party. However, if you’re serving stuff mushrooms, don’t let your dog partake of them. While some mushrooms are not toxic to dogs, many are. So, just don’t risk it.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at Summer Holiday
When it comes to summer holidays and long weekends, I think about Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Independence Day and Labor Day. These usually include a trip to the beach or the lake, and cookouts in the backyard. Some of what you might be cooking up or serving on these long, summer holiday weekends could hurt your pet.
Beer and alcohol
As mentioned above for New Year’s Eve, even though it might look cute to let your dog lick your beer, don’t!
If you like to garnish your salads with chives, keep the dogs away. Also, be aware that chives belong to the same “family” as leeks and shallots, so these could be potentially dangerous foods for dogs to ingest as well.
Fruit with pits
Most fruits with a pit–avocado, cherry, plums, peaches and apricot, to mention a few–are toxic to dogs. In addition, the pit itself is a choking hazard.
So, if you’re making a fruit salad with those pitted fruits, keep it away from your dog. On the other hand if you want to share your fruit salad with your dog, make sure you include safe human fruits for dogs. This includes bananas and watermelon.
On their own meat products are not dangerous to dogs. However, like with humans, the danger comes from undercooked meats.
Also, hold off on throwing your dog a steak or other kind of bone, literally. A bone can splinter and become a choking hazard. In fact, never give your dogs a real bone to chew. Stick with things like Nylabones, which I’d included in my article about new dog essentials.
Dangerous Human Food for Dogs at Thanksgiving
Potatoes are only toxic when they’re raw. Heck, they’re dangerous for us humans to eat, too.
So, if you’re making potatoes or mashed potatoes from scratch, be super careful about where the peels, eyes and ends of the potatoes end up before they get to the trash. If they fall on the floor, get them up fast before Fido gets to them.
If you put raisins, currants or anything in the grape family in your stuffing, keep it away from your dogs. These can all cause kidney damage in a dog.
Rhubarb pie, yum to you, deadly for your dog. This applies to both raw rhubarb (stem and leaves) and the baked pie.
While the turkey should be fine for your dog, just make sure it is fully cooked. Also, don’t give him too much to eat. Remove the skin. Finally, never give your dog a turkey bone. Turkey and chicken bones are choking hazards.
Baking bread from scratch? Don’t let him near the yeast dough while still raw.
The ASPCA explains it best when discussing people food not to give to your pet:
“Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life threatening emergency.”
Checklist of dangerous human food for dogs
To help you get a better handle on the human food that can be dangerous for dogs, I’ve put together this free printable PDF. It’s a checklist of dangerous human food for dogs.
I’m offering it to my blog readers for free. I’ve also uploaded it to my Printables page.
Human food that is safe for dogs
Now that you know what not to feed your dog, here are 15 different human foods that should be safe to feed your dog. Of course, feed them in small quantities, of course. As always check with your veterinarian first before raiding the fridge with your dog.
- Apples (remember, no seeds)
- Bananas (my dogs never like bananas)
- Cheese (small amounts only)
- Chicken (no skin or bones)
- Corn (kernels only, cooked)
- Cucumber (hollow out the seeds first)
- Green beans
- Ground beef (lean, fully cooked, plain)
- Orange pieces (no skin or seeds)
- Pasta (plain)
- Peanut butter (read the ingredients, first, to make sure it does not include xylitol or sugar alcohol)
- Rice (white, boiled)
- Turkey (again, no skin or bones)
- Watermelon (again, no seeds)
I’ve created another free printable checklist for you. This one is on the human foods that are safe for dogs to eat. You can download and print in below. You’ll also find it on my printables page.