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7 Surprisingly Dangerous Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

July 26, 2017


It’s hard to resist sharing food with a dog, but while some human snacks are safe in small amounts, others are dangerous for dogs to consume.


Plain, air-popped, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn is probably okay in smaller amounts. But how often are people making and enjoying plain, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn?


For dogs, high levels of fat and sodium typically found in popcorn could lead to dehydration in the short term, and obesity in the long term. Hard, un-popped kernels can hurt teeth and gums.

Sugar-Free Gum

Xylitol is a naturally-occurring substance in popular use as a non-sugar sweetener for gum, candy, and other food, and it’s deadly for dogs if ingested. Xylitol causes dogs to develop dangerously low blood glucose. Be careful where these types of products are placed if there’s a dog in the house.

Macadamia Nuts

Nobody’s is quite sure what exactly about macadamia nuts makes them toxic to dogs, but this nut causes vomiting, ataxia (the loss of control over body movements), weakness, and depression.

Macadamia nuts can make dogs extremely ill. Thankfully most dogs recover without treatment. So if dogs accidentally eats macadamia nuts, a full recovery is expected.


Grapes are among the human foods most toxic to dogs. Grapes can lead to kidney failure and even death in some cases. What is most dangerous about grapes and raisins is that not every dog who eats them will get sick, but there is no way to know in advance if it will happen.

Coffee, Tea, And Other Caffeinated Substances


Most people are aware chocolate is toxic to dogs, but caffeine is also one of the most dangerous foods for canines as well.

Caffeine is a very powerful stimulant which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, restlessness and increased heart rates.

Early treatment for dogs that ingest caffeine is key to preventing serious problems, so if a dog has had coffee, tea, or an energy drink, don’t wait for symptoms to start, take the dog to the vet immediately.


The true issue with avocados is the skin and leaves, which contain persin, an oil-soluble toxin that could be dangerous to mammals like dogs. If a dog is sensitive to persin, it may experience respiratory distress, congestion, fluid retention around the heart, and even death.

Avocado is safe if skin and leaves are completely avoided but it might be best to keep avocados out of the home altogether if it is a concern the dog will eat them whole.

Dairy, Including Cheese

This one is a huge surprise: dairy can be very bad for a dog. Cheese is a popular dog training treat, and it’s not one of the most dangerous foods for dogs. Too much cheese can cause constipation or diarrhea in the short term. In the long term, obesity and lasting gastrointestinal issues could develop.


As with many humans and dairy products, some dogs will be more sensitive than others. Check with a vet if there are concerns.

If there are other foods that your dog wants to eat and there are concerns, ask a veterinarian for their expertise.

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