Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

Some of your favorite foods are not so good for your canine friend, and can make him very sick. If your dog likes to keep you company when you cook, make sure he never gets to sample any of these foods.


The dangerous ingredient in chocolate is theobromine. It is found in high levels in cooking chocolate and dark chocolate but milk chocolate also contains enough to be harmful to dogs. Approximately 100g of baking chocolate can be enough to seriously affect a 20lb dog.

The symptoms of chocolate toxicity will usually appear within 6 hours of your dog eating it. He will develop vomiting and diarrhea, and he may appear edgy and hyperactive. If he isn't treated, he will then develop muscle twitching, seizures and lapse into a coma from which he may not wake up.

Grapes and Raisins

Scientists haven't yet identified the ingredient in grapes that makes dogs seriously ill, but they know what it does. Dogs that are affected by eating grapes or raisins suffer damage to the tiny tubules in their kidneys, resulting in kidney failure and often death.

The early signs of kidney failure are vomiting and lethargy, progressing to increased thirst and urination. These signs become noticeable as soon as a few hours after the grapes are eaten. When kidney failure has developed, the prognosis for recovery is extremely guarded.

Some dogs enjoy grapes and will show no signs of ill health after eating a few. Other dogs become seriously ill after eating only a handful of them. Nobody knows why this happens. Because of this, it's safer not to let your dog eat any grapes or raisins at all.

Onions and Garlic

Most dogs will have eaten some onion and garlic in leftovers that are mixed with their kibble. Some will be given garlic tablets in the hope that they will be less bothered by fleas. Both onion and garlic are harmful to dogs. The dangerous ingredient in them is thiosulphate, and it destroys red blood cells. The result is your dog will suffer from hemolytic anemia, with lethargy, pale gums and red urine.

Is it okay to give your dog just a little garlic or onion? Veterinary toxicologists now believe that any amount of these ingredients will damage red blood cells, but you won't see any symptoms until the number of damaged cells affects the oxygen levels in his blood.

Treatment of Poisoning

If you suspect your dog has eaten food that maymake him sick, then contact your vet straight away. The sooner he is treated, the quicker he is likely to recover. He can be given drugs that will make him vomit, and that will stop him absorbing any more poison into his system. Activated charcoal can also slow absorption. This treatment needs to be started within a few hours of him eating the dangerous food, otherwise it may not have any effect.

Your dog may also need supportive treatment such as intravenous fluids to help his body metabolize and excrete the poison.

If you are eating foods that are harmful to your dog, keep them out of his reach. Prevention of poisoning is always better than cure.