10 Foods you should never feed your dog

  • by DR Roxanne Jones
10 Foods you should never feed your dog

Ever slip your pooch a treat from the table? We can’t blame you. It’s so hard to resist those big brown eyes, especially when everything smells delicious and your doggy is going nuts for a taste! But did you know that some of these treats could actually harm your pup?

Here are some of the most dangerous human foods for dogs to eat.

10 Dangerous human foods for dogs


This delicious treat for humans contains theobromine and caffeine which, when ingested in large quantities, can be toxic to your dog. Remember that the smaller your dog, the less chocolate is required to cause poisoning. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content tends to be most toxic. Eating chocolate can cause your dog to vomit and/or have diarrhoea, and in more severe cases, toxicity can result in abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.


This sugar substitute is rapidly gaining popularity in South Africa as more people move to sugar-free and low-sugar diets. It’s found in baked goods, diabetic treats and diet food, and while it’s healthy for humans, it can be very dangerous for your dog. If ingested by your pup, it can lead to severely low blood sugar levels, seizures and liver failure. It’s even more dangerous than chocolate.

Onions and garlic (raw or cooked)

The occasional small amount might not cause any problems in your pup, but a large quantity or continuously eating these vegetables can result in poisoning. It’s best to play it safe and ensure your dog doesn’t consume these veggies at all. Poisoning can lead to severe anaemia (due to damage to the red blood cells), the symptoms of which may include pale gums, weakness, rapid breathing and dark urine.

Grapes and raisins

Avoid, avoid, avoid! Although the exact reasons for it are unknown, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure – sometimes within 24 hours of your dog eating them. If your pooch starts to present with symptoms like lethargy or vomiting, take him to the vet immediately, especially if you think these fruits may have been ingested.

Peaches, plums and corn on the cob

The major concern here lies with the pits of peaches and plums, and the cob of the corn. If these are swallowed whole by your pooch, they could become stuck in the stomach or small intestine, which would require emergency surgery to remove. Clinical signs of an obstruction include severe vomiting and pain in the abdomen.


Some dogs are highly allergic to persin, a fungicidal toxin found in avocados. Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting and diarrhoea.

Macadamia nuts

As few as six macadamia nuts can be dangerous to your dog. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis.

Raw egg

Because raw eggs may contain two common bacteria – namely e.coli and salmonella – they can cause food poisoning in your pooch. This may result in severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which may be so serious that your pet could require hospitalisation and a drip. Another rare complication is vitamin B deficiency. This is because a compound called avidin, found in eggs, prevents the absorption of biotin, a vitamin of the B complex. This can lead to problems with your dog’s coat and nails. Eggs can be a great source of nutrition for your dog, but they must be cooked before being given as a treat.


Alcohol has the same effect on dogs as it does on humans – poisoning, drunkenness, and brain and liver damage – but it takes far less to cause harm. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, neurological abnormalities, poor coordination, difficulty breathing, convulsions and comas.


In large quantities, caffeine can be fatal to your pup. Remember, most of our furry friends are much smaller than us, and their systems are much more sensitive to stimulants. Your dogs should definitely not be drinking coffee, caffeinated tea or sipping on your Red Bull, no matter how much he begs! Symptoms of overdose may include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors and seizures.

Help! I think my dog ate something he shouldn’t have. What should I do

If you’ve ever left a sneaky, food-loving dog alone, you’ll know how quickly he can dive into the treat cupboard, nosing out that slab of chocolate you’ve been hiding. If you think your dog has eaten something potentially dangerous, give your vet a call right away. It’s best to keep the phone number of a 24-hour vet on your fridge or in your phone in case of an emergency.

We know it’s hard to say ‘no’, but stay strong and feed your pup only healthy, nutritious treats. It’s best for his wellbeing. You can also check out more of our helpful articles about dog care and nutrition.

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