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7 People Foods That Are Bad for Dogs


There is no shame in finding it hard to resist the big brown eyes of man’s best friend as they sit close, panting, tail wagging in anticipation of a shared morsel of food. We’re only human after-all. But, some people foods are bad for dogs.

It is far too common for loving pet owners to indiscriminately indulge their faithful canine companion, innocently feeding them “people food” from the table. While many of the whole foods we eat are perfectly healthy for our best four-legged friend, it is important to know which foods are toxic.

As a very general rule of thumb, if it is bad for you, then it is bad for your dog. For example, it is common knowledge that we shouldn’t be eating a lot of potato chips, chocolate cake and pizza. Neither should your pet.

To make matters complicated, not all food that is good for you is not good for your dog. In fact, some foods considered healthy for humans to eat are actually toxic for dogs.

For example, it is surprising to many pet lovers to find out that grapes and avocados make the list of foods you should not be feeding your dog. What that means is that responsible pet owners should not assume that foods commonly considered health foods for human beings are not necessarily going to be good for the family pet.

1. Alcohol

Anyone who has ever been intoxicated knows firsthand the evils of alcohol. So, it goes without saying that alcohol should always be off-limits for your dog. Most people recognize this truth and would never give their dog alcohol. Accidental exposure to alcohol through foods that contain it or when a drink is left unattended puts the family dog at risk unintentionally.

If your dog has somehow ingested alcohol, then it is important to immediately contact your veterinarian or a Poison Control Center for advice. Alcohol consumption may cause difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, coma and death in the worst cases. Pet owners who witness these symptoms should take immediate action and consult with a veterinarian instead of waiting to see if the dog’s condition improves.

2. Raisins and Grapes

Raisins and grapes represent excellent examples of foods that are healthy for humans but toxic for dogs. These seemingly healthy fruits cause kidney failure in dogs.

3. Chocolate

It is no secret that dogs love chocolate. If you leave a chocolate wrapper on a side table and leave the room, your dog may chew it up while you are away. The theobromine in chocolate is what makes it so dangerous for your canine friend. If ingested, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, irregular heartbeat and death in the worst cases.

Baking chocolate is by far the most poisonous form of this otherwise delicious human food.

4. Garlic & Onions

While it is doubtful that you would consider feeding your dog garlic or onions purposefully, it is a bit more understandable how it could happen with table scraps. As popular seasoning options, they are often used in sauces or meat dishes that pet owners are likely to give pets as treats from a delicious dinner.

Even onion power is a problem. All forms of garlic and onions can attack the red blood cells of your four-legged friends causing anemia. Symptoms of anemia are vomiting, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and disinterest in food.

5. Caffeine Products

Caffeine poses a serious threat to dogs as a potentially fatal substance if consumed in large quantities. Unfortunately, there is not believed to be an antidote currently. Coffee, tea, cold medicines, some pain killers, colas, Red Bull, and chocolate are all off limits for your dog.

6. Diary Products

I’m sure you have seen cute photos of dogs and ice cream cones – like the featured image above – but dairy products and dogs don’t actually mix. We’ve all heard of lactose intolerance in people, making it difficult for them to metabolize dairy. Well, dogs have the same problem. An insufficient amount of the enzyme lactase can cause diarrhea and digestive problems when dogs drink milk or eat dairy products.

7. Xylitol

This ingredient is a sneaky one that shows up as a sweetener in gum, some peanut butter, baked goods, candy and even toothpaste. If your dog ingests this dangerous substance, it could cause liver failure and death in some cases. Since many pet lovers give their dogs peanut butter, it is important to check ingredients of any peanut butter you buy before giving any to your dog. Many loving pet owners have been shocked to find out that they caused their dog’s death or illness by giving it peanut butter.

Healthy “People Food” You Can Give Your Dog

There is nothing wrong with spoiling your favorite furry sidekick with people food that is healthy for them. Lean, fully cooked meat without bones can be a delicious and healthy complement to your dog’s kibble. Below are some foods you can safely give your pets.

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Brown Rice
  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Cooked Eggs
  • Cinnamon


Responsible pet owners must remember that some “people foods” are bad for dogs. As an important part of the family, our beloved dogs deserve to be protected. By studying the lists above, pet owners can hand out treats without worry.


About Author

Lindsey Harper has always been a pet lover since she got her first puppy as a kid. She is the co-founder of AvidPup, a pet blog where guides and tips are shared so dog lovers can raise their pups healthy and happy.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!