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Harmful Substances and Toxic Foods for Dogs

5 min read

There are many common foods that dogs can’t eat and non-food substances, including plants, which are potentially poisonous. Some of these you’ll know, while others might come as a surprise.

Many foods, medicines and plants which are safe for humans, can be toxic to our pets. In fact, some common household items can be life-threatening for dogs.

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide so you can learn about poisonous foods for dogs, which plants to avoid and what chemicals to always keep out of reach of your four-legged friend. Some of the items on this list may surprise you!


What foods can't dogs eat?

We all love to treat our pups to the occasional treat! While some human foods can be offered in moderation, others should be avoided entirely. When it comes to foods dogs can’t eat, many of the most common items in the fridge or cupboard are out of bounds for our pets, including grapes, garlic or onions. 

Although there are also many fruits and vegetables which are fine for dogs to eat in small quantities, these can pose a choking hazard if they're not cut into small pieces and fed under supervision. 

Top toxic foods for dogs

The following foods should be avoided, and can be very toxic, even in small amounts:

Raisins and sultanas

Raisins are highly toxic to dogs and should be kept out of their reach. Some of the most common signs that might point to a toxic reaction are vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy. It’s important to seek medical help immediately as raisins can lead to kidney failure when ingested by dogs, a condition which can be fatal.  


Grapes are toxic to dogs, so you should avoid offering them or their dried version (raisins) to your pet. If you suspect your dog helped themselves to a few grapes, let your vet know straight away so they can provide the vital support needed to get the fruit out of their system. Find out more with our article about dogs and grapes.


Onion poisoning can be fatal to dogs which is why they’re one of the most dangerous foods a canine can come into contact with. They’re often found in many human foods, so make sure you read the label before offering your pet a bite of your meal or snack. Find out more about why dogs can’t eat onions with our easy guide.


Another toxic food to dogs is garlic. This is because it contains a substance that causes damage to the red blood cells when ingested by our canine friends. So, it’s important to avoid feeding it to your dog. If you suspect they helped themselves to food containing garlic, look out for signs of weakness, vomiting or panting and contact the vet straight away. We’re discussing why is garlic toxic for dogs in more detail in our handy article.

Other potentially harmful foods for dogs

Plants that can cause toxicity in dogs when eaten in large quantities include: 

  • Rhubarb (mainly leaves).
  • Potato leaves and stems.
  • Tomato leaves and stems.
  • Apple seeds, Cherry pits, Apricot pits, Peach pits, present a small risk only but can cause obstructions in the digestive system.

Which chemicals are bad for your dog?

There are a range of substances around your home that could harm your dog, so it’s important to know what these are so you can keep your pet away.

If you have any concerns that your dog may have ingested toxic foods or anything else that is potentially harmful, you should always speak with your vet as soon as possible to obtain advice and guidance.

Now you’ve learned all about poisonous foods for dogs, find out what treats are safe with our guide to healthy dog treats for training, next.

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