10 Most Toxic Human Food For Dogs

Chocolate and Cocoa – contains a chemical called theobromide that is toxic to dogs and affects the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. Pure baking chocolate or very dark chocolate is most toxic, while more diluted forms, such as milk chocolate or cocoa butter require much more to be injested to cause harm. A 20 pound (9 kg) dog can be poisoned after consuming about 2 ounces (56 grams) of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces (566 grams) of milk chocolate to cause serious harm. Note: some dogs may be more sensitive and react with lesser amounts than the quantities stated above.

Symptoms: hyperactivity, excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rate, “drunken” walking, hyperthermia and coma.

Possible Outcomes: Damage to heart, lungs, kidney organs, and coma or death.


Xylitol – is a sugar-free sweetener most often found in sugarless chewing gum and candy. It can also be found in toothpaste, baked goods and some diet foods. For dogs it is toxic as it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure. As few as 2 pieces of gum can cause hypoglycemia in a 20 pound (9 kg) dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage. Signs of toxicity can occur within 30 to 60 minutes.

Symptoms: vomiting, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.

Possible Outcomes: hypoglycemia, liver failure, permanent liver damage, death.


Caffeine (coffee, tea) and caffeinated items (such as energy drinks) – similar to the toxic chemical theobromide found in chocolate, caffeine can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. A lethal dose is considered to be around 70 mg per 1 lb body weight (150 mg / kg body weight). As an example, instant coffee contains over 60 mg caffeine per teaspoon. So, the lethal dose of caffeine for a 15 lb (6.8 kg) dog would be 17 teaspoons of instant coffee. Stronger coffees such as Turkish coffee, percolated coffees, and energy drinks would take much less to become toxic for a dog.

Symptoms: hyperactivity, excitement, restlessness, and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, rapid heart rate, drunken walking, muscle tremors and convulsions.

Possible Outcomes: Damage to heart, lungs, kidney organs, heart attack, coma or death.


Alcohol – contains ethanol, a seriously toxic chemical compound to dogs that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression. Only small amounts of ethanol can cause toxic effects. Ethanol is rapidly absorbed into the dog’s system, so it is important to seek medical attention quickly. Inducing vomiting usually will not help.

Symptoms: sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia.

Possible Outcomes: intoxication, liver failure, coma, seizures and death.


Grapes and Raisins – Eating as few as 4 to 5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound (9 kg) dog, though the exact toxic dose will vary between dogs. Signs of toxicity occur within 24 hours and can start within few hours.

Symptoms: vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production, weakness and “drunken” walking.

Possible Outcomes: Can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possibly resulting in death.

The toxic ingredient in grapes is a mystery.


Raw Yeast/Uncooked Yeast Dough – when uncooked it produces ethanol, like alcohol.

Symptoms: sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia.

Possible Outcomes: liver failure, coma, seizures and death.


Avocados (entire plant: leaves, fruit, seeds and bark) – contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, and also trigger difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart, or pancreatitis. It is under debate as to whether or not the actual meat and oils are poisonous to dogs, with no scientific conclusions at this time. Note: avocado meat and oils are used in some dog products and foods.

Symptoms: problems breathing (loss of breath, wheezing), vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, fluid accumulation in the dog heart and chest area.

Possible Outcomes: pancreatitis, oxygen deprivation leading to death.


Macadamia Nuts – generally consumption will not be fatal, but can cause your dog to become extremely ill. The toxin in the nut is not known. Ingestion of just a handful of nuts can cause adverse effects. As few as six macadamia nuts can trigger locomotory difficulties in dogs. Toxicity will typically evince within 6 to 24 hours.

Symptoms: vomiting, weakness, depression, lack of energy, drunken walking, joint/muscle pain, and joint swelling, tremors, ataxia, hyperthermia, abdominal pain.

Possible Outcomes: Severely sick. May require hospitalization.


Mushrooms (wild / poisonous) – some mushrooms, (not all!) can contain toxins are very dangerous for dogs, and in the worst cases, can result in the death.

Common white mushrooms appear to be safe for dogs to eat and are not considered dangerous foods for dogs. However, wild mushrooms are often poisonous.

The majority of fatal cases of poisoning are by the death cap mushroom (Amanita Phalloides), which are thankfully not used in cooking. It is best to consider all wild mushrooms potentially toxic to dogs.

Symptoms vary dependent on mushroom. They may include: nervous system abnormalities, anxiety, restlessness, slow heart beat, wheezing, urination, salivation, diarrhea, seizure, coma, vomiting.

For death cap mushrooms symptoms include: profuse bloody diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, fever, and a rapid heart beat which lasts for approximately 24 hours. The next phase results in death within 3 to 7 days.

Possible Outcomes: organ failures (including kidneys, liver, brain), seizure, coma, vomiting, and death.


Tree nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, pistachios, and Brazil nuts – are often contaminated with very low levels of the poison Aflatoxin, which comes from the Aspergillus mold. Although levels are safe for humans, dogs are acutely sensitive to this poison, and even low levels of Aflatoxin can be extremely toxic and lead to complications such as gastroenteritis.

Other varieties of nuts such as walnuts can cause various other dog illnesses and dog poisoning. Nuts also have a high phosphorus content which causes the formation of bladder stones in dogs.

Peanut butter (non-salted) appears to be non-toxic to dogs, although peanuts themselves may have ill-effects on your dog.

Symptoms of Aflatoxin poisoning include: loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, orange-colored urine and jaundice, liver failure, blood-tinged vomit and bloody or blackened stools.

Possible Outcomes: Aflatoxin causes severe hepatocellular necrosis (acute liver failure) within 72 hours.