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Harmful Substances and 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 are fine in moderation, others should be avoided entirely. Harmful foods for dogs include:

Certain fruits and vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables are fine for dogs to eat in small quantities, but can pose a choking hazard if they're not cut into small pieces and fed under supervision. However, the following foods should be avoided, and can be very toxic, even in small amounts:

  • Raisins.
  • Sultanas.
  • Grapes.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Some kinds of wild mushrooms.

Other 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.

Other potentially harmful foods for dogs

  • Macadamia nuts.
  • Walnuts.
  • Chocolate.
  • Coffee.
  • Tea.
  • Alcohol.
  • Xylitol – often found in certain types of peanut butter and chewing gum.
  • Bread dough.

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.

Poisonous plants for dogs

The following is a list of poisonous plants for dogs, so keep a watchful eye on your dog if you have any of them around your home or garden, and consider whether you should remove them.

The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can find more information at The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). Although the VPIS only handles direct enquiries from vets (not pet owners), its website does provide some useful information.

  • Aloe Vera.
  • Apple (seeds).
  • Apricot (pit).
  • Autumn Crocus.
  • Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves).
  • Daffodil.
  • Easter Lily.
  • Elephant Ears.
  • English Ivy, Poison Ivy, Devil's Ivy and other ivies.
  • Foxglove.
  • Geranium.
  • Marijuana.
  • Narcissus.
  • Oleander.
  • Oriental Lily.
  • Peach (wilting leaves and pits).
  • Primrose.
  • Rhododendron.
  • Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem and leaves).
  • Yew.
  • Amaryllis.
  • Azalea.
  • Bird of Paradise.
  • Clematis.
  • Cyclamen.
  • Eucalyptus.
  • Indian Rubber Plant.
  • Lily of the Valley.
  • Mistletoe.
  • Nightshade.
  • Onion.
  • Peace Lily.
  • Poinsettia (low toxicity).
  • Swiss Cheese Plant.
  • Tiger Lily.
  • Weeping Fig.

If you have any concerns that your dog may have ingested poisonous plants, 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.