Shake Paws

— the home of dogs —

Human foods that are poisonous or dangerous to dogs

Think long and hard before you scrape leftover human food from your plate into your dog’s bowl. At best you could be feeding him a mild poison, at worst, killing him!

Onions are poisonous to dogs All onions are poisonous to dogs. Photo: Flickr/Dollen, Attribution-No-Derivs 2.0

The sight of someone scraping their Sunday leftovers into their dog’s bowl fills us with horror. Sunday leftovers, or any other human food leftovers for that matter, can contain all sorts of foods that are dangerous, even poisonous to dogs. Onions and mushrooms are just a couple of examples.

If you suspect your dog has ingested any of the following foods, contact your vet and, ideally, let them know roughly how much your dog has taken in.

Food Symptoms and outcomes Active substance(s)
Alcohol Vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, breathing difficulties, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, death. Alcohol
Avocado, guacamole Vomiting and diarrhoea. Persin
Chocolate, coffee, caffeine Vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, thirst, hyperactivity, abnormal heart beat, tremors, seizures, death. Methylxanthines
Corn on the cob Intestinal blockage.
Eggs, raw Skin and coat problems. Salmonella, E. Coli, Avidin
Grapes and raisins Kidney failure. Unknown
Macadamia nuts Weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia.
Meat, undercooked and raw Sickness. Salmonella, E. Coli
Meat, bones Choking.
Milk Diarrhoea. Lactase
Onions, garlic, chives Gastrointestinal irritation
Salt Excessive thirst and urination, sodium ion poisoning.
Xylitol A sweetener found in chewing gum, sweets, baked products and toothpastes. Can cause insulin release, which can lead to liver failure. Signs include vomiting, lethargy and a lack of coordination, progressing to lethargy and seizures. Xylitol
Yeast dough Can rise and cause gas to accumulate in the digestive system

Source: ASPCA, Petalia, Riley’s Place

There a number of other foods to be wary of, including:

  • Baby foods – often contain onion powder.
  • Broccoli, large amounts.
  • Citrus oil.
  • Chicken, turkey bones.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Nutmeg.
  • Pips/seeds in apples, pears, plums, peaches.
  • Potato peelings, raw potatoes.
  • Rhubarb leaves.
  • Tomato leaves and stems.
  • Cooked turkey skin.
  • Walnuts.

Shake Paws has a number of informative food-related posters, which are available as free downloads.

So what human foods are safe for dogs?

If you are interested in finding out about safe human foods for your dog, we can heartily recommend Dinner for dogs by Henrietta Morrison of Lily’s Kitchen, which contains 50 recipes for a happy, healthy dog. Dinner for Dogs is available from, priced at $11.67/£8.40.

Another book we would recommend is Dr Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats by Beth Taylor, which provides a rotation plan and recipes for a meat-based diet that includes appropriate levels of vegetables, fruits and supplements. The paperback version of the book costs $18.53 and is available from

Website I Love Dogs has a list of 39 human foods that are safe for dogs to eat.