The Most Dangerous Foods for Dogs

Keep these foods away from your pooch.

Dog looking at a stack of doughnuts

Chuck Collier / Getty

A 2-year-old golden retriever named Luna died in Wisconsin after ingesting sugar-free gum. Xylitol, an ingredient in the gum that’s also commonly found in baked goods, toothpaste, and vitamins, caused severe liver damage in Luna, and the dog was put down.

Luna isn’t the first dog to die from ingesting xylitol. As the natural sweetener as grown in popularity, veterinarians have reported more cases of poisonings.

In addition to being found in food items and dental products, xylitol can also be purchased for baking. It’s safe for human consumption, but even small amounts of the substance can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure or death in dogs.

While many dog owners know to keep chocolate out of their canine companions’ reach, dangerous ingredients like xylitol are lesser known.


If you ever suspect that your pet may have ingested something poisonous, call your local vet or the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

Dangerous Foods Poster

That’s why artist Lili Chin—after catching her boyfriend trying to feed grapes to her dog—collaborated with a veterinarian to design the poster below.

The poster outlines some of the most dangerous people foods for dogs, including walnuts, avocados and mushrooms. It doesn’t contain information about how much of each food is toxic to a dog because it can differ from animal to animal.

“Toxicity is not always linear,” writes Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, who helped Chin with the poster. “Sometimes a dog eats a bag of grapes and is fine and other times a dog eats one bite of pork fried rice and dies of pancreatitis. Sometimes only portions of a fruit are toxic and other parts are fine. Sometimes there are at least three variables that must be calculated before you know if a food was ingested at a toxic amount.”

foods dogs shouldn't eat

Lili Chin 

Signs a Dog Has Eaten Toxic Items

Dogs that have eaten something toxic may exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Painful abdomen
  • Seizures
  • Coma

It can also be beneficial to save the ASPCA Animal Poison Control’s number in your phone, so you can call in the event of emergency. The line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.

Why This Matters to Treehugger

At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. The better we understand our dogs, the better we can support and protect their wellbeing. We hope our readers will adopt rescue pets instead of shopping from breeders or pet stores, and will also consider supporting local animal shelters.