Dog Advice

Nine Foods to Never Feed Your Dog

April 24, 2016 2

Do what mom says

Growing up, we had a dog named Jessie. She was a black and white cock-a-poo and no matter how hard she tried, there was always one consistent rule in our house: don’t feed the dog from the table. My mom’s reasoning is that once Jessie learned she could get food from the table, she would always try to repeat that behaviour in hopes of getting the same reward.  

Having two big dogs of my own now, I follow the same logic. There might be times that I give them food I can’t finish, (sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) but I won’t feed them from my plate or when I’m eating. I make them work for everything they get. A simple “sit” or “down” is enough, but I’ll write more on that in another post. 
golden retriever treats

Is feeding people food okay?

It can be alright to give your dog some of your food, some of the time. If you’re thinking of switching them to a whole-food diet from kibble, make sure that you do it slowly. Introduce some lean meat and vegetables over a week, by changing ratios of that food to kibble. 

There’s a lot of ways you can start to incorporate real food into your dog’s diet, but it’s probably best to talk to your veterinarian first. Dogs of different ages and types have different nutritional requirements. Your vet will know what’s best for your dog and be able to recommend some things to try. 

Foods to never feed your dog

Another reason I don’t feed my dogs my food very often, is that some of it just isn’t good for them. Many foods that are delicious and good for us, could be poisonous to our canine companions. Here’s a list of 9 foods to avoid feeding your dogs:

  • Alcohol — According to Dogster, there are a few reasons that dogs shouldn’t have alcohol. Number one, their bodies just can’t handle the alcohol. Another obvious reason is that the principle ingredients are bad for dogs and dogs are much smaller than humans (in most cases). This means they can become intoxicated or poisoned much quicker than we can.

  • Chocolate, Coffee/Caffeine — Chocolate and caffeine are bad for dogs and most people already know that. While it’s rare to cause death in canines, petinsurance.com warns eating chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Different types of chocolate are more toxic with the general rule being the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

  • Citrus — That sour taste we love so much isn’t good for our dogs. Lemons, limes, oranges and especially grapefruits are very toxic for our dogs. Reactions can be anywhere from lethargy, depression, diarrhea, vomiting, photo-sensitivity, drooling, trembling and sensitivity to light. Fidosavvy.com adds that the peel, pith and seeds are the most dangerous parts of the fruit.
    dog eating watermelon

  • Grapes & Raisins — Veterinarians aren’t quite sure why, but grapes and raisins can be very poisonous to dogs. According to Woofipedia poisoning from grapes doesn’t affect all dogs, but when it does it can lead to kidney failure and as little as one grape per pound of dog is enough to cause an issue. 

  • Macadamia Nuts — Although not considered fatal, The Merck Veterinary Manual warns that macadamia nuts can cause your dog to get quite sick. They found that dogs who were given macadamia nuts would develop weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, and/or hyperthermia within 12 hours of ingestion. All of the dogs were better within 48 hours without treatment. 

  • Milk & DairyDogFoodAdvisor says milk and dairy products won’t affect some dogs at all and others will experience accute intestinal distress (gas, diarrhea or vomiting). I give my dogs cheese once in a while and I haven’t noticed anything wrong them. They’re no more gassy than usual anyway. 

  • Onions/Garlic/Chives (Allium Species Plants) — Plants belonging to this group are popular in a lot of things that we cook, but are very toxic to dogs. Petinsurance.com says it can take up to two to four days for the symptoms to appear and these symptoms can include: breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.


  • Salt & Salty Snack FoodCan I Give My Dog…? says it’s best to avoid giving dogs salty snacks like chips or pretzels. Excess salt in our furry friends can cause serious dehydration. They continue on to say that a few chips won’t hurt your dog, just make sure there’s lots of water around. Unless your dog has a serious illness, they should be fine. 

  • Xylitol — Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that’s widely used as a sugar substitute. Naturally, it’s found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce and some varieties of trees. While this popular sweet substitute is safe for humans, it’s extremely toxic for dogs. Dogs who ingest even a small amount can experience hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure or even death. More information can be found on the VCA Animal Hospitals website

No matter how much your dog begs, or looks hungry, it’s probably best to avoid feeding them people food unless you know it’s safe for them. It’s not worth risking anything from a sickness to death. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to give your dog food you can make at home, try out our Peanut Butter Dog Cookie Recipes. They incorporate banana, pumpkin and bacon into three separate recipes that your dog is sure to love. 

What are you rules regarding feeding dogs in your house? Do you share scraps with them or do you go all the way and feel them a natural diet? Share your thoughts on dogs and people food in the comments below. 



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Greg Lehman
Founder @ TuxedoMutt
Greg Lehman is a hippie in a business suit. He's also a positive based dog trainer and freelance writer. When he's not working, you'll find him somewhere in nature with his two dogs Casey and Dakota or taking a nap. Who doesn't love naps?

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  • […] Nine Foods to Never Feed Your Dog Dog Advice […]

  • […] A study of 9,000 pets by UK pet insurer Animal Friends found that dogs have shown an 850% increase in diabetes diagnosis since 2011. One of the main reasons for this rise in diabetes was weight gain and that was caused, in part, by owners feeding their pets human food.  […]