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In Summary – Toxic food for dogs

What we enjoy on our daily menu is often a huge problem for our four-legged family friends, because not everything that we find tasty is suitable for our dogs and cats.  Sometimes feeding them human treats can be very dangerous. Unfortunately, dangers lurk everywhere, they could be in your own house, on a daily walk or on an excursion. An example being that dogs love cherries, plums, peaches and other fruit. Why? This is because falling fruit tastes sweet. However, large amounts consumed can lead to indigestion. If the kernels/pips in the fruit are also ingested and chewed, there is a risk of hydrocyanic acid poisoning. Fruit kernels contain a hydrocyanic acid-releasing glycoside that can cause neurological disorders.

Hund mit langem Fell

What we enjoy on our daily menu is often a huge problem for our four-legged family friends, because not everything that we find tasty is suitable for our dogs and cats.  Sometimes feeding them human treats can be very dangerous. Unfortunately, dangers lurk everywhere, they could be in your own house, on a daily walk or on an excursion. An example being that dogs love cherries, plums, peaches and other fruit. Why? This is because falling fruit tastes sweet. However, large amounts consumed can lead to indigestion. If the kernels/pips in the fruit are also ingested and chewed, there is a risk of hydrocyanic acid poisoning. Fruit kernels contain a hydrocyanic acid-releasing glycoside that can cause neurological disorders.

In addition to the fruits from your own garden or the fruit found elsewhere, there are other seemingly innocent sources of danger ranging from ordinary foods to luxury foods. Puppies like to try everything, even foul-tasting items such as cigarette butts. A lethal dose would be 5 to 25g of dried tobacco. Even if your dog drinks from puddles containing cigarette butts, there is a risk of fatal poisoning. In the following guide explains which foods dogs should not eat because they can be toxic or even fatal to them.

Dangerous foods found in the home and outdoors

There are many hidden objects and foods that are dangerous lurking within the household, that seem harmless at first glance. Textiles lying around, such as socks, can be swallowed by dogs and lead to intestinal obstruction. The same applies to cables or dog toys made of soft plastic. Toys that are too small, can be life-threatening, because if swallowed there is a risk of suffocation or a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract. Some medications that are helpful for humans are dangerous for dogs. A dog should never be given aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, or diclofenac. Care should also be taken with household cleaners, detergents and disinfectants. Drain and toilet cleaners are particularly toxic too. Disposable wipes for wiping can also contain chemicals that can get into the skin via the paws and then into the body through licking and cleaning of the paws. With regular use of these wipes and contact with the animal, an unhealthy amount of chemicals can accumulate in the dog’s body and cause a slow creeping poisoning.

Zwei Hund laufen einem Menschen hinterher

Please also pay attention to what you throw in the bin and, above all, whether your dog can ransack the bin. A dog should never eat anything that has already been disposed of.

There are dangers lurking in the bin from various foods that people love to eat. Even if it contains only a small amount of chocolate or onion, it can be very harmful to the dog.

In addition to the autumnal fruit already mentioned, there are more hidden food dangers in their own gardens or out on the road, especially in the form of invisible chemicals or pesticides. Pesticides adhere to cereal stalks and vines, among other things. They can be washed out by the rain and collect in puddles. The danger lies in picking up the stalks and grains or drinking from puddles. Small animals that have died from pesticides can also be dangerous if eaten. Fertilizers or pesticides such as mouse or rat poison and ant litter are extremely toxic. Slug pellets are very dangerous because it tastes sweet and dogs like to eat it. The effect of slug pellets reacts even faster than that of rat poison – your dog could be dead within 30 minutes after ingestion. So be careful at home and on the go outdoors and teach your dog not to eat anything that you have not given to them.

Raising awareness to sitters, friends and relatives

It’s the weekend and it’s time to visit your friends and relatives and they have baked some cakes, using xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) and because the dog looks so dear, he gets fed a generous portion. Perhaps it’s even chocolate cake! This could result in a rushed journey to the nearest veterinary clinic. Dog ​​sitters who are so happy to look after the dog can’t resist giving them a special treat, such as a chocolate. It is important to inform family, friends, acquaintances and dog sitters about what is tolerable for dogs. Once you are away from your pet, make sure that the person your pet is with, is aware of what a dog or cat can eat and what can be dangerous. The entrusted animal should also not be left unattended.

Caution must be exercised with these foods

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Chocolate and Cocoa

Chocolate and cocoa-containing foods DO NOT belong in the diet of dogs and cats. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which varies depending on the cocoa content. The lethal dose for a dog is around 100 mg theobromine per kg body weight. This corresponds to approximately 60g milk chocolate or 8g dark chocolate. Incidentally, theobromine is also produced when coffee, cola, high-caffeinated drinks and alcohol are broken down. It should follow that these drinks are taboo for dogs. You can find out more about chocolate poisoning in dogs in our Naturavetal guide.

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Grapes and Raisins

Delicious for us but toxic for dogs. 11.6g of grapes per kg of body weight can lead to the first signs of poisoning. In the case of raisins, even a smaller amount is enough for poisoning, as they have a higher concentration of the harmful substances due to the drying. The first signs of poisoning in dogs are vomiting and diarrhoea. If a lot of grapes or raisins have been eaten, the kidneys can also fail.

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Avocados are high in fat and dogs love fatty foods. However, the avocado also contains a substance called persin, which is a fungicidal toxin and very toxic to dogs. Persin can lead to severe cardiac muscle disorders and even death.

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Falling fruit and stoned fruit

Dogs love falling fruit because of its sweetness. However, large amounts of it can lead to indigestion. If the kernels are eaten too, the hydrocyanic acid contained can lead to neurological disorders. Quinces are indigestible to dogs, contain many tannins and therefore taste very bitter.

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Star fruit (Carambola)

The star fruit is not suitable for dogs with renal problems. A reduction in cardiac activity has been observed after consumption.

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Raw potatoes

Raw potatoes are indigestible to dogs and are also not tolerated but the stomach. They contain the steroid-alkaloid solanine (a glycoalkaloid poison) directly under the potato skin. It is mainly found in the green areas, and in the seedlings. The greener the potato, the higher the solanine content. If you ever cook potatoes, do not give the dog the remainder of the cooking water, because it contains the water-soluble solanine, which is very heat stable. The potato also contains a lot of starch which is unhealthy in large quantities. Feeding home cooked potatoes now and then is not a problem for the healthy dog. However, permanent feeding of potatoes should be avoided.

Naturavetal Tip

Many dog food manufacturers offer grain free dry kibble with a high proportion of potatoes. With a daily feed we recommend not to give potatoes due to the high starch content. For dry food, we recommend using a healthy, high-quality grain substitutes such as millet or buckwheat.

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Tomatoes and Aubergines

As with potatoes, the greener the tomatoes, the higher the solanine (a glycoalkaloid poison) content. Ripe to overripe tomatoes are less harmful due to the lower solanine content. The situation is similar with green peppers. Red, yellow or orange peppers are preferable. Feed them cooked, never feed them raw. Eggplants contain large amounts of solanine, so never feed this.

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Goldenberry / Physalis

Goldenberries/Physalis belong to the nightshade family like potatoes and tomatoes and are not digestible for dogs.

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Rhubarb contains oxalic acid and should not be fed to puppies and young dogs until after the first year of life. It is also taboo for dogs with iron metabolism disorders.

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Onions and Leeks

Whether raw, cooked, fried or dried, onions should not be part of a dog’s diet. Not even the scraps that some dogs would like to get out of the dust bin. This is due to the sulphur compounds contained in the onions and leeks, allyl propyl sulphide and N-propyl disulphide. They destroy the red blood cells in the dog and can lead to life-threatening case of anaemia. This can happen when you feed large quantities of onions or leeks for several days. The toxic dose for onions is 50g per day per kg body weight. The first signs of poisoning can be diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, rapid heartbeat and accelerated breathing. Constant over excitedness with too high doses can also cause problems with the digestive system. Also use caution with garlic. As Paracelsus already emphasized – the dose makes the poison. Small amounts of garlic are harmless and even beneficial to a dog’s health.

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Beans, peas and lentils are legumes. They are unsuitable for dogs when raw and are also difficult to digest when cooked. Legumes and all types of cabbage can cause bloating and tend to produce gas, which in turn can promote stomach rotation.

Naturavetal Tip

If you have nothing else on hand and cook a small amount of peas, please add fat, because the addition of fat reduces the gas formation of the intestinal bacteria. Nevertheless, peas should only be fed in exceptional cases.

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Raw Pork

Raw pork can contain the Aujeszky (pseudorabies) virus, which is deadly to dogs and cats. However, the viruses are unstable when heated, so pork should only be fed cooked.

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Horse Chestnuts and Sweet Chestnuts

It is possible to give your dog boiled or peeled cooked chestnuts. Chestnuts are low in fat and contain many B vitamins. Snacking is allowed, but chestnuts should not be at the main meal. Unfortunately, some dogs really enjoy cracking the chestnuts lying around, within the green prickly shell, and then gobble it all up with relish. Unfortunately, when dog owners kick chestnuts as a substitute for balls, the dog also learns that chestnuts are great fun.
In large quantities there are dangerous ingredients to the dog in the green shell as well as in the chestnut. Smaller quantities can lead to indigestion. When dogs eat chestnuts, the surface is still smooth, but if they swallow them, the surface of the chestnut is roughened by the stomach acid, this can get stuck in the intestine and thus lead to intestinal obstruction. The same applies of course to the kernel, which can lead to intestinal obstruction.

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Nuts are difficult for dogs to digest and generally contain a lot of fat. Even if they are rich in many trace elements, you would have to feed a lot of them to meet the required need. In addition, nuts contain a lot of phosphorus. Unripe, unpeeled walnuts should be avoided. They can be infected with a toxic mould that can cause epileptic seizures with convulsions and tremors. Eating the green peel can also cause severe indigestion. Black walnuts, which are related to the walnut, can also be affected by a toxic mould. Macadamia nuts are completely unsuitable for dogs because they contain an active ingredient that can cause neurological disorders and even paralysis.

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Sugar substitutes/Artificial Sweeteners/ Xylitol/ Birch Sugar/E 967

The sugar substitute xylitol causes a massive insulin release in dogs, if left untreated, it could lead to hypoglycaemia and death. It is absorbed through the mucous membranes, therefore spontaneous vomiting or vomiting initiated by the veterinarian will have no effect. The first symptoms of hypoglycaemia appear within 10 minutes and are manifested by vomiting, apathy, coordination problems and seizures. If the dog has eaten xylitol, birch sugar or any other substitute, sugar water, glucose or honey should be given as first aid to bridge the way to the vet. In the course of poisoning from sugar substitutes, liver damage occurs, which often ends in acute liver failure. This disrupts blood coagulation so that blood or coagulation factors must be transfused. If these measures are not taken or are delayed, the dog will bleed to death internally.

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Raw Elderberries

Elderberries are poisonous for dogs. They contain a toxic alkaloid, sambunigrin which is a hydrocyanic acid-releasing glycoside. This is also found in unripe fruits and the green branches. It can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. This poison is destroyed by cooking.

Toxic and deadly foods


The core can be swallowed with a risk of suffocation. Some varieties contain persine, which is toxic to the dog and attacks the heart. 

Onions and Leeks

Onions and leeks whether raw, cooked, fried or dried and are unsuitable for dogs.


Raw beans and other legumes can cause flatulence, are difficult to digest and promotes gas formation in the stomach

Potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes

The following applies to all nightshade plants: The unripe, green areas, but also the green underside of the skin/peel containsolanine which  is poisonous to dogs

Grapes and Raisins

Depending on the amount ingested, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. Excessive consumption can lead to kidney failure

Fall fruit and stoned fruit

Stoned fruit can cause digestive problems in dogs. An excess of kernels ingested can lead to  hydrogen cyanide poisoning

Star fruit (Carambola)

The star fruit is not suitable for dogs. It is especially not suitable for those with impaired kidney function.

Cape Gooseberries

The Cape Gooseberries belongs to the nightshade family and are indigestible for dogs


Rhubarb is not suitable for puppies, young dogs and dogs with iron metabolism disorders. It contains oxalic acid



Depending on the variety, nuts are difficult to digest or are completely unsuitable. They can also be toxic due to mould.



Depending on the variety, nuts are difficult to digest or are completely unsuitable. They can also be toxic due to mould.

Sweet Chestnuts and Horse chestnuts

The green shells contain ingredients that can be dangerous for the dog in large quantities, therefore  only allow smaller quantities

Raw Pork

Raw meat should not be fed from wild or domestic pigs. There is a risk of Aujeszky virus being transferred

Chocolate and Cocoa

Theobromine, which is toxic to dogs, is found in chocolate and cocoa. The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content and therefore more toxic

Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol / birch sugar / E967

All sugar substitutes are taboo for dogs and cats. If not treated, the hypoglycaemia can lead to death

Toxic food

Unhealthy food

Naturavetal Information

The dose determines the poison. The dog’s weight and size determine whether the poison can be tolerated or whether it becomes a fatal situation. A good example of this is the consumption of chocolate or cocoa. A lethal dose is around 100mg theobromine per kg body weight. Depending on the cocoa content, this corresponds to about 60g milk chocolate or 8g block chocolate. For a small chihuahua, two pieces of dark chocolate with the corresponding theobromine content would be life threatening.

You can find more information here.


The symptoms of poisoning are not always immediate or clearly recognisable. Several symptoms can occur at the same time. Every attentive pet owner knows when his pet behaves differently. Below is a list of possible symptoms of poisoning.

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • Strong salivation
  • Loss of balance up to apathy
  • Strong arousal, dilated pupils, restless running back and forth
  • Fever
  • Foaming in/on the mouth
  • Drastic drop in temperature, for example due to a shock
  • Sudden, strong tremors
  • Cramps / malaise, dog looks towards the belly or convulses
  • Heart / circulatory problems up to collapse
  • Breathing problems up to shortness of breath
  • Bleeding of unknown cause in the vomit or the faeces

Not all symptoms appear at the same time.  It depends on the type of poisoning; some symptoms are immediately recognisable and some only appear after a few hours. Poisoning from rat poison can only occur after a period of 36 hours, but it can be life-threatening. A trip to the vet should take place immediately. Depending on the toxin, the symptoms can also be varied.

What action to take if you dog eats toxic food

Emergency plan

Telephone hotline: Veterinarians or veterinary clinics usually offer an emergency hotline. Save the number in your cell phone. So, you can carry them with you all the time.

Veterinarian or veterinary clinic: The sudden onset of tremors, vomiting, or loss of balance indicates that your dog has consumed toxic foods. In this case, you should immediately consult a veterinarian or the veterinary clinic. If you have noticed which food or poison your animal has eaten, please let the veterinarian know during the phone call or on the way to the practice so that valuable time does not pass when the dog arrives and the veterinarian can prepare adequately.

Animal Charity - There are animal rescue services in some cities that offer a 24-hour emergency call service e.g. RSPCA. Maybe one exists in your area?

Our team of experts will be happy to help you with all your questions. Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 0208 – 531 7804 or by email to

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