Here Are 47 Common Foods and Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs - and What to Do If Fido Eats One


There was a time that we as pet parents had no clue what was healthy and what was not so healthy for our dogs. However, that has all changed since science has taken a greater interest in our family pets.

In this article we are going to explore toxic food for dogs along with poisonous plants for dogs. You don't want to skip this important information; it could mean the life of your canine companion.

Check out this YouTube video for a look at a common side effect of toxins, tremors:

There are many common (and not so common) people foods that can be highly toxic to our dogs. Vets see many pet patients that have been poisoned by food made for humans.

Check out the following list of fruits, vegetables and miscellaneous foods that are harmful to dogs.

Fruits That Are Toxic to Dogs

1. Grapes and raisins

Science hasn't yet discovered why, but even small amounts of grapes and raisins can cause sudden, acute kidney failure in dogs. Along with this is the lack of urine output. According to PetMD, not all dogs will be affected, but don't take the chance, keep your pup away from this fruit.

2. Citrus

Although, the pulp of citrus fruits can cause stomach upset in dogs, the main toxicity is found in the peel, stems, leaves and seeds. These all contain high levels of citric acid and essential oils that can harm your pet's central nervous system—the brain and spinal cord.

3. Cherries

It's not so much the cherry itself that is toxic to dogs (although it can cause digestive troubles), it's the pit. This seed contains levels of cyanide that will be harmful to your dog if chewed or swallowed. The pit can also become lodged in a dog's throat, posing a choking hazard.

4. Currants

This small round fruit comes in the white, purple or red variety. They are usually found in baking, but can be used in a variety of prepared meals. Just like raisins, currants can cause acute renal failure in your dog. In addition, your pet can have severe vomiting, diarrhea and even anorexia. If you have a currant bush in your yard, always pick up the fallen fruit to ensure your dog's safety.

5. Apricots

All parts of the apricot is toxic, including the stems, leaves and pits. As with other pitted fruits, the large apricot seed contains enough cyanide in it to do serious harm to your canine. Ingesting seeds that contain cyanide can lead to the breakdown of the important enzyme that is responsible for oxygenating your dog's cells. This can result in difficulty breathing, dilated pupils and even death.

6. Apple seeds

The same cyanide properties found in other seeds and pits are also found in apple seeds. If you want to feed your dog the occasional slice of apple, be sure to remove the seeds, stem and core.

7. Persimmons

Although the persimmon berry (yes, it's technically a berry) is not toxic to your dog, it can cause stomach upset. Plus, once again, the seed is the dangerous culprit. The persimmon pit can pose a choking hazard and may inflame your dog's small intestine. Plus, it too is filled with cyanide.

8. Peaches

Another pit fruit—as with other fruits with large seeds, peach pits contain cyanide, and the larger size could easily choke your dog.

9. Plums

The last fruit on our toxic list is the plum, a pit which does have cyanide in it. The plum seed can also cause a choking hazard and an obstruction in the digestive tract of smaller dogs.


Vegetables That Are Toxic to Dogs

Now that we've covered the toxic fruits, let's explore the vegetables that will give your pooch a problem.

10. Raw and green potatoes

The toxic ingredient found in raw and green potatoes is called solanine, the same property found in the nightshade plant. It is used by the plant as a natural defense against insects; however, when consumed by a dog it can cause blurred vision and a decrease in heart rate.

11. Mushrooms

Several species of mushrooms grow naturally in the wild. According to PetMD, these are categorized as liver toxic, hallucinogenic, toadstool, muscarinic agents, false morel and intestinal upset mushrooms. Any of these fungi can cause severe to fatal symptoms in your dog.

12. Onions

This veggie contains an ingredient called thiosulphate, which is where the danger lies. Onions cause your dog's red blood cells to burst, a serious condition called hemolytic anemia, which will not allow your dog to produce enough red blood cells to keep her healthy.

13. Garlic

The debate about whether garlic is harmful to dogs is a heated one. However, vets are now saying that only garlic consumed in massive quantities is dangerous. If you decide to feed garlic to your dog, be sure it is fresh from the peel and only in small amounts.

14. Asparagus

This veggie isn't toxic to dogs, butit can (and most likely will) produce very smelly urine and gas in your dog. Feed with caution and only in very tiny bits.


Miscellaneous Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

15. Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in some species of tree bark, berries, corn, oats, mushrooms, plums and lettuce. It is now used as a sugar substitute in many products like gum. However, the biggest culprit containing Xylitol is toothpaste. Even a small amount of Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) liver failure, seizures and even death in dogs.

16. Alcohol

The main ingredients in some alcohol is grapes and hops, which are both toxic to dogs. In addition, the dog's body is not built to break down alcohol of any kind. Giving your dog alcohol can lead to ethanol toxicosis. According to PetMD, this can damage your dog's central nervous system and cells, as well as slowing his heart rate and even causing a heart attack.

17. Coffee, tea and caffeine

Dogs cannot tolerate caffeine. The ingestion of coffee grounds or tea bags can lead to toxicity in your canine. This can present itself as hyperactivity, restlessness, elevated heart rate, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Keep all caffeinated products away from your dog.

18. Milk or dairy products

Although some dogs can handle the occasional treat of a dairy product, others cannot handle the lactose found in these types of foods. Lactose is two chemically linked sugars that can cause severe stomach upset in dogs. Symptoms of too much lactose can be vomiting, diarrhea and gas.

19. Macadamia nuts

Veterinarians are not sure exactly what ingredient in the macadamia nut causes toxicity, but they do know the signs. Dogs who have eaten this nut can show signs of weakness, fever, ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements) tremors and depression. Depending on the amount of nuts eaten, your dog may be able to recover from this toxin.

20. Chocolate

Chocolate not only contains caffeine, it also contains an ingredient called theobromine. This is an alkaloid that resembles caffeine and is found in higher quantities in dark chocolate. If your dog eats too much chocolate, it can result in extreme hyperactivity, increased and irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, internal bleeding and even a heart attack.

21. Fat trimmings and bones

Just like too much fat is bad for humans, it is also bad for dogs. Large quantities or a steady diet of fat trimmings can lead to obesity and an inflammation of the pancreas in the canine species. Chicken, pork and fish bones are also not recommended as these can splinter and do damage to your dog's mouth and gums and her intestinal tract. In addition, bones can also become lodged in your pet's throat, posing a choking hazard.

22. Salt

Salty foods like pretzels and potato chips are not recommended for dogs. Too much salt in your pet's diet can lead to excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, an increase in body temperature, tremors and even death.

23. Sugar

Just like in humans, giving a dog too much sugar can lead to obesity, tooth decay and even diabetes. Avoid any people treat that contains high amounts of sugar, as it can also cause your dog to experience the same sugar-crash we experience. This can include being tired, irritable and moody.

24. Yeast dough

Bread doughs can smell heavenly, but if ingested by your canine, it will continue to rise in his belly. This can cause severe bloating, stomach pain and can even block off your pet's stomach. Yeast will also convert into alcohol in your pet's gut, which can lead to ethanol poisoning.

25. Human medications

It's never a good idea to give your dog medications made for human use. Many drugs can be deadly to animals and you may not have time to react before it becomes fatal. Keep your medications well away from snooping pooches.

Indoor Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs

26. Kalanchoe

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Kalanchoe (image: Nats Sitticus/Flickr)

This dangerous houseplant is also known as the Mother of Millions, the Devil's Backbone and the Chandelier plant. It can bloom with hundreds of flowers in pink, yellow and red. The main toxins found in the Kalanchoe are called cardiac glycosides. When eaten by your dog, it can cause a wide range of symptoms such as excessive drooling, cardiac arrest, tremors, seizures and even death.

27. Cyclamen

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Cyclamen. (image: liz west/Flickr)

This indoor plant is also called the Persian violet and the Sowbread plant. These are commonly sold in grocery retailers and florists and can cause serious toxicity in your dog. All parts of this plant are dangerous, but the tubers or roots are especially poisonous. These contain a compound known as saponin which is a glucoside. When chewed or ingested it can cause excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and possible heart failure.

28. Amaryllis

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Amaryllis. (image: tutincommon/Flickr)

This beautiful plant has huge blooms on a long stem, but it is also poisonous to dogs. The main toxicity is found in the leaves, stem and bulb of the amaryllis. Here compounds called phenanthridine alkaloids can lead to excessive drooling, a drop in blood pressure, vomiting and respiratory distress.

29. Aloe vera

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Aloe vera. (image: Peter Verberckmoes/Flickr)

This plant can be both indoors and outdoors (in the right climate) and is known for its healing and medicinal properties for humans. However, when eaten by a pooch it can cause diarrhea. The compounds responsible for this reaction are called anthraquinone glycosides.

30. Jade (Crassula ovata)

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Crassula ovata. (image: Jesús Cabrera/Flickr)

This plant is a very popular indoor plant for those without a green thumb (it's hard to kill). Even though it is hardy, it is extremely dangerous to dogs. Eating a leaf from a jade plant will cause vomiting, depression and a slow heart rate.

31. Hedera helix (ivy)

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Hedera helix. (image: Gergely Hideg/Flickr)

Also known as English ivy, this plant is extremely toxic to dogs. The principal toxins in this plant are called triterpenoid saponins (hederagenin) and are actually used as a foaming agent in certain beverages. If your canine eats this chemical compound it can lead to vomiting, extreme drooling, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

32. Philodendron

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Philodendron (image: 5u5/Flickr)

The philodendron comes in many different species and all are toxic to dogs. The compound found in this plant is calcium oxalate. If ingested by your dog the first symptoms will be a severe burning sensation to the mouth and gums. Excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth will follow. If left untreated, your dog's throat is likely to close off making it difficult to breath or swallow.

33. Devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureum)

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Epipremnum aureum. (image: Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr)

Any plant called Devil's ivy doesn't sound like it would be good. This ivy's leaves are filled with calcium oxalate and just like the philodendron, it can cause burning to the mouth, tongue and throat. Left untreated, your dog can stop breathing which will lead to death.

34. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)

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Dieffenbachia (image: Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr)

This common houseplant has broad green leaves with white running through them. All species of plants in the dumb cane family contain a chemical compound known as insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate or raphites. When chewed, the leaf will release this toxin which can cause burning of the lips and tongue and foaming at the mouth. If ingested it can cause swelling of the throat, which may block off your dog's airways.


Outdoor Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs

Be aware of the following species before you plant them in any area your dog can reach, or when you are in parks or walking in nature.

35. Rhubarb plant

The chewy, bitter stalks of the rhubarb plant may cause stomach upset in your dog, but the real concern are the leaves. Rhubarb greens contain a compound known as oxalic acid (a poisonous crystalline acid) that can cause tremors, kidney failure and a coma.

36. Tomato plant

This plant is in the same family as the deadly nightshade, and the leaves and stems are highly toxic to dogs. These plants both contain high levels of glycoalkaloids (a chemical compound derived from alkaloids), which can lead to a host of problems for your pet (weakness, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, confusion, etc.).

37. Sago palm

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Sago palm. (image: moccasinlanding/Flickr)

Also known as the Coontie palm, cardboard palm, cycads and zymia, this plant contains a poisonous compound called cycasin. Once eaten this toxin can cause severe liver damage, blood clots and neurological abnormalities in dogs.

38. Elephant's ear

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Elephant's ear. (image: Jnzl's Photos/Flickr)

This plant also possesses the calcium oxalate compound. It will affect the mouth, tongue and throat with swelling and burning. The ingestion of this giant leaf can cause permanent liver and kidney failure.

39. Cherry trees

Just like the pit of the cherry is toxic to dogs, so are the shrubs/trees leaves. This includes all cherry trees like the black cherry tree, the chokecherry and the cherry laurel. The parts of this fruit tree contain cyanogenic glycosides (releases cyanide when chewed). Take special care if you have one of these fruit trees in your yard.

40. Daffodils

These beautiful spring flowers may pop up in your yard unannounced, but beyond their happy appearance lies a toxic substance known as lycorine. All parts of the daffodil is toxic, but the main area is the bulb. If your dog eats a daffodil it will experience drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and/or cardiac arrest.

41. Lilies

Another springtime favorite, the lily can cause serious harm to your pet. All parts of this plant are dangerous, including the flowers, stem, leaves, the water the cut flowers are in, and even the pollen. The ingestion of a lily can cause stomach upset, anoxia, tremors and even death.

42. Black walnuts

The nuts that fall from the black walnut tree are not toxic to your dog until they begin to decompose. Once these nuts begin to grow mold they can cause tremors and seizure to your dog if ingested. Be sure to rake these toxic substances up before your dog has a chance to nibble on one.

43. Castor bean

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Castor bean. (image: Drew Avery/Flickr)

This ornamental tropical plant contains a toxin protein known as ricin. If your dog nibbles on the plant it can cause burning of the mouth and throat. The toxin goes on to cause excessive thirst, vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog eats even one ounce of the seeds from this plant, it can be lethal.

44. Autumn crocus

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Autumn crocus. (image: epicnom/Flickr)

Although the crocus species that pops up in the spring is toxic to dogs, the autumn crocus is much worse. Ingestion of any part of this flowering plant can cause stomach upset, stomach bleeding, liver and kidney damage, seizures and even death.

45. Azalea

Both the azalea and the rhododendron (in the same family) are highly toxic to dogs. These plants contain a substance known as grayanotoxins which will affect the cardiac muscle and the skeletal system of your dog. As little as 0.2 percent per body weight ingested of this plant can cause drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rate, tremors, seizures and even comas.

46. Tulips

Another springtime favorite, the tulip, is toxic to dogs if ingested. The main place of highest toxicity is in the bulb, which contains a high concentration of allergenic lactones that can produce symptoms such as swelling and burning of the throat, respiratory difficulties and an increase in your dog's heart rate.

47. Oleander

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Oleander. (image: Panos Nikolaou/Flickr)

This outdoor shrub is found mostly in warmer climates. All parts of this plant are toxic to dogs. The primary poisons found in the oleander are cardenolides or bufadienolides. These compounds are known as cardiac glycosides which will interfere directly with the heart.

What Can I Do If My Dog Ingests Something Toxic?

No pet parent wants to come home and find out their pup has consumed a toxic food or plant. Even if you've dog-proofed your home and yard, curious canines have a way of getting into stuff they shouldn't. Here are some tips everyone should know when it comes to canine poisoning.

Don't panic: Even though your emotions may be running high, the best thing you can do if your dog has ingested a toxin is to stay calm and assess the situation. Examine your pooch for obvious signs of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, lethargy, etc.

Call your veterinarian: Regardless of what your dog ate, it's always better to err on the side of caution. Call your veterinarian to make an emergency visit ASAP.

Gather the evidence: Before you leave for the vet's office, gather up all the evidence of the toxic food/plant/object your dog has eaten. You will also want to establish a time frame of when the toxin was consumed and how much was eaten (if possible).

Your vet will want to know your dog's weight, age and if she is taking any medications. All this information will give your vet a better idea as to how to begin treatment. Depending on what was ingested, your vet may want you to induce vomiting; however, NEVER do this without the recommendation of your vet.

Be honest with the vet: Some pet parents may be reluctant to be totally honest when it comes to illegal substances such as street drugs. This puts your dog at a higher risk of death, so always give all the information you have to help your pet get the best treatment possible.

Know What to Expect 

Depending on what your dog has ingested, the treatment can vary between inducing vomiting or surgery.

If the toxin can be ejected, your vet will give your pup a special injection that will cause him to vomit. After the stomach contents are emptied, your vet may also give your dog an activated charcoal that will neutralize any toxin that may be circulating throughout your dog's bloodstream.

Once these procedures have been followed, your vet will most likely want to keep your dog at the clinic for an additional 24 hours to flush her system with intravenous fluids.

If your dog has swallowed something large, she may require surgery to remove it. This can be done by surgically opening your dog's abdomen to remove the object before it has a chance to go through the intestinal tract.

If the object that was swallowed is small, your vet can use a procedure using an endoscopy. This is a small camera that is inserted down your dog's throat and to her stomach. Once there, your vet can see exactly where the foreign object is and can remove it with a small hook on the end. The hook grabs the object and pulls it back through your dog's throat and mouth.


Keep Your Pup Safe

Never feed your dog foods you are not sure of and don't allow others to feed your dog without permission.

When it comes to houseplants, be sure they are well away from your dog's reach. Outdoor plants can pop up unexpectedly, so always take notice of what is growing in your yard and whether your dog can reach them. If a toxic plant is there, be sure to remove it.

If your dog accidentallys ingest a toxic substance, stay calm and follow our tips. Handling the situation with precision may just save your pet's life.

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