Bad Foods for Dogs & Puppies

Many of the foods that we consume and enjoy are very dangerous for our pets. If your dog or puppy ingests any of the items on this list, call us immediately so we can act before the toxins are absorbed.

For general advice for new puppies, visit our Puppy Preschool page. We also have a page on Common Pet Poisons in Adelaide.


Although it shouldn’t need to be said, drinks and foods containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, reduced coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, metabolic acidosis, coma and even death.


The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. Small amounts of avocado flesh appear harmless.

Camel & Horse Meat

Feral animals grazing in northern Australia consume a plant that makes their meat toxic to dogs. Therefore, be wary of any pet meats that may contain these species. Read more here.

Chicken (Raw)

Click here for three good reasons why raw chicken should not be fed to dogs.

Chicken Jerky

Read here about the health problems caused by jerky treats in dogs.

Chocolate, Coffee, Tea

Cocoa contains theobromine and caffeine, which both affect the heart and nervous system. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are more dangerous than milk chocolate. The chance of problems after eating chocolate will depend on your pet’s weight, the amount, and type of chocolate ingested. Chocolate ingestion can cause diarrhoea and vomiting, panting, restlessness or hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Click here for an article on chocolate poisoning and a handy toxic dose calculator.

Compost and Mouldy Food

Various mould aflatoxins can cause seizures, vomiting or liver damage. Dispose of mouldy foods carefully and keep the compost bin secure.

Cooked Bones

Cooked or smoked bones should never be given to dogs, especially chicken or pork. Bones can splinter and become lodged in your pet’s oesophagus or if swallowed, could cause an obstruction or laceration in the digestive tract. This is also true for items such as corn cobs, satay sticks, icecream sticks etc.

If you are interested in feeding your dog bones, read our guidelines for safer raw bone feeding.

Fat Trimmings and Gravy

Along with other fatty foods such as barbecued meats and sausages, any oily or fatty food can cause pancreatitis, a potentially life threatening condition. Read more about pancreatitis here.

Fruit Stones and Seeds

Some fruit stones are toxic, and many can also become lodged in the intestinal tract. The fruit itself is safe to eat.

Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas and Currants

Grapes contain an unknown substance that is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Foods containing sultanas are also potentially toxic to dogs.

Human Vitamins

Vitamins in large doses can cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, and could also cause liver and kidney damage. Read our article on the dangers of vitamin D for dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

An unknown substance in macadamia nuts may cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. Read about other nuts here.


Dogs lack the amounts of lactase enzyme necessary to break down the lactose in milk. This can result in gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhoea, especially in puppies.

Small amounts of milk can be given to adult cats as a treat without problems in most cases.


Large amounts of nutmeg may cause tremors, seizures and central nervous system damage.

Onions and Garlic

The onion family, whether raw or cooked,  contains toxins which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia. Some dog food and treats may contain very small amounts of garlic which shouldn’t cause any problems but it is not recommended.

Read more, including how much onion is toxic, here.

Table Scraps

Leftovers will not provide your pet with proper nutrients and are usually too rich or fatty for dogs. Pets fed quantities of human foods are rarely as healthy as they could be. Sugary foods contribute to dental disease.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many products such as chewing gum, sweets, and toothpaste. Click here for a list of products containing xylitol n Australia.

Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. It could also result in death.