In the final part of my mini-series on foods for humans that are also very good for dogs, I would like to address unsafe foods and additives for our dogs.

Extensive lists of foods supposedly “toxic” for dogs are all over the Internet. When you add up all these lists, there is not much left that we can give…

Fortunately, it’s not as bad as that, but there are some things that we humans can safely eat but absolutely should not give to our dogs. I have listed them for you here:

  1. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Consuming chocolate can have serious consequences, such as stomach upset, heart problems, seizures, and even death.
  2. Grapes and raisins: Although the exact reason is not yet fully understood, it is known that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even in small amounts, these fruits can cause severe damage.
  3. Macadamia nuts: macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness (especially in the hindquarters), tremors, vomiting, and increased body temperature. It is usually transient, but we do not want to do this to our dog. So, while other nuts are safe, we should not give macadamia nuts at all.
  4. Onions and related plants: Onions, chives, and other associated plants contain substances that can damage dogs’ red blood cells and cause anemia. Even small amounts can be harmful.
  5. Garlic in high doses: While small amounts of fresh garlic are generally not harmful to dogs, high doses, such as those in supplements, can cause serious health problems, including anemia. So, never give a garlic supplement for humans to your dog.
  6. Xylitol: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often used in sugar-free gum, candies, and other products. It can cause a dramatic drop in blood sugar, lead to liver failure, and even be fatal to dogs.

So, thankfully, most of the foods warned about online are entirely safe. It is always possible that an individual dog may not react well to a particular food, which is why I recommend keeping records of whatever you add to your dog’s food. However, an individual unfavorable reaction does not mean it would be toxic to all dogs.

But what about avocado?

A well-known example of a misconception is avocado: that whole myth is based on 1 case report from 1994, where the dogs ate not only the flesh but also the peels and leaves of the avocado tree. The flesh of the avocado is perfectly safe and even contains valuable nutrients (such as oleic acid). The seed of the avocado can lead to severe blockage, so it should NOT be given, nor should the peel. There is even an avocado-based dog kibble these days! If you make your guacamole without onion and with just a little bit of garlic, you can certainly share it with your dog 😉

So, thankfully, the list of toxic foods is not that long. The only thing I would add to it myself is artificial sweeteners (besides xylitol). Not because they would be bad for dogs specifically, but because I don’t think they are suitable for anyone, including humans.

I hope you enjoyed this mini-series!