Grapes, Avocados, and 13 Other Things You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Owner giving sausage to cute dog in kitchen, closeup

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Owner giving sausage to cute dog in kitchen, closeup
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Protect Your Pup

While it might be tempting to share everything with your dogs — including your leftovers — there are certain indulgences that should never be extended to our canine friends. Most pet owners know, for instance, that human medicine and chocolate have no place in a dog’s diet. But other life-threatening foods, like yeasted bread dough or sugar-free gum, aren’t so obvious or well known. To keep your furry friends safe, we’ve created a list of 15 foods that are bad for dogs.

Funny dog in the bar

1. Alcohol

As much as you might want to crack a cold one with your best friend, dogs should never drink alcohol. That’s because alcohol is toxic to dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, which adds that even a small amount of beer could poison a small dog. Other ingredients in alcoholic beverages — xylitol, chocolate, coffee, and spices — could also be poisonous.

Avocado on old wooden table in bowl.
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2. Avocados

Every avocado contains a fungicidal toxin called Persin. While the low concentrations of this compound in avocado flesh likely won’t kill dogs (it’s deadly for larger animals), it can cause health problems in large amounts, according to Purina. What’s more, avocados present other risks to dogs because they’re high in fat and are a choking hazard.

Funny French Bulldog dog puppy with head in spooky Halloween trick or treat basket

3. Candy

Even the most benign, chocolate- and nut-free candy bar can be harmful to dogs, if only because it's high in sugar and/or fat. And some sweet treats, namely those that contain xylitol and chocolate, can be deadly. So no matter how much Fido begs for a Snickers or a stick of gum, don’t give in or else you could find yourself at the vet.

Simply Chocolate

4. Chocolate

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, chocolate is toxic to dogs because of two compounds: caffeine and theobromine. When ingested, both compounds can be lethal, causing potentially life-threatening heart and central nervous system problems.

Coffee beans being poured into a coffee grinder
Pouring milk in the glass on the background of nature.

6. Dairy Products

The leading source of food intolerance in dogs? Dairy products, the American Kennel Club says. That’s because most canines are lactose intolerant, meaning that they have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk. While small amounts of dairy may be OK for your pup, they should only be given to your dog in moderation, if at all.

Half-cuban teenage girl and her cute pug at home.

7. Fatty Foods

An occasional bite of a hot dog or other fatty human foods won’t kill your dog (provided, of course, that it isn’t toxic). Ideally, however, you shouldn’t feed dogs foods high in fat, as they’re susceptible to pancreatitis, according to the American Kennel Club. Thanksgiving, the organization explains, is particularly busy for vets because of all the fatty food scraps that end up sending dogs to the emergency room for pancreatitis.

Garlic cloves on a wooden board

8. Garlic, Onions, and Leeks

According to PetMD, garlic, onions, and leeks all belong to the same genus and contain two compounds that are toxic to dogs: N-propyl disulfides and thiosulfates. Both damage the animal’s red blood cells, leading to poisoning and death in dogs.

Grapes - Fall
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9. Grapes

Grapes are similarly life-threatening to our furry friends, as they can cause kidney failure even in small amounts, according to WebMD. This includes grape products, such as raisins or grape juices, jellies, and jams.

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Woman kneading dough on kitchen counter
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11. Raw Bread Dough

While small amounts of baked bread are fine for dogs, uncooked yeasted dough may continue to ferment in an animal’s stomach, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This can lead to alcohol poisoning and aspiration, both of which require immediate treatment.

Close up of fresh nectarines on a stone table
Spoiled Steak
Herbal Tea
Sugar substitutes – Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol

15. Xylitol

When a dog ingests the popular sugar substitute xylitol, it could result in a rapid and life-threatening release of insulin, the Food and Drug Administration warns. Because of how potent xylitol is for canines, it’s important to keep your dog away from low- and sugar-free products, such as breath mints, gum, sugar-free desserts, vitamins, cough syrup, and toothpaste.

Related: Cute Dog Breeds That Make Terrible Pets

Vet and Labrador retriever