Zoo Studio Blog

The place for zoo-riffic news!

Book an experience with Zoo Studio

The Menu Your Dog Should Never Order From

I can remember as a child our dogs pretty much ate everything we did and more! They got lots of scraps and leftovers and often if there was something I didn’t like, I would sneak it under the table where Kaiser and Heidi, our German Shepherds, were usually waiting! There wasn’t as much knowledge about foods that were bad for dogs back then as there are now. And we have learnt so much more about our canine fur family and what can trigger in their systems.
Here’s a list of foods that your dog should never eat. **It is important to note, that not all dogs will react the same way and some dogs love certain foods and through the years, its become a staple for them. Please ALWAYS consult your vet before giving your dogs new or unusual foods. Don’t be afraid to give them new things, just be more aware and do your own research too.
I’ve also provided a link to a PDF that can be downloaded and kept on your fridge for future reference. If your dog goes to your parents or friends, it might be worthwhile giving them a copy too.

We all know how much chocolate can be harmful and really bad for dogs. One of the reasons for this is because chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients can speed your dogs heart rate and stimulate the nervous system. It may also depend on the type of chocolate (dark, milk or white), the amount your dog has ingested and the weight and size of your dog that will determine how sick (or not) your dog may be after ingesting chocolate.
There’s a story I can tell you about our boy Blaze when he was about 8 months old and consuming chocolate! It was around Easter and I had bought some mini Easter eggs to package up for my clients who were collecting their gorgeous photographic art work. Scott got home from work only to find two wagging tails greeting him from inside the front door. No, neither of them were meant to be inside. Maya had taught Blaze how to open the laundry door (our handles are push down handles), so he quickly learnt that if he jumps up and pushes down, voila, the laundry door magically opens! I had the chocolate Easter eggs in the home office and the door shut. Blaze opened the door, came inside and stole the Easter eggs off my desk. At a guesstimate, he consumed about 500g of milk chocolate! Cheeky bugger! Thankfully, it was milk chocolate and he was a relatively large dog being an Alaskan Malamute X Husky and weighed about 24kg. When I called the vet, she laughed because Blaze was known for being really cheeky and mischievous and told us to bring him in and they’ll make him vomit it up. So, moral of the story – make sure all doors can’t be opened by young puppy dogs and keep all chocolate away from curious snouts and mouths that will consume it from curiosity!
Dogs ingesting too much theobromine and caffeine in chocolate may result in vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased urination, tremors, elevated heart rate, seizures and death. Always consult your vet when in doubt.

Small amounts of corn are usually safe for dogs to eat, however giving your dog a full corn on the cob can be dangerous. The cob is the part to be most careful of. The cob can get lodged and cause choking or intestinal blockages. This can be deadly for dogs. So, whilst corn kernels can be fine, corn on the cob should be avoided.

Nuts, in general are not good for dogs at all. However, Macadamia nuts can be a lethal cocktail for your dog. Some of the signs to watch out for if your dog has ingested Macadamia nuts are, muscle shakes, vomiting, increased temperature and weak back legs. Mixing chocolate and Macadamia nuts together may make things worse. Always consult your vet straight away if you think your dog has ingested Macadamia nuts.

Tobacco/Cigarettes are one to be extremely careful of with your dogs. If you are a smoker or there are family and friends who are smokers, please always be mindful where the cigarette buds are being put out and left. Tobacco can be deadly to dogs. Some of the symptoms include, vomiting, abnormal heart rate, tremors and weakness. Tobacco poisoning can present itself within 1 hour of ingestion.

Wild mushrooms in particular and many of the mushrooms that grow around parks and forests can be extremely toxic for dogs. Never allow your dogs to consume these mushrooms and consult your vet immediately if you think your dog has ingested these. There are some varieties of mushrooms that may be used to help dogs with certain ailments, however it is always strongly suggested to please always consult your vet first and never give anything without consultation with your vet first.

Whilst it may be safe in certain doses (recommended by a qualified vet), to give certain human vitamins or supplements to dogs, (such as fish oil), it is not recommended to give your dog one of your vitamins or supplements without first consulting your vet. Human vitamins often contain 100% of the recommended daily amount of various minerals. These doses for our canine fur family may cause a mineral overdose for your dog. One of the most dangerous vitamin is prenatal vitamins. This is because prenatal vitamins often contain higher doses of iron and can cause iron toxicity in our dogs. Always contact your vet immediately if your dog has ingested human vitamins and/or supplements.

This is an interesting one and one I never thought about until my cousin had her first born and I had our dog, Sable when I visited her. Not all baby food is bad for dogs. After all, baby food is generally pureed fruits and vegetables. And you’re not alone if you thought about this one too. My vet tells me it’s a common question, especially for first time parents to ask when they have fur kids too. You can give your dog certain baby foods. However, it is important to always read the label and to make sure to avoid additives, preservatives and anything that may contain onion and/or garlic. You never replace your dogs meal with baby food, but providing you have read the label and checked with your vet, it can be safe to mix with their food or give as a small treat.

Please, please, please always be very careful with lollies and chewing gum around your dogs. Lollies, obviously contain sugar, but it is more often than not, they will also contain Xylitol, which can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and liver failure in dogs. Xylitol is also what is in chewing gum, hence to also keep the chewing gum away from our dogs.

Apples themselves are nourishing and great to give dogs as a treat. It’s a great chew for them and it’s something different. However, never give your dogs a whole apple without having removed the seeds and the core. The apple seeds can be rather toxic to dogs. They contain a natural chemical called amygdlin, that releases cyanide when digested. This is really only an issue if a large amount has been ingested and the seed has been chewed up by your dog, causing it to enter the bloodstream. Always remember to be safe and core and seed apples before giving them to your dog.
Again, it can depend on the size, weight, of your dog, how much they have ingested and whether they have chewed the seeds. One day, I came home from having done the grocery shopping. I had bought apples and as I was bringing in the bags, an apple fell on the floor. Our dog, Sable, an Alaskan Malamute, picked up the apple and initially started playing with it. She thought it was a ball. She then took a bite and soon realised it was something she could eat. At the time, I wasn’t fully aware of the dangers of apple seeds and Sable, whose nickname was ‘gourmendizer,’ because of her love of food, very quickly inhaled the apple, seeds, core and all. She did become unwell and we rushed her to the vet. Thankfully, nothing had gone through her bloodstream and after some medication, she soon recovered and bounced back to her usual self. We were lucky as she was a larger breed which was in her favour. But always, be careful and remove seeds and core apples before giving them to dogs.

Grapes and raisins are dangerous because they can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even the smallest amount may make your dog really sick. It’s important to always keep grapes and raisins away from our dogs. Vomiting is one of the first symptoms followed by depression and low energy. Especially around Easter when Hot Cross buns are a favourite, never allow your dogs to eat anything with grapes and raisins in it. Even sultanas too.

I knew about tomato leaves, but I never realised the dangers of rhubarb for dogs. Both rhubarb and tomato leaves contain oxalates. What are oxalates you ask? Good question! Oxalates are a natural substance in a lot of foods. They help bind to calcium during digestion in the stomach and intestines. Oxalates in dogs can cause, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors and bloody urine.

Onions and chives are always ones to really watch out for around your dogs. It doesn’t matter whether they are dry, raw, cooked, powder or if they are within foods, onions can be one of the worst foods to give your dog. Onions contain disulfides and sulfoxides, both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.

Avocado is one that I think we all grow to know the dangers about with our dogs. One of the reasons Avocado’s can be so dangerous to dogs is because they contain persin. Persin, is found around the pit of the avocado and lines the wall of the inside of the avocado pit. If you think your dog has ingested an avocado pit or even part of an avocado pit, consult your vet immediately. Having a small piece of avocado, will probably be okay, but it’s always best to avoid at all costs and to monitor your dog and consult your vet if you think your dog has ingested avocado or an avocado pit.
I sadly, do know a very good client whose brother didn’t know avocado’s were bad for dogs. He made an avocado and cheese sandwich. Her German Shepherd ingested half an avocado flesh, but had also ingested a small portion of the avocado pit and the skin. Sadly, her German Shepherd passed away after a week of endlessly trying to treat him. Please always be very careful with avocado around your dogs.

Again, it’s mainly the pits/seeds from these fruits that can case issues in dogs if ingested. Peaches and plum pits are pits, that like the apple, contain cyanide which is extremely poisonous to dogs (and people). So, please always be careful of these fruits, especially if you have trees in your backyard as your dog can find the fruit and ingest it entirely, pits, seeds and everything.

Whilst it can be amusing that our dogs may want to eat our feline fur family food, it’s not always the best food for them to even try! Cat food contains proteins and fats that naturally are targeted to our feline family. It’s the protein and fat levels that can be extremely high for your dog and can cause stomach upsets and pancreatitis. If you have feline family members with your canine family members, always keep the cat food away from the dog food, and vice versa!

In small quantities, liver can be fine. Liver can be a great source of nourishment for your dog. But avoid feeding too much to your dog. This is because liver contains quite a lot of Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A can adversely affect your dog’s muscles and bones. Always be mindful of quantities when feeding liver to dogs and never give too much.

Yeast in our bread makes it rise. Unfortunately, if your dog ingests yeast, the yeast will also rise and expand within their tummy. Too much yeast may rupture their stomach and their intestines. Another reason yeast dough is dangerous is because it ferments. As it ferments, it creates alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning. So, never allow your dog to have yeast.

It can be tempting to give your dog the fat trimmings from a steak, or if removing the chicken skin. But fat trimmings, cooked or raw, especially in large quantities, can cause pancreatitis. Even dried pigs ears in large quantities with smaller breeds of dogs can cause pancreatitis. They can become very sick and lethargic. Always consult your vet.

This is again, one that most of us dog owner know about. But it always pays to include it because some may not be aware. Bones, when cooked, can be extremely dangerous when consumed by dogs. Because they are cooked, they can rupture and splinter when chewed. This can cause scratches and cuts in the throat of your dog and in the lining of their stomach and intestines. Raw (uncooked) bones are suitable and really great to give our dogs. Raw bones help keep their teeth healthy and can also keep them entertained for hours. Always supervise your dog when giving them raw bones and never leave them unattended.

In small doses, milk and dairy products aren’t going to kill your dog or upset them too much. Beware that you may get some added fragrances coming out in the way of smelly farts and you may experience a dose of diarrhea, but it’s not going to be fatal to your dog. In large doses, milk and dairy products can cause digestive problems and they may, in some instances, trigger food allergies. So, always be mindful and watch to make sure there are no adverse reactions. If you discover a food allergy with your dog, it might pay to think back to see if they have had milk and/or any other dairy products that may have brought the allergy on. Always consult your vet for advice.

Citrus and citrus oils/extracts are one to be extremely careful of with your dogs. Even certain citrus oils and candles should be kept away from your dogs. Citrus oils contain insecticidal properties. When ingested by a dog, it can metabolize in the dog’s liver causing toxicity, liver failure and/or liver damage. Always be mindful of what citrus is around in the house and keep it away from your dog.

Caffeine is very, very dangerous to dogs. Within 1 to 2 hours your dog can experience mild to severe hyperactivity, vomiting, restlessness, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, seizures and even death.
I love my morning coffee as much as many others do. But we always keep our coffee in the pantry and away from our dogs. If you keep your coffee on the kitchen bench, be mindful to store it in not only an airtight container but in a container that can’t be broken or the lid opened, so that if your dog does happen to knock it over or get to it (if they can reach the way Blaze can reach lol), they won’t then be able to get to the actual coffee.

Whilst it may be amusing for some to give their dog a sip of their beer or your dog may come up and lick the wine from your wine glass, alcohol can be very toxic to dogs. It can cause lack of coordination, weak breathing and abnormal acidity but potentially can even cause coma or death. Again, like the coffee, tea and caffeine, please keep the alcohol well away from your dogs. Keep it stored where they can’t have access or accidentally push a bottle over.

Raw meat and fish can be contaminated with bacteria which can cause blood poisoning. It’s also worth being very mindful of the type of fish given to dogs. Some fish can contain a parasite that causes “fish disease” or “salmon poisoning disease.” Some of the symptoms can include vomiting, fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Cooked fish is usually fine since in the process of being cooked, it can kill the parasites. Always remember to check for all bones and remove them from meat and/or fish when giving them to your dog.
Raw meat can be safe to feed dogs, but only if fresh, and you know it has not been contaminated. In fact, raw diets can be extremely good for dogs and have become increasingly popular. Just be careful and know the source of the meat and/or fish before giving them to your dog.

I hope this helps everyone become more aware of certain foods that can be dangerous to dogs. I am sure, like us, many of us have some amusing stories of our canine family members getting into foods and things they shouldn’t, and we’ve all learnt quite a lot through the years of being dog owners. But it’s also good to be able to refer back if we’re unsure and always please consult your vet immediately if you are unsure of something your dog may have ingested. Though it might be ‘inconvenient,’ or we thing it is okay, it is always better to be safe than sorry and have our trusted vets look over our dogs and make sure they are safe.

[et_bloom_locked optin_id=”optin_1″]

Download here


We’d like to thank our vets at Seddon Vet Hospital who have helped us through the years with our fur babies and for providing information through the years that has helped put this together.

Want to learn more about dangerous foods for dogs and ways to keep them safe?
Check out some of these wonderful sites that have helped us put this together and provide further in depth information.

Seddon Vet Hospital

The staff at Seddon Vet Hospital are always extremely helpful with all our fur babies and have been through the years  we have been going there. They’ve provided leaflets, pamphlets, booklets of information I have kept and used through the years with our dogs.

Monkey, the gorgeous vet cat, is the only cat Blaze adores and is mindful of. Monkey is a cat I describe as a ‘street smart’ cat. She is just gorgeous and when she was younger used to stay in the clinic through the day. Blaze came across Monkey when he was a puppy. He thought he could outsmart Monkey – but Monkey was definitely the smarter one. Blaze howled at Monkey. Monkey said, ‘don’t backchat to me,’ and took a swipe at Blaze’s nose. If only I had my camera with me at that time to take a photo of the look on Blaze’s face. 😉 That taught Blaze and from that day on, he never howled at Monkey again! He loves Monkey 😊
We are always grateful for their compassion, understanding and genuine care not only to our fur babies, but to us too. Thank you all for your continued dedication, love and support.

Canine Journal

RSPCA Victoria


Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.