Puppy Safety: Food!

November 2, 2022

Puppy in a "down" at home

Puppies have a way of getting into everything! While you might think that if it’s safe for you, it’s safe for your dog, that’s not always the case. Here are the top foods that can be harmful to your pup to keep everyone safe this holiday season.

Harmful foods


You may have heard about the harmful effects of chocolate on dogs. The reason is due to the theobromine and theophylline, both present in chocolate. These stimulants can cause vomiting, seizures, and heart problems in dogs if ingested. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, but white chocolate does contain these too. The amount of chocolate ingested and the size of the dog can impact the toxicity, but always contact your vet if your dog gets ahold of some chocolate. 

Raisins and grapes 

Many people do not realize how deadly grapes and raisins can be for dogs. They can cause severe kidney damage even if only a little is ingested. Contact your vet or emergency services immediately if you know that your dog has eaten either. 

Bones and fat trimmings 

There is nothing that tugs at the heartstrings more than big puppy dog eyes as you eat your meal. You may be tempted to give in and give them your steak or rib bone, but it is vitally important that you don’t. While we don’t want begging at the table at any time, giving your dog cooked bones and fat trimmings can be extremely dangerous. They are more fragile than raw bones and so are more prone to splinter and break which can lead to pieces getting lodged in your dog’s digestive tract. This can lead to punctures or blockages and a big vet bill. Fatty pieces can also be too much for your pup to digest and can lead to pancreatitis and can potentially be lethal. It’s best to ignore the begging and dispose of these tempting things out of reach of your furry friend. 


This is an artificial sweetener found in some candy and peanut butter brands. While it is safe for humans, it can be deadly for dogs. Xylitol causes blood sugar levels to drop and can cause liver failure. When you give your pet a tasty peanut butter treat, it’s good to double-check the ingredients list first. 

Macadamia nuts and black walnuts 

All nuts should be given sparingly to pups because of their salt and fat contents and the risk of blockages, but it is good to avoid macadamia nuts and black walnuts altogether. Both of these varieties are toxic to dogs. They are high in phosphorous and may cause bladder stones or urinary problems. Macadamia nuts also contain an unknown toxin that has been shown to cause neurological problems.

Garlic and onions 

Garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family have health benefits for humans but are toxic to dogs. When ingested by dogs, toxic N-propyl disulfide can destroy red blood cells. Onion and garlic powder can be even more concentrated and harmful. They are common in many ingredient lists, so read them carefully before letting your pup have some human food. 

Peach pits, plumb pits, cherry pits, and apple cores 

While peaches, plumbs, cherries, and apple slices can be a delicious treat for your pup, make sure that you don’t give them pits or cores. Peach, plum, and cherry pits, along with apple seeds all have cyanide in them which can be deadly for people and dogs. Cherry stems and leaves also contain cyanide. Humans usually don’t eat these, but a very curious dog might.

Raw potato skins 

When peeling potatoes, be careful not to let your pup pick up the scraps. Raw potato skins have solanine, a toxic compound that can cause GI upset and pain. These are not deadly to dogs, but it’s best to avoid upset stomachs altogether and just throw out all scraps. 


Dogs are much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than humans. All dogs, and small dogs especially, can be negatively affected. Even small amounts can cause severe damage to the liver. Keep your pups away from all alcohol even if they are of age in dog years! 


Pumpkin spice everything seems to sweep the nation every fall. Cinnamon is beneficial for dogs, and pumpkin is a great fiber-filled healthy option, but nutmeg can be toxic. Nutmeg contains myristicin and can cause hallucinations in dogs. Large doses of nutmeg could even be fatal to dogs so make sure to always read the ingredients.

Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants

Unripe tomatoes and all tomato plant parts (stems and leaves) have the two toxins solanine and tomatine. These toxins are extremely dangerous for dogs. Ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs in moderation but all green parts of the plant are poisonous and part of the nightshade family. 


Dogs, especially smaller dogs, are more affected by caffeine than humans. Caffeine toxicity can happen in all animals, but it takes much less caffeine to affect dogs. Because it is a stimulant, in high doses it can raise the heart rate, raise blood pressure, and even lead to arrhythmias. Make sure to keep your dogs away from all drinks with caffeine in them, but also coffee grounds in the trash. 


Persin is a fungal toxin that causes gastrointestinal distress and can be found in the leaves, skin, pit, and fruit of the avocado. Dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals but it is safer to keep any part of the avocado plant away from them. 

Knowing what your dog can’t eat is important, but what about the fruits and veggies they can eat?

Safe fruits for dogs:

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries 
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Mango 
  • Oranges 
  • Pears 
  • Pineapple 
  • Raspberries 
  • Strawberries 
  • Watermelon 

Safe veggies for dogs:

  • Broccoli 
  • Carrots 
  • Celery 
  • Green beans 
  • Peas 
  • Spinach