Beagle eating from red bowl

Foods to Avoid

Aww, just look at those big eyes, how can you possibly resist?

Dogs have an innate ability to wrap us around their little claws, and before we know it we’re offering them the best bits from our own plate. But unless you’ve got the inside scoop on the right and wrong foods to feed your dog, this can lead to potential medical problems and illness.

Nutrition and weight problems

Most foods don’t cause problems for most dogs. However, there are a few villains out there, such as table scraps, other home-cooked food and poor quality dog foods. Many are very fatty and low on nutrition, which leads to an inbalanced diet and obesity.

Dangerous foods to never give your puppy

Here are some common foods that should never be offered to your dog, as they can cause big problems.


  • Eating excessive onions can cause red blood cells to “burst” and lead to anaemia in your dog (what we call haemolytic anaemia)
  • It’s easy for a dog to eat a lot of onions - especially off a momentarily unmanned BBQ!


  • Excessive amounts of chocolate can cause overstimulation of your dog and lead to seizures, convulsions, hyperactivity or even death by toxicity to the heart
  • Dogs can die from a heart attack as a result of eating too much chocolate
  • The danger is the amount of cocoa consumed relative to the size of your dog
  • Cocoa is especially high in dark chocolates, pure cocoa powder, dark chocolate cakes, etc.
  • Feeding a small amount of milk chocolate occasionally is unlikely to harm your dog, but they will acquire a taste for chocolate
  • Be especially careful around festive seasons where chocolate is rampant
  • At Easter many dogs end up eating chocolate Easter eggs, foil and all!

Macadamia nuts

  • In some dogs, neurological signs such as muscle spasms, unco-ordination, collapsing can occur
  • Exactly what macadamia nut toxins do is still not very well understood

Raisins and grapes

  • In some dogs, renal failure has been known to occur
  • How this occurs is largely unknown

Fatty foods

  • Can cause obesity
  • In some dogs (usually overweight older dogs), a syndrome called pancreatitis can occur after a fatty meal, where the pancreas becomes inflamed
  • Inflammation results in the release of enzymes within the pancreas, surrounding area and blood stream
  • Not only is this extremely painful but, in some cases, complications can develop and lead to death.

Foreign bodies (corn cobs, skewers, string)

  • Be careful with the garbage, and never offer your dog food from a skewer. They will often eat the entire skewer, which can pierce through the gut wall, causing a lot of pain and severe consequences
  • Corn cobs often get stuck in the small intestines and have to be surgically retrieved
  • Cooking strings used to tie up a roast often smell very attractive, but they can get stuck in the intestines, bunch up tightly and rip through the intestinal wall
  • Plenty of other “foreign bodies” have been retrieved from dog’s intestines, so always be careful about what you offer your dog, and how you dispose of any edible garbage.

When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for your puppy is feed them a premium brand of dog food, and dog food only!

Pica – eating non-food items

Some dogs will eat just about anything they can get their teeth into, including unnatural objects such as lolly wrappers, toilet paper and or socks. Not only is it a nuisance around the house, but swallowing non-food particles can pose a serious threat to the health of your dog.

Grass eating

Plenty of dogs enjoy nothing more on a sunny day than lazing out in the backyard playing grazing cow. Grass looks good, smells sweet and is just sitting there, so you’d be mad not to eat it, right? However, sometimes dogs eat grass when they’re not feeling well - to throw up, or at least try to.

While this is all perfectly natural, you need to be aware that many pesticides/herbicides used on grass contain chemicals that may be dangerous to your dog’s health.

Download fact sheet

To download a fact sheet with our list of foods to avoid, click here (PDF, 200kb).