Easter is almost upon us which means more chocolate finds its way into our households. Whilst this might make us happy, it can be very dangerous for our four-legged friends. 


Your dogs will always have their eyes on the prize! A piece of chocolate left on the side, an opportunity to grab some off the table or children simply sharing their chocolate as they don’t know any better. It is really important that we remember that certain foods can be extremely toxic to our dogs. 

With us being at home more than ever, it is important to ensure that these foods are kept out of reach of our dogs to avoid any problems. If young children tend to feed the dog at the table or whilst watching tv try to discourage them from giving them the toxic foods below, especially chocolate. 


If you suspect your dog has ingested any toxic ingredients seek veterinarian attention immediately.


  • Chocolate and cocoa powder contain a chemical called theobromine which if ingested in high enough quantities can affect the heart and nervous systems of your dog.  

  • The symptoms start within 6 hours and would include restlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, high temperature, tremors, convulsions and heart failure.

  • The size of your dog, the type of chocolate consumed and the amount of chocolate are the deciding factors on the affects it will have on your dog.

       Grapes and Raisins

  • Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and possibly death.

  • The toxic agent remains unknown but symptoms of poisoning would include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal tenderness, loss of appetite and lethargy and can show themselves within a few hours of consumption

       Onions and Garlic

  • Onions and Garlic contain a compound in it that causes Haemolytic anaemia, the condition destroys the red blood cells in your dog.

  • Symptoms of poisoning are anaemia, weakness, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea and liver damage.

  •  Onions are more toxic than garlic

  • Although the exact quantities are not known it is thought that the small amount of the ingredients that are used to flavour human meals are generally safe. Having said that we would not recommend giving any onions or garlic to your dog just to be on the safe side.


  • Alcohol contains a chemical called ethanol which damages the central nervous system and respiratory stress.

  • Symptoms of alcohol poisoning would include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness and coma.

  • A couple of measures of whiskey could be enough to cause poisoning in a small dog.

  • Alcohol is absorbed very quickly into the system so it is important to seek veterinarian attention as quickly as possible.

       Macadamia Nuts

·   Macadamia nuts contain and unknown compound that can make your dog very ill.

·   Although generally not fatal, symptoms would include weakness, lethargy, joint/muscle pain and collapse.

Caffeinated items

  • Coffee, tea etc contain caffeine that can affect the central nervous and cardiac systems in your dog

  • Symptoms of caffeine poisoning would be vomiting, restlessness and heart palpitations.


  • Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

  • It can be found in items such as chewing gum, toothpaste and lozenges.

  • Symptoms could include weakness, depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

       Fruit stones and seeds

  • The stones and seeds of apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums have a compound in them called cyanide which is poisonous if swallowed.

  • Symptoms of poisoning would include weakness, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, apnea, seizures and coma.

      Other foodstuffs to avoid

  • Rotten or Mouldy foods - Contains toxins that can make your dog very ill

  • Avocados - the fruit, pip and plant contain a compound called persin with is toxic to dogs. Symptoms would include vomiting, diarrhoea and it could cause damage to cells in the heart

  • Cooked Bones - They could splinter and tear your dog’s internal organs

  • Salt - In large quantities can cause an electrolyte imbalance which can cause neurological problems.

  • Foods high in fat and sugar - Foods that are high in fat and sugar can contribute to a number of problems in your dog ranging from obesity, diabetes to dental problems.

       Spring Bulbs

  • Daffodils are poisonous to dogs if they eat the bulbs or flowers, or drink water from a vase with daffodils in

  • Tulips can irritate your dogs mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Normally they will only experience drooling, being sick and diarrhoea, but heart problems and difficulty breathing are also signs of tulip poisoning

  • Other plans and flowers, fruit and vegetables listed below are also best avoided to dogs – Apples (pips), Apricots (kernel), Azalea, Bluebells, Buttercups, Cyclamen (root), Elderberry

  • Foxglove (leaves and seed), Hyacinth (bulbs), Ivy (whole plant), Lupin (leaves, seeds), Peach (stones and Leaves), Rhododendron, Rhubard (leaves), Sweetpea (stem), Wild Cherry Tree (Twigs and Foliage), Yew (berries and foliage


     ***Please note that because of practical reasons not every foodstuff that has a harmful effect on your dog has been listed here. If you have any concerns about feeding your dog a particular food or your dog has eaten something you are not sure about please contact your vet***



Posted: April 8, 2020