Sometimes you simply can’t resist giving in to those big, round puppy dog eyes! Sometimes it is impossible not to feed your dog people food, but be warned! Know what kinds of people food are unsafe for pets before hand!

If your dog had her way, she’d probably be eating from a plate at the table with you. But, thankfully, a few well-chosen table scraps in her bowl should do the trick. Just remember the old adage: what’s good for the dog person isn’t always good for the dog (okay, we made that up, but it’s true).

Certain people-food favorites can harm your dog’s health in a big way. In fact, of the 130,000 calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 2007, most cases of animal poisoning were caused by common human foods and household items. That’s why it’s important to keep the numbers of a 24-hour vet handy, just in case. For a listing of 24-hour emergency pet resources in the Bay Area, visit – and for a complete list of bad news foods for dogs, check out the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control website. For the cheat sheet, read on: 

Don’t be a Nut.

If you’re planning on serving mixed nuts for company, make sure they’re out of pup range. Especially, the highly toxic walnuts and macadamia nuts. The effects of nuts on a dog’s nervous system are deadly. From vomiting to paralysis to death, dogs can develop symptoms within 12 hours of eating nuts.

Pass on the Grapes & Raisins.

It’s hard to believe that a single serving of raisins or grapes can lead to kidney failure and even death in a dog. But the effects are cumulative. So even if a dog eats a few grapes or raisins over time, the toxins build up in his system.

Hold the Onions.

Not a safe choice for dogs, the cumulative effects of onions can cause destruction of the animal’s red blood cells. Dogs can experience anemia, breathing problems and weakness after repeated consumption of onions.

No Go for Avocado.

Pitch that leftover guacamole and spare your dog the heart, lung and tissue damage it can cause. The culprit is persin, a component of avocado that’s safe for people and toxic to dogs.

Say No No to Cocoa.

Chocolate of any kind is seriously dangerous for dogs, but dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially toxic. Ignore those pleading eyes as you pass around the chocolate cake or spread on that chocolate icing. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause a pet’s heart to race and even death in large quantities.

Don’t Share Your Candy.

Sweet to you, toxic to pups, candy and gum can contain Xylitol. This common sweetener found in some diet products can result in a sudden drop in an animal’s blood sugar. This can lead to loss of coordination, seizures and the worst if not promptly treated.

Skip the Caffeine.

Any coffee, tea or caffeinated product is not safe for dogs’ central nervous and cardiac systems. Spare your pup any restlessness and heart palpitations – don’t let him near your morning joe.

The Scoop:

Despite precautions, accidents do happen. Be sure to keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline number handy. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (888) 426-4435

More information

APCC Archive – Which Foods are Good and Bad for your Pets

Thanks to Chris for the photo.

Originally published January 2011, reviewed and updated July 2017