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Every responsible dog owner wants to keep their pet healthy and ensure they have a long and happy life. However, some food and treats can jeopardize your pet’s well-being, no matter how healthy your furry friend is. We’ve put together a guide to teach pet parents what food to avoid for dogs.

Penny Paws is one of the leading animal clinics in Texas. We provide first-class health care to pets to ensure they live happy and healthy lives for years to come. Our team has helped countless animal lovers improve their pet’s health, and we can do the same for you!

What to Avoid Feeding Your Puppy

Knowing what to avoid feeding your puppy ensures they grow into happy, healthy dogs. 

Giving your furry friend table scraps or leftovers can be tempting, but some foods can do more harm than good. Below are a few foods to avoid for dogs and puppies.

Chocolate and Coffee

When people ask what foods are poisonous to dogs, chocolate is often the first to come to mind. Chocolate, coffee, and numerous caffeinated drinks and treats contain methylxanthine, a substance commonly found in cacao seeds. Although methylxanthine isn’t toxic to humans (unless ingested in high amounts), it is exceedingly harmful to our furry friends.

The substance can cause numerous health problems in pets, including but not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Death

Note that dark chocolate contains more methylxanthines than milk or white chocolate, making it exceptionally dangerous for dogs. If your canine ingests chocolate or coffee, contact your veterinarian immediately for emergency services.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are some of the most crucial food to avoid for dogs because they can cause a dog’s kidneys to fail. Although scientists haven’t discovered what grape and raisin toxin triggers kidney failure in pets, experts advise against giving them to dogs to avoid potential health risks.


Nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds contain excess oils and fats that can irritate a dog’s stomach and pancreas if ingested. They often cause vomiting and diarrhea, but pancreatitis can also develop in extreme cases.

Although every nut can negatively affect your dog’s health, macadamias are the most dangerous. Macadamia nuts cause depression, weakness, vomiting, hyperthermia, and tremors in dogs, usually appearing within 12 hours after ingestion. 

Garlic, Onions, and Chives

Although many people regularly eat garlic, onions, and chives, they can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation in pets. These everyday household ingredients can also generate anemia and red blood cell damage, making them essential foods to avoid for dogs. Although garlic, onions, and chives adversely affect cats more than dogs, they can still impact canines if consumed in large amounts.

Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

Many people assume dog food contains healthy ingredients that won’t adversely impact the well-being of our canine friends. However, some dog food and treat companies cut corners and include unhealthy substances in their products that can reduce a dog’s wellness. Below are the dog food ingredients to avoid when purchasing your furry friend’s food.

Meat Meal

Although meat meal does include some protein, it consists of dead and diseased animal scraps that contain limited nutrition.

Companies create meat meal by melting the fat off leftover animal parts and cooking the remaining remnants. This practice allows manufacturers to expand their products with innutritious filler that can negatively impact our pets. Double-check that your dog food and treats don’t contain meat meal to keep your dog healthy and sound.


Melamine is a dangerous plastic many dog food manufacturers use to imitate protein. Despite its widespread use, melamine is incredibly toxic for pets and leads to kidney failure and even death if consumed in large doses. The harmful substance caused a massive dog food recall in 2007, considered one the worst in United States history.

Although studies show melamine is exceedingly harmful to dogs, manufacturers continue to use it in their products. The U.S. government doesn’t mandate melamine testing, so avoid dog treats or food containing the toxic ingredient.

What Ingredients Should be in Dog Treats?

Many pet parents find themselves asking if pet treats are unhealthy. Although some dog treats contain toxins and harmful substances, others contain wholesome ingredients that can improve your four-legged friend’s health. Try to find treats containing the following.


Organic cranberry dog treats contain numerous nutritious ingredients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. They benefit a dog’s urinary tract and help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and more.


Carrots contain fiber and vitamin A that can benefit your dog’s eyesight and dental health. They are especially beneficial to older dogs more prone to vision deficiencies and other health issues. 


Pumpkin helps dogs’ digestive tract and contains high levels of fiber and beta-carotene. Dogs love the taste of pumpkin and thoroughly enjoy any treat loaded with the unique fruit.

However, you must ensure your dog treats contain pure pumpkin mash without sugar or additives. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can poison dogs and cause numerous health issues. 

Contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic for Outstanding Pet Health Care in Texas

Penny Paws is your source for high-quality pet care and veterinary services in Texas. Our team will teach you what food to avoid for dogs so that your furry friend remains happy and healthy throughout their life. We have vast experience helping pets of all shapes, ages, and sizes, qualifying us for all your pets’ healthcare needs.

If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health, call your nearest Penny Paws today!