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Toxic Food & Plants for Dogs

Toxic Food & Plants for Dogs

You may have heard that many foods can poison your dog, but did you know many plants are toxic to dogs as well? Today, our vets in Mechanicsburg discuss a list of toxic food, treats, and plants for dogs.

Dogs and Human Food

Dogs are clever. Sometimes they embrace things, like human food, they shouldn't. Thus, it's important to understand which of the foods we enjoy are toxic to dogs. 

A dog doesn't digest food the way a human does. That's why some things that are harmless to humans can be deadly to dogs. 

Foods You Should Never Give Your Dog

This list is a summary of some of the most common foods toxic to dogs. It is not a comprehensive list. To find out more about which foods are toxic to dogs, speak to your Mechanicsburg vet.

Garlic, Onions, Shallots, and Chives

Garlic, onions, shallots, and chives are toxic to dogs, whether raw or cooked. They have substances that may cause anemia and damage red blood cells. Signs of illness may take several days to manifest. 


Xylitol, an artificial sweetener in chewing gum, can cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, liver failure, and hypoglycemia. These can lead to loss of consciousness or even death in extreme cases.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system. Your dog can suffer weakness, swollen limbs, and panting.


Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has a stimulant called theobromine which can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones splinter and can cause the gut to perforate. This can cause peritonitis or even death. So while not necessarily toxic to dogs, you should take care to never feed them cooked bones.

What plants can poison my dog?

Many plants can make your dog sick and can be deadly. You should always keep them from chewing on any plants or vegetation outside. What can be safe and beautiful for you can be toxic for your dog.

Below, our vets list some of the plants toxic to your dog. If your dog does eat any of these, bring them to our emergency animal hospital in Mechanicsburg.


Milkweed is a beautiful plant, but it can have severe effects on your dog's health. It causes rapid or weak pulse, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, and even death.


Mistletoe is found in many homes during the winter holidays, but if you have a dog, you should beware. Mistletoe causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling. In severe cases, it causes collapse, seizures, abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, and in some serious cases, death. 


Foxglove can have serious effects on your dog. But the severity of the symptoms can vary based on how much foxglove your dog eats. These symptoms can include tremors, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, heart failure, and death.


Tulips are one of the most popular spring flowers. If you are a dog owner, however, we suggest keeping tulips out of your yard. The petals on tulips upset your dog's stomach, and the bulb is even more toxic. It can cause an upset stomach, loss of appetite, and depression.

Treating Poisoned Dogs

Treatment for your dog will depend on the food or plant they ate. The treatments your vet could perform include:

  • Antidotes (if one is available for the specific plant)
  • Stomach pumping
  • Induced vomiting

Always call your vet as soon as you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic. Your veterinarian will give you instructions on what you should do to help your pet while you are on your way to the clinic. Do not induce vomiting unless a veterinarian tells you to.

Contact us immediately if you believe your dog is showing signs of poisoning or if you believe they have eaten something they shouldn't have.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center you never need an appointment to access our full complement of emergency services. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

Contact Us

Contact (717) 796-2334