The 10 Worst Foods for Your Dog

We knew about chocolate and steak fat but raisins and sugarless gum?


Nov 03, 2011, 09:00 ET from Kroger

CINCINNATI, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Attention all responsible dog owners, including owners of a particular kind of Labrador retriever: chocolate refers to a Lab's coloring, and not what you should be feeding it.  In fact, according to veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates, chocolate is one of the major no-nos in a canine's diet.

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"I think it's common knowledge that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is toxic to dogs," says Dr. Coates.  "It contains methylxanthines, which affect the GI and nervous system and the heart.  If a good-sized dog chows down on only one piece, he likely will be just fine, maybe a bit hyper, but okay.  Even so, it's not a good idea to be feeding chocolate to your dogs."

While chocolate and other favorite snacks are safe – and even nutritious – for humans, here are some surprisingly dangerous foods for dogs:

  • Grapes and raisins. A great, nutritious snack for the kids, but they can cause kidney failure in dogs.  Instead of tossing grapes to test a dog's gobbling skills, try baby carrots.
  • Sugar-free gum and candy.  It may be okay for four out of five dentists, but five out of five vets say "no way." So keep sugarless gum and candy containing xylitol in a safe place where your curious friend can't sniff them out.  This type of artificial sweetener can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.
  • Avocados.  While avocados are often recommended by pediatricians as a first fruit for babies for their nutrients and texture, dogs should not be underneath the highchair when an avocado is served. For dogs, avocados contain a toxic principle called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  Some vets also caution against avocados because of their fat content, leading to weight gain in dogs and the uphill battle to prevent pet obesity.
  • Macadamia nuts. The toxic element for dogs in macadamia nuts has not been identified, but canines that eat large amounts can experience vomiting, lethargy, weakness and even hind-end paralysis.
  • Onions and garlic. Bad breath aside, onions and garlic are bad for dogs in any form – raw, cooked, even in powdered forms.  They contain sulfoxides, which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells if fed in large enough amounts.
  • Fatty foods. If you haven't gotten the memo, the days of feeding fatty table scraps – from steak, ham, chicken – are over.  They can cause pancreatitis in dogs, leading to pain, nausea and diarrhea.  It can even be fatal.

"Accidents happen, and should your dog eat something that it shouldn't, don't panic, but let your veterinarian know right away what was ingested and any symptoms you are noticing," Dr. Coates says.  "There are typically treatments that will help the situation – some which can be very expensive – but time is of the essence."

For those concerned about the costs of such unexpected trips to the vet, one way to avoid the worry of unpredictable veterinary bills is to consider dog insurance.  

Pet insurance plans, such as those offered through KPF Insurance Services LLC, an affiliate of The Kroger Company, and underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation, start at less than $10 per month and can provide pet owners with peace of mind when illness or injury occurs. 

"What is nice about owners who have pet insurance is that they can put all of their focus into helping their pets get better and not have to wonder, 'what's all this going to cost?'" Dr. Coates says.

About Kroger and Pet Insurance

One of the nation's most popular retailers of pet foods, pet medicines and other pet-related products, Kroger helps provide for the care of its customers' four-legged family members. KPF Insurance Services LLC, an affiliate of The Kroger Co., has partnered with PetFirst Healthcare to offer pet insurance underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation. More information is available at    

About Kroger

Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,439 supermarkets and multi- department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 788 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,046 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit