Bad Dog Food

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?


Question: Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?

Verdict: No

Verdict Explanation: Walnuts are a nutritious snack for humans, but for dogs the risks outweigh the rewards. Black walnuts seem to be particularly toxic and walnuts in general are susceptible to a type of mold containing tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can result in vomiting, tremors, or worse. If you want to give your pup nuts, opt for safe alternatives like peanuts or cashews.

The Dangers of Walnuts for Dogs

Walnuts contain high levels of fat that can lead to gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis in dogs. The high fat content can also contribute to obesity and other metabolic problems if consumed in excess.

In addition, walnuts are susceptible to a type of toxic black mold that can produce compounds harmful to dogs, potentially causing tremors, seizures, and even liver damage. A specific variety called the black walnut is especially toxic to canines.

The hard shells of walnuts also pose a serious choking hazard, particularly for smaller dogs, and can potentially cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.

Preparing Walnuts for Dogs

Even if the walnuts are thoroughly cleaned, cooked, and dried to remove any potential mold, experts still advise against feeding them to dogs. The risks generally outweigh any potential benefits.

Other Nut Considerations

While walnuts are particularly problematic, many other tree nuts like almonds, macadamia nuts, and pecans can also be unsafe for dogs due to high fat content, toxins, or choking hazards. Peanuts, which are legumes, may be a safer occasional treat in moderation.

Lesser-Known Walnut Facts

Interestingly, dogs seem to be more susceptible to walnut toxicity than other animals like cats or horses. And while walnut allergies are rare in dogs, they can occur, leading to anaphylactic reactions in some cases.

Can Dogs Eat Peaches?


Question: Can Dogs Eat Peaches?

Verdict: Yes, but remove the pit first.

Verdict Explanation: While peaches can be a safe and enjoyable treat for dogs in moderation, pet owners must take precautions to remove any potentially toxic or dangerous parts of the fruit, such as the pit.

The Benefits of Peaches for Dogs

Peaches are packed with vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants that can provide health benefits for dogs. In moderation, the fiber in peaches can also aid digestion. However, the high sugar content means peaches should be fed as an occasional treat, not a dietary staple.

Potential Risks of Peaches for Dogs

While the flesh of peaches is generally safe, the pit, leaves, and stems contain trace amounts of cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. The pit is also a choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.

Additionally, the high sugar and fiber content of peaches can lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, or other issues if consumed in excess. Diabetic or overweight dogs should especially avoid peaches due to the sugar content.

Preparing Peaches for Dogs

To safely feed peaches to dogs, owners should:

  • Wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any pesticides or chemicals.
  • Remove the pit, stem, and leaves completely.
    • Optional: peach skin, while not toxic, can be hard for dogs to digest and may cause stomach upset in some dogs. Therefore, peeling the peach can be a safer option.
  • Cut the peach flesh into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.
  • Offer peaches in moderation as an occasional treat, not a regular part of the diet.

Other Considerations

Canned or preserved peaches are not recommended, as they often contain added sugars, citric acid, and other additives that can be harmful to dogs. The same goes for peach-flavored products. Frozen peach pieces can make a refreshing summer snack, but owners should still monitor their dog’s reaction.

Can Dogs Eat Onions?


Question: Can Dogs Eat Onions?

Verdict: No, they are toxic for dogs.

Verdict Explanation: While onions are a common ingredient in human cuisine, they pose a serious threat to our pups. According to multiple research studies, onions are toxic to dogs and should never be fed to them, whether raw, cooked, powdered, or in any other form.

The Dangers of Onions for Dogs

Onions, as well as other plants in the Allium genus like garlic, leeks, and chives, contain a compound called N-propyl disulfide that can damage a dog’s red blood cells. This can lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia, where the dog’s red blood cells break down faster than they can be replaced.

Symptoms of onion toxicity in dogs can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pale gums, rapid breathing, and even organ damage or failure in severe cases. The toxic effects can take several days to manifest, so prompt veterinary care is crucial if a dog is known to have ingested onions.

Cooked vs. Raw Onions

Whether raw or cooked, all forms of onions are considered unsafe for dogs. In fact, dried onion powder and onion-containing seasonings can be even more concentrated in the toxic compounds. So dogs should never be fed onions, whether they are part of a homemade meal or a commercial pet food.

Other Lesser-Known Onion Facts

  • Onion toxicity can affect all breeds of dogs, though some may be more susceptible due to genetic factors or existing health conditions.
  • Even small amounts of onion can be dangerous, with as little as 0.5% of a dog’s body weight in onions potentially causing issues.
  • Onion powder, often found in pre-packaged foods and seasonings, is more potent than fresh onions and thus even more dangerous to dogs.
  • Onions are not the only Allium plants that are toxic to dogs – garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots also pose similar risks.

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?


Question: Can Dogs Safely Eat Nuts?

Verdict: Dependent on the type of nut (see table below for quick reference), and even for safe nuts, in moderation.

Verdict Explanation: While nuts can be a healthy snack for humans, the same is not always true for our canine companions. Dogs can safely eat certain types of nuts in small quantities, such as peanuts, but many nuts like macadamia, walnuts, pecans, and almonds pose health risks and should be avoided. Due to potential hazards like choking, intestinal blockage, and toxicity, as well as high fat content that can lead to pancreatitis, it’s generally advisable to keep nuts out of your dog’s diet and opt for safer, more suitable treats.

Potential Risks of Nuts for Dogs

  • Nuts are generally high in fat, which can lead to pancreatitis and obesity in dogs if consumed in large quantities.
  • Certain nuts like macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts contain toxins that can be dangerous or even fatal to dogs.
    • Symptoms of nut toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia (elevated body temperature).
  • The hard shells of some nuts pose a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. 
  • Dogs can potentially develop allergic reactions to nuts, similar to humans.

Safe Nut Options for Dogs

  • Peanuts and cashews are generally considered the safest nuts for dogs when fed in moderation and without added salt or seasonings.
    • A general guideline is no more than 1-2 small, unsalted nuts per day for a medium-sized dog. Portion sizes should be even smaller for smaller breeds.
  • Unsalted, dry roasted or raw peanuts can provide protein and nutrients, but should still be limited.
  • Peanut butter is also a safer option, as long as it does not contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

This table is a quick reference to whether a particular nut is safe for dogs or not.

Cooking Considerations

  • Cooking nuts, such as by baking or roasting them, can help reduce the risk of digestive issues for dogs.
  • However, even cooked nuts should still be fed sparingly, as the high fat content can still cause problems. 
  • Nuts incorporated into baked goods, trail mixes, or other human foods should be avoided, as the additional ingredients may be harmful to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Nuts with Shells?

  • No, dogs should not be given nuts with the shells still on. The hard shells pose a serious choking hazard and can also cause intestinal blockages or punctures if swallowed.
  • Shells are indigestible for dogs and provide no nutritional value. They should always be removed before feeding any type of nut to a dog.

Can Dogs Eat Nut-Based Products, Like Almond Milk or Peanut Oil?

  • Nut-derived products like almond milk or peanut oil are generally safe for dogs in small amounts, but should be given with caution.

Other Lesser-Known Facts

  • Dogs seem to have a higher tolerance for peanuts compared to other nuts, likely due to their similar protein structure to dog food ingredients.
  • Nut allergies, while uncommon, can occur in dogs, so owners should watch for signs of an allergic reaction when introducing a new nut.
  • Providing a varied, balanced diet is best for dogs, and nuts should only be given as an occasional treat, not a dietary staple. 

Can Dogs Eat Grapes or Raisins?

Grapes, Raisins, and Currants are Toxic for Dogs.


Question: Can Dogs Eat Grapes or Raisins?

Verdict: No

Verdict Explanation: Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs, with the potential to cause acute kidney failure regardless of the fruit’s type, cooking, or quantity. Owners should avoid feeding these fruits to their dogs entirely and seek immediate veterinary care if accidental ingestion occurs.

The Dangers of Grapes and Raisins for Dogs: What Research Shows

  • While grapes and raisins are healthy snacks for humans, they pose a serious threat to our canine companions. Multiple research studies have shown that these seemingly innocuous fruits can be highly toxic to dogs, potentially leading to acute kidney failure.
  • Both grapes and raisins, regardless of their type or form, have been consistently reported to cause acute kidney failure in dogs – whether seedless, seeded, green, red, organic or conventionally grown – all grapes and raisins pose a threat.
  • Even small amounts can be dangerous, and there is no known safe quantity, as dogs seem to have individual sensitivities.

The Toxic Threat

  • The exact reason why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs remains a mystery, but scientists have identified some potential culprits. Recent studies suggest that compounds like tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate may be the primary toxins responsible for the dangerous effects.

What About Grapes or Raisins that Have Been Processed into Different Forms?

  • Cooking the grapes or raisins does not make them any safer for dogs to consume. The toxic compounds remain present even after the fruit has been heated or processed.
  • Grape jellies, juices and wines also contain these harmful substances and should be avoided.
  • Raisins may actually be more dangerous than grapes, as the dehydration process can concentrate the toxic compounds.

Symptoms of Grape/Raisin Toxicity

  • Dogs that ingest grapes or raisins may exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and signs of kidney failure, such as decreased urination and abdominal pain. Prompt veterinary treatment is crucial.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?


Question: Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Verdict: Yes

Verdict Explanation: Fish can be a healthy and nutritious part of a dog’s diet when chosen and prepared correctly. Opting for small, low-mercury fish and cooking it properly can provide the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and protein while minimizing risks.

Benefits of Fish for Dogs

  • Fish is a valuable protein source rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can decrease inflammation and provide protection against cancer in dogs. Including cooked fish in moderation can be beneficial for your pet’s overall health. 
  • Fish allergies in dogs are less common compared to other animals, making fish a suitable protein source for pets with food sensitivities. Including a variety of fish in your dog’s diet can provide essential nutrients like vitamin D, B12, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and protein.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential for reducing inflammation and supporting cognitive function.

Types of Fish Safe for Dogs

  • Certain types of fish like anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines, whitefish, and cod are considered safe for dogs to consume. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, making them ideal choices for your pet’s diet.

Risks with Larger Fish

  • Larger fish, such as tuna and swordfish, may contain higher mercury levels, posing a risk of mercury poisoning over time.

Fish Preparations and Other Considerations

  • It is not recommended to feed dogs raw fish due to the potential risks associated with bacteria like salmonella and parasites. There’s also the risk of thiamine deficiency, as some raw fish contain enzymes that break down thiamine, an essential B vitamin. Cooking fish eliminates these risks.
  • Avoid feeding fish with bones, canned fish with high salt content, or fried fish as they can pose health risks to dogs. Additionally, certain types of fish like tuna, mahi-mahi, and mackerel are high in histamine and may not be suitable for dogs with mast cell cancer.
  • While fish can be beneficial, it should not constitute the entirety of a dog’s diet. Over-reliance on fish can lead to nutritional imbalances.

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?


Question: Can dogs eat eggs?

Verdict: Yes, but moderation is key.

Verdict Explanation: Eggs are safe for dogs to consume and offer numerous health benefits, serving as a high-quality protein source abundant in essential amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins. However, moderation should be used as too many eggs could lead to side effects such as pancreatitis in some dogs.

Unscrambling the Facts

  • Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins (A, B12, D), minerals (iron, phosphorus, selenium, zinc), and essential fatty acids that support a dog’s health.
  • Studies have shown eggs may help settle a dog’s upset stomach and can even reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and obesity when included in a balanced diet.

Raw vs Cooked Eggs

  • Veterinarians generally advise against feeding raw eggs to dogs due to the risk of salmonella and E. coli infections. Cooking the eggs reduces this risk. 
  • Raw egg whites contain an enzyme called avidin that can interfere with biotin absorption and lead to deficiencies, especially with large amounts. Cooking eggs neutralizes avidin, reducing the risk of biotin deficiency and eliminating bacteria, making cooked eggs a safer choice for dogs.

Digestibility and Nutritional Impact

  • Research indicates that eggs are highly digestible and can be a valuable protein source in canine diets, supporting overall health and condition.
  • Are eggshells safe for dogs?
    • Eggshells can be a good source of calcium and other minerals but should be ground into a fine powder to avoid the risk of choking or intestinal blockage.

What about the risk of allergies?

  • While eggs are generally safe, some dogs might be allergic to them. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, swelling, and gastrointestinal upset.

Moderation is Key

  • Eggs should be fed to dogs in moderation as a supplement, not as a replacement for their regular balanced diet. Too many eggs can cause issues like weight gain or pancreatitis in some dogs. 
  • The recommended amount varies by the dog’s size, weight, and health status, so it’s best to consult a veterinarian before regularly feeding eggs.

Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?


Question: Can dogs safely eat mushrooms?

Verdict: Only certain varieties.

Verdict Explanation: Most of the common culinary mushrooms that are used in human cuisine are safe for dogs if cooked and served without any added toxic ingredients like garlic, onions, or heavy spices. See the table below for the most common safe mushrooms for dogs. There are also medicinal mushroom supplements that can be beneficial for dogs. Many wild mushrooms are poisonous to dogs, and dogs cannot reliably distinguish safe mushrooms from deadly ones.

Can Dogs Safely Eat Mushrooms?

  • Mushrooms are a diverse fungal group and vary widely in their safety and nutritional value for dogs. See table below for safe varieties.
  • Cooking edible mushrooms can make them easier to digest for dogs and reduce the risk of mild stomach upset.
  • Dogs should still only consume mushrooms in moderation, as the high fiber content can cause digestive upset.

These are mushrooms that are generally recognized as safe for dogs.


The Dangers of Wild Mushrooms

  • The biggest concern with dogs and mushrooms is the potential for poisoning from wild, toxic varieties. Veterinarians and mushroom experts agree that dogs cannot reliably distinguish safe mushrooms from deadly ones through smell or taste. 
  • Ingesting even a small amount of a toxic mushroom can have severe, potentially fatal consequences for dogs. Some of the most dangerous wild mushrooms for dogs include the death cap (Amanita phalloides), the destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera), and the autumn skullcap (Galerina marginata). 
  • These mushrooms can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, and liver/kidney failure.
  • Cooking does not destroy the toxins present in inherently poisonous mushrooms, which can remain lethal even after being cooked.
  • Many toxic mushrooms closely resemble edible varieties, making it risky for dog owners to pick wild mushrooms for their pets.
  • Symptom Delay:
    • In some cases, symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs may not appear immediately, complicating diagnosis and treatment.
    • If you suspect your dog has eaten wild mushrooms, contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic immediately, even if your dog shows no immediate symptoms.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Mushrooms?

  • Dogs can technically eat canned mushrooms, but it is not recommended. Canned mushrooms are often high in sodium and may contain preservatives or additives that are not suitable for dogs.

Medicinal Mushroom Supplements

  • Some research suggests that certain medicinal mushroom extracts, like those from reishi, cordyceps, and turkey tail, may offer health benefits for dogs when given in appropriate doses.
  • These extracts are typically better tolerated than raw or cooked mushrooms. However, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian before supplementing a dog’s diet with any mushroom products.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?


Question: Can dogs eat chocolate?

Verdict: No, but minimal risk with white chocolate.

Verdict Explanation: Chocolate is a well-known toxin for dogs, primarily due to its theobromine and caffeine content. These chemicals can have severe effects on dogs as they metabolize them differently than humans. The severity of chocolate poisoning in dogs depends on factors like the type of chocolate consumed, the amount ingested, the dog’s weight, and its sensitivity to these stimulants. See below for more details.

Types of Chocolate and Toxicity Levels

  • Dark Chocolate: Contains the highest concentration of theobromine, ranging from 130 to 450 milligrams per ounce, making it the most toxic for dogs.
  • Milk Chocolate: Contains lower theobromine levels, around 45 to 58 mg per ounce, posing a lesser threat compared to dark chocolate.
  • White Chocolate: Poses minimal risk with only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce.

Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity

  • Initial symptoms typically appear within 6 to 12 hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and even coma.
  • Severe cases can lead to irregular heart rate, reduced circulation, drop in body temperature, lethargy, and potentially death.

Research Studies and Findings

  1. A study analyzed data from the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) in the UK and found that dogs are four times more likely to be brought to a vet with suspected chocolate poisoning around Christmas compared to other times of the year.
  2. Another study analyzed 156 cases of dogs after chocolate ingestion. It found that dark and bitter chocolates were more commonly associated with clinical signs like agitation, tremors, vomiting, panting, polyuria/polydipsia, and diarrhea.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Treatment for chocolate toxicity involves inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal to prevent absorption of toxins. Prognosis is good if effective decontamination of the chocolate is done within 2-4 hours of ingestion.
  • Owners should ensure chocolate is kept out of reach of pets and be aware of the potential dangers associated with different types of chocolate.

Can Dogs Eat Bacon, Turkey Bacon, Canadian Bacon, or Bacon Grease?



Question: Can dogs eat bacon, turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, or bacon grease?

Verdict: Not recommended, but okay in moderation

Verdict Explanation: The savory aroma of bacon is irresistible to many, including our canine friends. However, since bacon is high in fat, salt, and preservatives like nitrates, that makes it a less-than-ideal choice for canine consumption.

Bacon and Canine Health

  • High Fat Content: Regular consumption of fatty foods like bacon can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, a serious and painful condition.
  • Salt and Preservatives: The sodium and preservatives in bacon, which make it tasty, can be harmful to dogs, leading to dehydration and an increased risk of heart disease.

Raw vs. Cooked Bacon

  • Both raw and cooked bacon pose risks to dogs due to their high fat and salt content. While cooking bacon may reduce some bacterial risks associated with raw meat, it does not eliminate the health concerns related to its fat and sodium levels. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid feeding both raw and cooked bacon to dogs to prevent potential health issues.

Alternatives to Traditional Bacon

Exploring other types of bacon, such as turkey bacon and Canadian bacon, may offer safer alternatives for dogs.

  • Turkey Bacon: Turkey bacon, lower in fat than traditional pork bacon, can be a slightly healthier option, but it still contains high levels of sodium and preservatives.
  • Canadian Bacon: Canadian bacon, leaner than regular bacon, presents a lower fat content but should still be offered in moderation due to its salt content.

The Use of Bacon Grease

Bacon grease, while flavorful, carries the same risks as bacon itself due to its high fat and sodium levels.

  • Health Implications of Bacon Grease: Using bacon fat as a flavor enhancer for dog food can lead to the same health issues associated with bacon, including pancreatitis and obesity.