Toxic Foods for Dogs: Picnics

Toxic foods for dogs: Picnics | Animed Direct

The sun is shining, so grab your hamper and your pooch for a fun picnic in the park! There’s nothing quite like reclining on the grass with a refreshing drink, tasty foods and of course your furry friend by your side.

However, not all picnic foods are safe for dogs so don’t be tempted to pass them any titbits. Here are eight toxic foods for dogs to watch out for the next time you’re enjoying some snacks in the sunshine.


If you’ve taken some cold chicken legs or other on-the-bone meat to your picnic, don’t be tempted to throw the dog a bone! They can easily splinter, resulting in small shards that can cause severe damage to your dogs mouth, throat or intestines and can even result in a perforated gut.


While a chocolate chip cookie or a bar of dairy milk makes a great picnic treat for us humans, it’s certainly not the case for dogs. Even very small amounts of chocolate can be fatal for dogs, so veterinary advice has to be sought immediately if your pet eats any.

The first symptoms of chocolate intoxication may include restlessness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea and a fast or irregular heartbeat. Dark chocolate is more potent than milk chocolate and remember that some baked goods can contain chocolate or cocoa powder too.

The good news is that most dogs do very well if the problem is identified and addressed immediately.


Members of the onion family (which includes garlic, leeks, chives and shallots) are also toxic foods for dogs.

Although larger amounts need to be eaten before symptoms appear, they can still cause harm to your dog.

They contain a compound that can cause the breakdown and destruction of red blood cells, regardless of whether they are cooked or raw. So make sure your salads, sandwiches and any other picnic foods containing members of the onion family are kept well away from your pooch.

Corn on the cob

If you have some corn on the cobs left over from yesterday’s BBQ, they can make a tasty snack at today’s picnic. But if you want to share with your pooch, make sure you cut the corn off and discard the cob. While corn is digestible, the cob part is not and can cause serious problems like choking and intestinal blockages.


A popular accompaniment to sandwiches, salads, tortilla chips and more, avocado is at the height of popularity and is delicious at a picnic. However, it is known to contain a toxin called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. The stone at the centre is also a choking hazard.


Present in many sweet treats, xylitol is an artificial sweetener. You might come across it in cakes, sugar-free sweets, chewing gum and some peanut butters as well as popular sauces such as ketchup.

However, if any of the foods in your picnic hamper contain xylitol, keep them well away from your pooch. In dogs, xylitol intoxication is very serious and requires immediate medical attention. It causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels, and very small amounts can be fatal.

First symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and collapse, and it can later lead to liver failure.


It goes without saying that dogs should not have alcohol! While a glass of fruity Pimms might be just the ticket for you and your friends at your picnic, even a small amount of alcohol can be very dangerous to dogs.

If your dog were to ingest alcohol from alcoholic beverages or any other source, they would require immediate veterinary attention. The first symptoms would be vomiting, diarrhoea, disorientation and listlessness.


Delicious paired with cheese and crackers at a sunny picnic, grapes are a refreshing snack for us humans, but they’re highly toxic to dogs. They cause kidney injury that can lead to kidney failure, so be sure to keep them well away from your pooch.

Note that grape juice and raisins will also have the same effect, even if they are in baked goods.
Taking your dog to a green open space with a full picnic hamper is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Just make sure that if your hamper contains any of the above toxic foods for dogs, that you keep them well out of your pet’s reach. If you suspect your dog has eaten any of the above foods, take them straight to the vet for advice. To make sure your pooch gets to enjoy tasty snacks at your picnic too, why not take a selection of dog treats just for them?