Golden Retriever That Ate Toxic Food

50 Foods That Are Toxic to Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers, with their lovable personalities and ever-wagging tails, have won the hearts of many. To ensure these furry family members remain healthy and vibrant, it’s imperative to understand and avoid “foods that are toxic to Golden Retrievers.” This in-depth article provides a list of  50 such hazardous foods, assisting owners in making informed dietary choices for their pets. This is the companion to Household Products That are Toxic to Golden Retrievers. Surprisingly, even rawhide bones might not be safe for your dogs either.

1. Chocolate: 

  • Humans might relish the rich taste of chocolate, but for Golden Retrievers, it’s a no-go.
  • It contains theobromine and caffeine, which are harmful stimulants for dogs.
  • Dark and baking chocolates have notably higher toxic levels.
  • Consuming even a small amount can induce vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
  • Always store chocolates in places unreachable to your pet.

2. Grapes and Raisins:

  • While they’re a favorite snack for many, grapes and raisins can be deadly for dogs.
  • These fruits can induce kidney failure, even in small quantities.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and dehydration.
  • Ensure your Golden never gets a hold of these, be it accidentally or intentionally.
  • Keep fruit bowls and snack areas secure.

3. Xylitol:

  • Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in sugar-free gums, candies, and certain baked goods.
  • It can prompt a rapid insulin release in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia.
  • Common symptoms include loss of coordination, vomiting, and seizures.
  • Always inspect product ingredients and keep them out of canine reach.
  • Prevent accidental ingestion by educating family members.

4. Onions and Garlic:

  • Onions and garlic, although kitchen essentials, are harmful to our furry friends.
  • They contain compounds that can destroy red blood cells in dogs.
  • This can lead to anemia, characterized by lethargy and pale gums.
  • Ensure that meals containing these ingredients are kept away from your dog’s plate.
  • Garlic, although less toxic than onions, is still a risk.

5. Caffeine:

  • Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and energy drinks are harmful to dogs.
  • They can cause symptoms like restlessness, rapid breathing, and heart palpitations.
  • Discarded coffee grounds and tea bags are equally dangerous.
  • Always be mindful of where you set down your cup.
  • Keep trash bins secured to prevent any accidental consumption.

6. Macadamia Nuts:

  • Despite being a tasty treat for us, macadamia nuts can be toxic to Golden Retrievers.
  • Ingestion can lead to vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia.
  • Products containing these nuts, like cookies or brownies, should be stored securely.
  • Even small quantities can be harmful, so vigilance is essential.
  • It’s always better to choose dog-specific treats.

7. Alcohol:

  • Alcohol can depress the nervous system of dogs, leading to severe complications.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, disorientation, and in severe cases, coma.
  • Beer, wine, spirits, and foods cooked with alcohol should be kept away.
  • Also, ensure that any spilled alcohol is cleaned up promptly.
  • Remember, even a small amount can be hazardous for them.


8. Avocado: 

  • Avocado contains a substance called persin, which can be harmful to dogs.
  • It can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion.
  • This applies to all parts of the avocado, including the seed and bark.
  • While some dog foods contain avocado, they use a processed form without the toxic elements.
  • It’s best to keep avocados away from your dog’s reach.

9. Yeast Dough:

  • Yeast dough can expand in a dog’s stomach, causing pain and potential rupture.
  • As it ferments, it produces alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
  • Symptoms include bloating, disorientation, and vomiting.
  • Always ensure bread or pizza dough is stored securely.
  • Baked bread is harmless, but the raw dough is a danger.

10. Dairy Products:

  • Many dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can be lactose intolerant.
  • Consuming milk, cheese, or other dairy products can lead to diarrhea and stomach upsets.
  • While some dogs handle dairy well, it’s best to be cautious.
  • If offering dairy, monitor for any signs of digestive distress.
  • Opt for dog-specific treats instead of sharing ice cream or cheese.

11. Fruits with Pits:

  • Fruits like cherries, peaches, and plums have pits that can obstruct a dog’s airway.
  • Some pits, especially from apricots and cherries, contain cyanide which is toxic.
  • Always remove pits before giving any fruit to your dog.
  • Store these fruits in places your pet cannot access.
  • It’s safer to offer dog-friendly fruits like blueberries or sliced apples.

12. Salt: 

  • High salt intake can lead to salt poisoning or water deprivation in Golden Retrievers.
  • Symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and high temperature.
  • It’s important to ensure dogs do not consume overly salty foods or have access to salt containers.
  • Always provide fresh water, especially if they accidentally consume salt.
  • Avoid sharing salty snacks like chips or pretzels with them.

13. Cooked Bones: 

  • Cooked bones, especially poultry, can splinter easily and pose a choking hazard.
  • They can also cause obstructions or injuries in the digestive system.
  • Raw bones can be safer, but always under supervision.
  • Instead, opt for bone alternatives or toys designed for dogs.
  • Always ensure leftover bones are disposed of securely.

14. Raw Eggs:

  • Raw eggs can expose Golden Retrievers to the risk of Salmonella or E. coli.
  • There’s also an enzyme in raw eggs that can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients.
  • Symptoms of Salmonella include vomiting, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Cooked eggs, however, can be a nutritious treat.
  • When in doubt, cooking the egg eliminates most of these risks.

15. Citrus: 

  • While the fruit itself may not be highly toxic, the oils, seeds, and peel can cause issues.
  • Ingesting large amounts can lead to central nervous system depression.
  • Symptoms might include drooling, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.
  • It’s best to offer fruits known to be safe, like sliced apples without seeds.
  • Always monitor for any adverse reactions if they ingest new foods.

16. Raw Fish: 

  • Some raw fish can contain parasites harmful to dogs.
  • Regular consumption can also lead to a deficiency of thiamine, a crucial B-vitamin.
  • Symptoms include loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
  • Cooking the fish can kill the parasites and make it safer for consumption.
  • As with all treats, offer in moderation.

17. Tomatoes (Green Parts):

  • The green parts of the tomato plant, including stems and young fruits, contain solanine.
  • Solanine can be harmful when ingested in large quantities.
  • Symptoms might include drooling, stomach upset, tremors, and respiratory issues.
  • Ripe tomatoes are generally safe, but it’s best to offer without the plant parts.
  • Ensure garden areas with tomato plants are secure from curious canines.

18. Mushrooms:

  • While some mushrooms are safe, others can be toxic and even deadly for dogs.
  • Wild mushrooms, in particular, pose a significant risk.
  • Symptoms vary but can include vomiting, jaundice, seizures, and coma.
  • To be safe, avoid letting your Golden Retriever eat mushrooms unless you’re sure of their safety.
  • Be especially vigilant during walks in wooded or grassy areas.

19. Nuts:

  • Apart from macadamia nuts, others like walnuts and pecans can also be toxic.
  • They contain a toxin which can cause seizures or neurological symptoms.
  • Almonds, while not toxic, can pose a choking risk or get obstructed in the digestive system.
  • It’s safer to avoid all nuts, ensuring they’re kept out of reach.
  • Instead, provide dog-friendly treats that are nutritionally balanced.

20. Tobacco:

  • Tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and nicotine patches, are extremely harmful to dogs.
  • They can cause nicotine poisoning, leading to vomiting, abnormal heart rate, tremors, and, in severe cases, death.
  • Ensure all tobacco products are stored securely.
  • If your Golden Retriever ingests any tobacco product, seek veterinary attention immediately.
  • Prevention, in this case, truly is the best cure.

21. Potato (Green and Raw):

  • Green parts of potatoes, and sometimes the raw tuber itself, contain solanine.
  • This toxin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and central nervous system depression.
  • Cooking the potato neutralizes the solanine, making it safe.
  • Always store potatoes securely and discard any with green parts.
  • If offering potatoes, ensure they’re cooked and free from additives.

22. Apples (Seeds):

  • Apples themselves are harmless and can be a healthy treat.
  • However, apple seeds contain cyanide, which is harmful in large quantities.
  • Always remove the core and seeds before offering apple slices.
  • Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, and excessive salivation.
  • In small amounts, the risk is minimal, but it’s always better to be safe.

23. Rhubarb:

  • Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic to dogs.
  • Consumption can lead to drooling, vomiting, and even kidney failure.
  • While the stalks are less toxic, it’s best to avoid rhubarb entirely.
  • If you have rhubarb in your garden, ensure it’s inaccessible to your pet.
  • Immediate veterinary attention is recommended if ingestion occurs.

24. Persimmons:

  • The seeds and pits of persimmons can cause inflammation or obstruction in the dog’s intestines.
  • While the flesh itself isn’t harmful, it’s safer to avoid the risk.
  • If offering persimmon, ensure all seeds are removed.
  • Signs of an obstruction include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Always monitor any new fruit introductions for adverse reactions.

25. Hops: 

  • Used in beer production, hops can be toxic to Golden Retrievers.
  • Consumption can cause malignant hyperthermia, a rapid increase in body temperature.
  • Symptoms include restlessness, panting, seizures, and even death.
  • Keep hops, both raw and spent, away from your pet.
  • If ingestion is suspected, seek veterinary care immediately.

26. Nutmeg:

  • Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, which is harmful to dogs.
  • Ingestion can lead to disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and seizures.
  • While the required quantity for toxicity is relatively large, it’s best to avoid the risk.
  • Keep spice racks or baking areas secure.
  • Always check the ingredients of treats or foods shared with your dog.

27. Peppers (Hot & Spicy Varieties): 

  • Spicy peppers can cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs.
  • Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers spicy, can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and mouth irritation.
  • While not necessarily toxic, they can cause significant discomfort.
  • Avoid sharing spicy dishes with your pet.
  • Ensure garden peppers are out of reach if you grow them.

28. Fatty Foods:

  • Foods high in fat, like bacon or fried foods, can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
  • While occasional lean meats are okay, avoid fatty cuts and fried options.
  • Ensure leftovers or table scraps are disposed of properly.
  • A consistent, balanced diet is always best for your Golden Retriever.

29. Sugary Foods:

  • Excessive sugar can lead to obesity, dental problems, and even diabetes in dogs.
  • Avoid giving candies, sweets, or baked goods high in sugar.
  • Opt for natural, unsweetened treats instead.
  • Monitor your dog’s weight and dental health regularly.
  • As with humans, a balanced diet is crucial for long-term health.

30. Corn on the Cob:

  • While corn itself isn’t harmful, the cob can be a choking hazard and can cause an obstruction in the digestive tract.
  • Symptoms of an obstruction include vomiting, reduced appetite, and abdominal pain.
  • If your dog consumes a cob, veterinary attention is crucial.
  • Always monitor when providing corn and ensure the cob isn’t ingested.
  • Offering kernels separately is a safer alternative.

31. Raw Meat & Poultry:

  • While some advocate for raw diets, raw meat can carry harmful bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli.
  • Proper handling and sourcing are crucial if you choose to feed raw.
  • Always monitor for signs of foodborne illnesses, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Ensure raw meats are stored securely, reducing the risk of accidental consumption.
  • If uncertain, consulting with a veterinarian on dietary choices is advisable.

32. Onions and Garlic:

  • Both can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.
  • Symptoms may include vomiting, weakness, and breathlessness.
  • It’s important to note that even onion or garlic powder in some foods can be harmful.
  • While cats are more susceptible, it’s best to keep these away from dogs too.
  • Regularly check ingredients in treats and human foods for hidden onion or garlic.

33. Stone Fruits (Pits and Seeds):

  • This includes fruits like cherries, plums, and peaches.
  • The pits can pose a choking risk or cause an intestinal blockage.
  • Additionally, they contain cyanogenic compounds, which can be toxic.
  • Always ensure the fruit is pitted before offering.
  • Monitor your dog for any signs of distress after ingestion.

34. Macadamia Nuts:

  • Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, and hyperthermia in dogs.
  • Ensure all nuts are stored securely and out of reach.
  • If offering nuts, opt for dog-safe options like peanuts (unsalted and not in excess).
  • Monitor for any signs of distress if nuts are consumed.

35. Cherries:

  • While the fruit flesh of cherries is not toxic to dogs, the pits, stems, and leaves are.
  • The pits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can lead to cyanide poisoning in dogs when ingested in significant quantities.
  • Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, red gums, and shock.
  • The hard pits also present a choking hazard and, if swallowed, can lead to an intestinal obstruction.
  • If you choose to offer cherries to your dog, always ensure they are pitted and given in moderation. Monitor for any unusual signs or symptoms, and always consult a vet if you believe your dog may have ingested a cherry pit.

36. Dairy Products:

  • Many dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest dairy well.
  • This can result in diarrhea, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • While some dogs tolerate it, it’s best to offer in small quantities.
  • Monitor for any digestive issues after ingestion.
  • If you wish to share, opt for low or lactose-free options.

37. Mustard Seeds:

  • Mustard seeds can cause gastrointestinal irritation in dogs.
  • Symptoms can range from vomiting to increased heart rate.
  • While mustard sauce or cooked mustard might not be as harmful, it’s best to avoid.
  • Always keep bags or jars of seeds securely stored.
  • Monitor for any signs of distress if accidental ingestion occurs.

38. Caffeine:

  • Found in coffee, tea, and some sodas, caffeine can be very harmful.
  • Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and tremors.
  • Even small amounts can cause caffeine toxicity.
  • Keep coffee grounds, tea bags, and caffeinated drinks out of reach.
  • If ingestion occurs, seek veterinary care immediately.

39. Coconut and Coconut Oil:

  • In small amounts, it can be beneficial, but in larger quantities, it can cause stomach upset.
  • Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to dogs.
  • If offering coconut or its oil, do so in moderation.
  • Always monitor for any signs of stomach distress or diarrhea.
  • Ensure other products containing coconut are also given with caution.

40. Alcohol:

  • Even small amounts can lead to alcohol poisoning.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, disorientation, tremors, respiratory issues, and even coma.
  • All types of alcohol and products containing it should be kept away.
  • Remember, foods cooked with alcohol can retain some amount post-cooking.
  • If your dog consumes alcohol, immediate veterinary attention is needed.

41. Candy and Chewing Gum:

  • Many candies and gums contain xylitol, a sweetener that’s highly toxic to dogs.
  • It can lead to a rapid insulin release, causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Symptoms can include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and even death.
  • Always check for xylitol in ingredient lists if sharing treats.
  • Keep all candies, gums, and baked goods securely stored.

42. Fat Trimmings and Bones:

  • Fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis in dogs, which is inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Bones can splinter and cause obstructions or tears in the digestive system.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite.
  • While tempting, it’s best to discard these rather than offer them.
  • If you do offer bones, ensure they’re appropriate for dogs and monitor chewing.

43. Grapes and Raisins:

  • The exact toxin is unknown, but both have been linked to kidney failures in dogs.
  • Even small amounts can be deadly.
  • Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and depression.
  • All forms, including those in baked goods, should be avoided.
  • If ingestion occurs, immediate veterinary attention is crucial.

44. Human Vitamins:

  • Some human vitamins can be toxic, especially those that are fat-soluble like vitamins A, D, and E.
  • Iron supplements can damage the digestive system, liver, kidneys, and other organs.
  • Keep all supplements and vitamins out of reach.
  • If your dog requires supplementation, consult with a veterinarian for dog-safe options.
  • In case of ingestion, immediate attention is crucial.

45. Liver (In Excess):

  • While liver is nutritious, excessive consumption can cause vitamin A toxicity.
  • This can affect muscles and bones, causing deformities, growth issues, and even osteoporosis.
  • Offer liver as a treat, not a regular diet staple.
  • If you include liver in their diet, ensure it’s in moderation and balanced with other foods.
  • Always observe for any signs of joint stiffness or pain.

46. Human Snacks:

  • Snacks like chips or pretzels often contain excessive salt and seasonings.
  • Some might also contain onion or garlic powder, which are toxic.
  • High salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning.
  • Symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and fever.
  • It’s best to stick to dog-specific treats and snacks.

47. Old Food:

  • Spoiled or moldy foods can contain multiple toxins.
  • These can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and affect the nervous system.
  • Always ensure garbage and compost bins are securely closed.
  • Dispose of old food properly, ensuring it’s out of reach.
  • If you suspect your dog has consumed spoiled food, monitor for symptoms and consult a vet.

48. Spinach (In Large Amounts):

  • While nutritious, excessive spinach can lead to kidney damage due to calcium oxalates.
  • Small, occasional amounts are generally safe.
  • If you include spinach in their diet, do so in moderation and observe for any changes.
  • As with all foods, it’s about balance and variety.
  • If in doubt, consult with your veterinarian.

49. Currants:

  • Similar to grapes and raisins, currants can be harmful.
  • They’ve been associated with kidney damage in dogs.
  • Even small amounts can pose risks.
  • Always ensure currants or foods containing them are out of reach.
  • Seek veterinary care immediately if ingestion occurs.

50. Walnuts:

  • Walnuts can contain a toxin harmful to dogs, especially if moldy.
  • Ensure all nuts are stored securely and out of reach.
  • If offering nuts, opt for dog-safe options like peanuts (unsalted and not in excess).
  • Monitor for any signs of distress if nuts are consumed.

Our list contains broad range of foods that could be detrimental to the health of a Golden Retriever. Knowledge is the first line of defense, and by staying informed, Golden Retriever owners can ensure their furry friend enjoys a safe and fulfilling diet. Remember, whenever in doubt about a specific food, consulting a veterinarian is the best course of action. If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your local veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.


About the Author

I am deeply passionate about Golden Retrievers, having been blessed with three of these wonderful companions. I wholeheartedly believe they're the finest breed on the planet.

I created "Golden Retrievers Rule," to be a place of joy and tail-wagging delight. It's where enthusiasts of this golden breed unite, celebrating and sharing our collective passion.

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Jeff Goldstein

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