6 Worst things to feed a dog – Plus why do dogs eat grass?

What are the worst things to feed a dog? Is human food safe for dogs? And which foods are toxic, dangerous or harmful to dogs. Take a look at these 6 common household items that could spell disaster for your furry friend.

Coffee, tea & alcohol seem like obvious things that you shouldn’t let your dog drink. Any sort of stimulant is meant for humans and is only going to have negative and potentially dangerous side affects for dogs. Then there’s things like bread, pasta and cake which will have a similar affect on dogs as it does on us, weight gain! But some human foods are great for dogs, think natural unprocessed things like fruit and veg. Pumpkin, bananas & carrots make great healthy snacks for dogs and there are even some common herbs that can help your dog to keep a balanced diet.

How to look after a Jack Russell - essentials

What human food is dangerous for dogs?

“So is human food safe for my Jack Russell?” Well it depends. Cooked meat and vegetables can be a great (and highly appreciated) addition to your dogs diet. Raw meat can carry bacteria if not kept sterile, so if you wouldn’t eat it probably best not to feed it to your dog. There are however some foods you should never give to your dog. You probably already know that cooked bones and corn on the cob can damage a dogs intestines and cause blockages, but did you know some human foods are toxic to dogs?

What food shouldn't I feed my dog?

Theobromine and caffeine are the two ingredients in chocolate that makes it extremely dangerous for dogs as with coffee and tea. Just a little bit of chocolate can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs, while too much can cause seizures, irregular heart function and even death in extreme cases.

In a small dog weighing 5kg, around 70g of milk chocolate or 20g of dark chocolate can cause problems. That’s around three squares of milk chocolate. Whereas just 4g of cocoa powder can cause serious issues as it’s more concentrated.

Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. While one or two may pass through the system it’s best to induce vomiting to avoid and toxicity being ingested.

Onions, garlic and chives whether they are powdered, raw, cooked or dehydrated can all kill off your dog’s red blood cells and cause anaemia in the long term. So keep that bolognese sauce out of the dog bowl.

Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and severe weakness. They are extremely dangerous for dogs and should be avoided especially in baked goods where it may not be an obvious ingredient.

Xylitol will be familiar to most diabetics, it’s a sweetener used in everything from baking to some types of peanut butter to human toothpaste. It causes a dogs pancreas to release a lot of insulin causing hyperglycemia and possible liver failure.

Avocados contain Persin that can be toxic to dogs, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. So no Guacamole either.

If your dog has eaten any of these please consult your vet as soon as possible.

Why do Jack Russells eat grass?

A dog eating grass might mean their diet doesn’t have enough fibre. It’s basically the equivalent of us reaching for the prunes! It could also mean they feel sick and the tickle of the grass will make them throw up (usually whatever disgusting thing it is that they’ve eaten). Eating grass is natural dog behaviour and nothing to worry about, as long as the grass isn’t contaminated with weed killer or pollution. Try YuMove digestion aids if your dog is eating a lot of grass.

What plants are poisonous for dogs?

Most dogs will not eat plants that are poisonous to them. While puppies may chew on plants, like Bluebells, that are toxic they usually have to eat such vast quantities that it’s not a huge concern. Generally any fruit pips are a bad idea as they contain Cyanide. For the full list of plants poisonous to dogs check out the full list from Dogs Trust here.

Why do dogs eat poo?

It’s called Coprophagia and is common for all dogs (it’s actually why they first started hanging out with humans as they cleared up our mess, gross!). If your dog is eating a lot of poop it could be down to a lack of potassium. Try feeding your dog a banana just before they usually eat something disgusting, like just before a walk. Bananas are high in potassium and safe for dogs, just don’t feed them too many as they are high in sugars, and banana skin is a definite no no.


Author Bio Jo Williams is a freelance writer from London, England. There is nothing she loves to talk about more than dogs, good food and travelling. Coming from a family of JR owners, Jo shares generations of tips and advice for looking after these mischievous little dogs.