Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle

Chocolate, Raisins and Other Foods Toxic to Dogs

Everybody knows that chocolate is bad for dogs, but do you know how much is too much? That 7 raisins could kill your dog? Or that onions are bad for dogs? Or that garlic is also toxic for dogs?

The National Geographic website has a lovely interactive chart on how much white, milk, dark, baking, and powdered chocolate is toxic – and what reaction your dog might have with each amount – vomiting, rapid heartbeats, tremors/seizures, or death. You can select your dog’s weight and it will tell you the amount of chocolate that causes each response in a dog. View it on the National Geographic website.

Another helpful page on that site discusses a few toxic foods: onions, garlic, yeast (as in raw bread dough), alcohol, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, and coffee. Or read a story about raisin poisoning in a dog. Raisins and grapes can cause renal failure in dogs. NEVER use raisins or grapes as a treat, because as few as 7 raisins can be toxic for dogs.

Need more ways to worry about your dog? 🙂 Don’t miss the article in the Ahimsa blog on Household toxins and poisonous plants.

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8 Responses to “Chocolate, Raisins and Other Foods Toxic to Dogs”

  1. Molly Says:

    Hi. I would like to say thank you to Ahimsa for doing so much to help us dog people. This article caught my attention because when I was in school I would eat boxed raisins all the time. My dog would always want some so I’d give him a few out of every box – which would amount to a LOT more than 7 raisin every week. I’m not trying to say that all dogs are this way but that this seems like sensationalism. Has anyone actually seen or had a friend tell you about a dog reacting to raisins?

  2. Grisha Says:

    Hi Molly,

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t know anyone who has had raisin poisoning, but I have a training client with a friend who’s dog did… the old ‘friend of a friend’ thing, so who knows, really! But this data about 7 raisins is from the National Geographic, which probably knows their numbers better than I do on this. Though they do show the Dog Whisperer on their TV programming, which calls their journalism into question for me. 🙂

    I heard the same sort of story about chocolate from a trainer who would give chocolate chip cookies to her dogs for reinforcement, yet I did have a hamster that died of chocolate overdose, chocolate toxicity, at least, is true! It may be that some dogs are more susceptible to poisoning with raisins or chocolate than others, like an allergy.

    Only good things,

  3. J D Lowes Says:


    I love my dogs and would never intentionally endanger their well being. Garlic is a staple for my dogs. I use it to control fleas and it works very well with my dogs with zero negative effects. It is even sold as a supplement for dogs online. My vet says it’s a natural way to curtail fleas. So, I’m not sure I’m buying your assertion that it is bad for my dogs. Plus, my father is hardcore Italian, and cooked damned near everything in garlic. His dogs always got the left overs and lived to be very old and flea free as well.

    Chocolate is bad for dogs… Maybe, I mean, I’ve always heard it was, but my dogs love chocolate chip cookies and any other kind of chocolate. Last Easter, they managed to get into the house before everybody woke up and they ate all the chocolate easter eggs that I had set up for the boys to find. They were fine. No deaths…

    Grapes… I don’t know about. My dogs don’t like them. Raisins are the same.

    I’m curious why you don’t like the Ceasar Millan. His methods seem heavy handed if you are treating your animals like humans. However, they are dogs – not humans. Their world is very visceral. An “alpha roll,” is common place in the dog world and works extremely well in curtailing any negative aggression. I am speaking from experience, for I have large dogs that need a strong pack leader to keep them safe and well behaved. I feel that it really depends on the breed of dog. Bully breeds, i.e., Boxers, pit bulls, rotts. etc, NEED strong leadership. Little yelpers probably do not.

    Just because I don’t agree with you, please don’t think that I do not respect and admire what you are doing for dogs. You are obviously a dog person and I love that. We simply should agree to disagree.

    Warmest Wishes,

    Dallas, Georgia

  4. Grisha Says:

    A few responses to JD. I’m just the messenger here about the garlic. The fact that a particular dog is ok with the amount of garlic or chocolate that it has eaten does not mean that other dogs may be killed by it at a lower dose. At any rate, the National Geographic article gives the amount of chocolate needed for an overdose, and it’s quite a lot, so chances are, your dogs just didn’t eat enough to be killed, thank goodness.

    I talked above about the hamster I accidentally killed with chocolate as a child. I don’t have any personal garlic stories, except that it’s quite hard to find treats without garlic. I just definitely wouldn’t add it as a supplement and do try to find foods without it. I have read that garlic does not, in fact, repel fleas, either. Here’s another link: http://www.petsbynature.com/Garlic.htm

    RE Cesar Millan, his methods *are* heavy-handed, and I certainly don’t think dogs are furry humans. They are animals, like any other, and need not be “alpha rolled” to prove I’m the boss. They respond to positive reinforcement just like every other animal on the planet.

    I disagree that particular breeds need alpha rolling more than others. They certainly need structure and boundaries, and to have to listen to get what they want, but they do not need a physical contest to prove that the human is the leader. Unfortunately, dominance theory is a very self-fulfilling prophesy. Dogs raised in households in which the human has created a hierarchy of violence will tend to be more violent to get what they want. Usually, it’s the kids and the wife that lose, and then, ultimately, the dog. I have all their stuff and dogs are greedy. I don’t need alpha rolling to prove I’m the boss.

  5. KAH Says:

    I’m very worried because I was eating Cinnamon Raisin bread and “threw” my dog a couple of pieces (I have been feeling bad because I was gone for a week, and the lady that was supposedly taking care of her part of that week has become questionable in my eyes). Any way, I’m deeply concerned about the raisins in the bread ( I know better, I just wasn’t thinking…). Anyone, please help!!!!! Did I hurt/kill my dog??? She is my “daughter” and I would be so depressed if I did something to harm her!

  6. Grisha Says:

    I don’t know whether that would be enough to endanger your dog or not. I imagine the size and constitution make a difference. Do call a local vet and see what they think!

  7. karenina Schuller Says:

    As a vet tech, I’ve seen tons of animal abuse, infections, allergies & toxicity from people either giving dogs inappropriate treat! Or letting them get into people food & even their medications! Go to SPCA & it will give you a list of toxic plants (especially young dogs & cats) Garlic, onions, can cause red=blood cell anemia, allergies etc. Do Not Give. We have so many wonderful, quality dog foods out there! Dogs & cats over 6 yrs. old should be on Senior Diet…glucosimine for large breed dogs. No Human Food..it takes a toll on the teeth & gums. Everytime you put them under anesthesia, there are risks! Biscuits..bones, no! Rawhide chewies =obstructions in bowels..NO. Look at ingredients as many have garlic in them. Garlic oil in Paul Newman’s organic treats..BIG NO! Again ask your vet about how much fat & protein your particular dog needs for their age. And the dog foods w/ Glucosimine DO Not have enough in them to make a difference! You’d have to feed 10 cups of dog food to get the 1500mg. they need. Ask your vet! Love to All of You that walk(everyday), spay, neuter & have rescued!

  8. karenina Schuller Says:

    I am a dog trainer/vet tech for 40 yrs! Work as “subject” as well for Search & Rescue dog trainer!




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