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Toxic Foods for the German Shepherd

toxic foods for the german shepherd

I know that grapes and chocolate are toxic foods for the German Shepherd . When I had my dog, I remember that my friend told me about other foods that are also poisonous to dogs. Since I couldn’t remember all of them, I had to do some research …

In this article, I’ll share what I found to be the top German Shepherd toxic foods including the serious risks they can pose to your dog. I also detail some foods that I describe as “hidden dangers” since one or two are not so obvious!

I am not responsible if you decide to give your dog a raisin cookie or a shot of beer! Please remember that any decision to give your dog any food that is not specifically intended for them should be discussed with your veterinarian.

This is a very serious issue as some of the poisonings could result in the death of your German Shepherd!

These are the foods that you MUST AVOID as they are HIGHLY TOXIC to German Shepherds . It is not an exhaustive list but covers the main ones. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order for ease of reference in case you want to scroll down to check something quickly.

Let’s go over some of the things you need to know …


Alcohol has the same effect on German Shepherds as it does on humans, affecting the brain and liver, however it only takes a small amount of alcohol to harm your dog.

Some pets will try to drink alcoholic beverages straight from the glass or may lick them off the ground if they are accidentally spilled.

Alcohol poisoning can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, vomiting, diarrhea, coordination problems, seizures, respiratory failure, and ultimately death.

You will also need to be extra careful if you grow fruit at home as once the fruit has fallen from the tree and begins to decompose it produces ethanol (alcohol). Never leave your German Shepherd unsupervised where he can have free access to fruit.

Also, don’t forget the ‘hidden spots’ where alcohol lurks, for example no-bake yeast bread dough, and some desserts – especially if you’re a ‘sweet tooth’ like me! Remember to keep food off the kitchen table or countertops, or if you forget, make sure your dog can’t reach them!

I should point out here that this post is outrageously long! You probably won’t get it done in one go, so be sure to bookmark this page for later.

If you’d rather watch than read, watch the following Animal Expert video describing foods that are poisonous or harmful to dogs:


Avocado is a dangerous food for your German Shepherd. The pit, skin, leaves, and rind of avocados contain a toxin called persin. The fleshy interior of the fruit does not have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still unsafe for your dog.

If you grow avocados at home, you should keep your dog away from the plants. If your dog eats a large amount of avocado, signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. The high fat content of this fruit can also lead to pancreatitis, especially if your dog is sensitive.

Caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.)

Consuming large amounts of caffeine in dogs is a serious concern and can be fatal in severe cases.

Be careful with coffee and tea, and keep your German Shepherd away from cocoa, chocolate, colas, and energy drinks.

Caffeine can also be found in some cold medicines, supplements, and pain relievers. Common signs to watch for are hyperactivity, restlessness, and increased heart rate.


German Shepherds should not eat cherries. Although the flesh of the cherry is safe, it can cause an upset stomach.

The cherry pit, stem, and leaves contain cyanide, which is toxic, so it’s not worth the risk of feeding your dog cherries.

When eating in large toxic amounts, watch out for dilated pupils, shortness of breath, bright red gums, and shock.

Chocolate (including cocoa)

I think most German Shepherds know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. The problem in chocolate is theobromine, which is present in all types of chocolate, including white.

The most potent types are dark, unsweetened baking chocolate – the darker it becomes the more poisonous due to the more concentrated amount of cocoa solids. Therefore, the severity of chocolate poisoning varies greatly depending on the type, the amount consumed, and the size of the dog.

Chocolate can make a dog vomit and have diarrhea. It can also cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and can lead to death.


While garlic may be fine for German Shepherds in small amounts, large amounts can be risky, however your dog would need to eat a lot to get very sick.

Garlic belongs to the Allium family and is related to onion, leek, and chives (see below) which are also toxic to dogs, yet garlic is five times more potent.

Eating a large amount of garlic will damage your dog’s red blood cells, making them more likely to break down and lead to anemia.

Your German Shepherd may show symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems. Another problem is that the signs of garlic poisoning can be delayed and not appear until several days later.

Grapes (and raisins)

Grapes and raisins are extremely dangerous foods for German Shepherds and all breeds of dogs.

This also includes other dry variants such as sultanas and currants and any foods that contain grape extracts, for example, grape juice, raisin cereal, raisin bread, granola, trail mix, and baked goods such as cookies or bars. raisins. All of these are potential sources of poison.

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, and only a very small amount can make a dog sick. Scientists do not yet know the exact source of the toxicity and as stated, the exact dose is unknown.

The first signs are vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. To learn more about why dogs can’t eat grapes and what to do if you suspect your dog has eaten some, be sure to check out this helpful article.

Hops or (used in home brewing)

The hop is the flower of the hop plant and is used in the process of brewing. If you are a homebrew enthusiast, then you should keep hops out of your dog’s reach. Scientists do not yet know exactly what it was in the hops that caused the toxicity.

Signs and symptoms to look for if you suspect that your German Shepherd has ingested hops include hyperthermia, increased breathing, rapid heart rate, and vomiting.

Horse chestnuts 

Horse chestnuts (also known as conkers) contain a poison called aesculin that is also found in all parts of the tree, including the leaves. The horse chestnut is widely found in the United Kingdom and in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Watch out for severe vomiting and diarrhea, drooling, increased thirst, restlessness, and tremors. These symptoms can appear as soon as an hour after eating or can even be delayed for up to two days.

Macadamia nuts (Australian nuts)

You should keep your German Shepherd away from macadamia nuts (also known as Australian nuts because of their origin) as just a handful of raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog sick.

Depending on the number of nuts eaten, macadamia nuts can cause severe hind leg weakness, high temperature, vomiting, and muscle twitching.

The unknown toxicity affects nerve and muscle function and some dogs may also develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) due to the high fat and oil content of nuts (such as avocados). Signs and symptoms usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion.

Moldy food

Moldy food, for example, moldy bread, pasta, nuts, cheese, and other spoilage products can cause problems for your German Shepherd. I know I don’t want to eat moldy food, so you shouldn’t be tempted to give your dog something slightly moldy, or let it go to the household trash!

Moldy foods contain mycotoxins. Beware of vomiting, restlessness, incoordination, tremors, seizures, and high temperature.

A specific mycotoxin called aflatoxin can even cause liver failure. Make sure to keep moldy food and compost out of the reach of your pets!


Dogs should not eat mushrooms as they can be toxic. There are thousands of species of mushrooms and although only a small percentage are known to be poisonous, if your German Shepherd eats a toxic one, it could make them extremely ill or even fatal.

The signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning depend on the species eaten. Watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and changes in thirst or urination (kidney failure).

Some fungal toxins will affect dogs very quickly (within 15-30 minutes) while others will produce no signs for up to 24 hours.

A small amount of washed white mushrooms from the store might be fine, however I think you will probably agree that it is much better not to risk it!


It is not safe for dogs, however they would have to ingest a very large amount to cause serious toxicity.

Nutmeg poisoning is highly unlikely to occur if your dog eats any food that contains nutmeg, but I thought I’d list it here, so you’re aware of the potential dangers.

Nutmeg is toxic to German Shepherds due to a compound called myristicin. I found a very detailed article from Pet MD that you may find helpful. If a very large amount of nutmeg is ingested, the poisoning can cause hallucinations, disorientation, increased heart rate, dry mouth, stomach pain, and possibly seizures.

Onions, shallots, leeks, and chives

German Shepherds should never eat onions, shallots, leeks, and chives (whether cooked, raw, or dried) as they are poisonous to most pets if eaten in large quantities.

Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to burst, causing anemia. I’m sure you’ll agree that that doesn’t sound nice! These foods can also cause nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.

Onions belong to the Allium family like garlic (see above) and poisoning symptoms can have a late onset to be aware of.

Potato (raw or green)

This is something I was certainly not aware of! The raw (or green) potato is poisonous to your dog. White potatoes belong to the Nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes. They contain a compound called solanine that is toxic to some dogs. These vegetables (including tomatoes) produce solanine as a natural defense to deter insects.

It’s okay to feed your German Shepherd a small amount of cooked potatoes as it dramatically reduces solanine levels. However, if your dog eats a large amount of solanine, his nervous system can be affected. Symptoms to look for are blurred vision, vomiting, diarrhea, low temperature, and slow heart rate.


It is not a good idea to share salty foods with your German Shepherd, as eating too much salt can not only make your dog very thirsty, it can also lead to sodium poisoning or dehydration. Symptoms of excess salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures.

Excessive urination or thirst may occur and potential kidney damage may occur. Salt poisoning is a serious concern, as it can lead to death. I guess you just have to think about how thirsty you feel after eating salty popcorn, pretzels, or potato chips, hence the reason we never feed our dogs these kinds of snacks.

Carambola or Star Fruit

The Carambola or star fruit is an exotic fruit that is extremely toxic to dogs. Contains oxalic acid (like rhubarb leaves) which is poisonous. The oxalate salts in star fruit are absorbed into your dog’s digestive system and this can lead to acute kidney failure. Signs and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the urine, and increased thirst and urination.

Your German Shepherd can get sick after eating only a small amount of this fruit and they can show symptoms within an hour.

Tomatoes (Green)

Green tomatoes should be avoided as they are a dangerous food for German Shepherds. While the ripe red fruit of the tomato is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant (stems and vines) as well as unripe tomatoes should be avoided.

They contain a toxic substance called solanine that can cause heart problems, shortness of breath, and serious stomach upsets.

This substance is also found in raw or green potatoes (see above). I was certainly not aware of this and will keep my German Shepherd out of my uncle’s greenhouse from now on!

Xylitol (sweetener)

Xylitol (and other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, etc.) are toxic to your German Shepherd. A notable trend in poisonings has emerged due to the growing popularity of xylitol as a sweetener in various products. It is found in candy, gum, baked goods, diet foods, and even toothpaste!

One thing I’ve learned from this is that I no longer let my dog ​​lick my fingers after cleaning my teeth – one of the hidden dangers, you see!

You should also know that some brands of peanut butter contain xylitol, so always check first or buy an organic brand without adding anything. These sweeteners can cause your dog’s blood sugar level to drop and can also cause acute liver failure. The first symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems or seizures.

Yeast dough

The raw bread dough has to rise and if your German Shepherd eats it, the same thing happens in the stomach of your dog that makes the oven. Yeast dough rises and causes gas in your dog’s digestive system. It then swells up inside, and as the mass expands, it can cause a lot of pain and results in a bowel obstruction or a bloated stomach that can potentially twist. This becomes a life-threatening emergency and requires abdominal surgery.

In addition to this, when yeast leavens the dough to make it rise, it produces alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning! The obvious signs are swelling or a distended abdomen. Your dog may also suffer from retching, lethargy, weakness, collapse, and shock.

Walnuts (Black)

Dogs may have some unsalted nuts, however black walnuts (and macadamia nuts) should be avoided as they are highly poisonous. Black walnuts contain an unknown toxicant that can cause seizures and tremors.

The only nuts German Shepherds can eat are peanuts, almonds and cashews, however these should be given in moderation due to their high fat content as they can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. Feeding your dog high-fat foods can also cause pancreatitis or obesity.

I don’t like giving my German Shepherd nuts because I am afraid he will choke on them and they are also high in calories! Since there are so many types of nuts, I’ve made a separate blog post here where you can find a lot more information to help you decide if you want to feed your dog some of the safest varieties of nuts.

Toxic Foods for the German Shepherd: What Happens When He Eats Them?

No matter how careful you are, your German Shepherd could find and swallow something dangerous. If you think your dog may have eaten something toxic, you should take emergency action by contacting your professional veterinarian for advice.

The earlier your dog’s poisoning is diagnosed and treated, the better his chances of recovery, and potentially the lower the expense for you.

Here are the emergency instructions to follow if your German Shepherd ate something toxic, courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline:

  • Immediately remove your dog from the area, and make sure no other pets (or children!) Are exposed to this area. Safely remove any remaining poisonous material from your reach.
  • Make sure that your dog is breathing normally and that he acts well if not.
  • Collect a sample of the material, along with the container, bottle, or container, and save it; you’ll need all of this information when you speak with your veterinarian or an expert at the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • DO NOT give your dog milk, food, salt, oil or any other home remedy! Also, never induce vomiting without speaking to your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline – it may be harmful or contraindicated!
  • Do not give your dog hydrogen peroxide without first consulting a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Seek help. Program your vet’s phone number, along with the phone number for an emergency room vet.

What human foods can a dog eat?

There are some human foods that we can give our dogs, for example some fruits and vegetables can be given in moderation. However, keep in mind that every dog ​​is different (as are humans), so it is always best to get professional advice from your vet if you are in doubt as to whether a particular food is safe for your dog.

I make sure my German Shepherd has a healthy, well-balanced diet. I always make sure the human food I give him is safe, cooked, lean and plain, with no salt or seasonings. Here are some ideas that are safe for your German Shepherd to try:

Lean meats

Dogs can eat lean cuts of cooked meat as long as all visible fat is removed. My German Shepherd likes chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and lamb.

Make sure there are no bones in the meat before giving it to your dog, as cooked bones are dangerous for your German Shepherd. Bones can splinter into pieces that can cause suffocation and serious damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, or insides.

Processed meats like bacon, sausage, and ham are also best avoided due to their high salt or seasoning content, however an occasional very small piece will not do any harm.

Some fresh fruits

Apple, banana, and watermelon slices are delicious for your dog. You should remove the seeds or pits from fresh fruits like apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums, etc., as they contain cyanide, which is toxic to your dog. Additionally, bones are a choking hazard that can cause blockages in your dog’s gut if swallowed.

Some vegetables

It’s okay to let your German Shepherd have a healthy bite of carrot, green beans, cucumber, or sweet potato. Many other veggies are safe to feed in moderation too, however there are some you may want to avoid!

I wrote a comprehensive guide to the vegetables German Shepherds can eat. This giant guide also explains the health benefits of each vegetable and tips on how to feed your dog.

Cooked rice and pasta

Dogs can eat plain cooked rice or cooked pasta. Cooked and uncooked white rice can be a good option if your dog has an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and quick to prepare.

Rice is often found in commercial dog food – my German Shepherd food contains 29% brown brown rice, which is a healthier variety of rice. If you are a ‘pasta lover’ like me, you may find my article on whether German Shepherds can eat pasta an interesting read.

Dairy products

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, plain yogurt, or ice cream are generally safe for German Shepherds in very small amounts, however eating too much dairy can cause diarrhea or vomiting. This is because dogs have low levels of lactase, which is a digestive enzyme that breaks down the sugars in dairy products.


German Shepherds can eat fish. It is a healthy source of protein and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your dog’s hair, skin, and immune system. The fish should be fully cooked (which kills any harmful bacteria) with no added oils or seasonings and make sure it contains no bones.

Fish is often added to high-quality dog ​​foods, and in checking the cold-pressed food I give my German Shepherd, I found that it contains 7% sea fish, fish oil, and dried green-lipped mussels. , which is a supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

As a special treat for my German Shepherd, I like to give her fresh salmon that she devours. There are some concerns about long-lived fish species such as tuna, mackerel, or swordfish that contain high levels of mercury, so if you choose these types, then only occasionally feed a very small amount.

I must admit that my German Shepherd also likes to have a small amount of canned tuna or mackerel added to his food and I think the benefits far outweigh the risks, but I’ll let you decide!


You and I now know what foods are poisonous to our German Shepherds and what to do if they eat something toxic.

When your dog looks at you with those longing, sad eyes waiting for a quick bite of human food, don’t be tempted to give them something. You certainly don’t want to live with the guilt of possibly killing them kindly, I know I wouldn’t!

I hope you found what you were looking for and that this article has been useful to you. However, to learn a ton of useful things similar to this topic, be sure to check out my giant guide to the best diet for the German Shepherd .

This detailed publication leaves no stone unturned and covers everything from nutrition to types of dog food, including what to feed and what not to feed your dog.

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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