The dangerous barbecue foods that could poison or choke your dog

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

With summer in full swing, many of us are firing up the grill and enjoying delicious barbecue food with our friends and family.

However, as much as we love to indulge in burgers, hot dogs, and other tasty treats, it's important to remember that some of these foods can be toxic to our furry friends.

Veterinary Surgeon at Pooch & Mu tt Dr Linda Simon, said several common barbecue foods can be harmful to dogs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Any dog owner knows how tempting those puppy dog eyes can be when they get a scent of our tasty human scran,” she said.

The hidden hazards of your barbecue food that can be fatal to dogs (Getty Images)The hidden hazards of your barbecue food that can be fatal to dogs (Getty Images)
The hidden hazards of your barbecue food that can be fatal to dogs (Getty Images)

“But human food, especially during barbecue season, can be packed with harmful ingredients that are poisonous to our pooches.

"Marinades on the meat, ingredients in the side dishes and grown-up 'lemonade' are just some of the watch outs.”

The main foods to look out for include:

Garlic: Garlic is used in so many of our dishes. Sauces, marinades, oils, and tons more. This favourite ingredient is toxic to our dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. This can make your pooch very sick.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Onions & Chives: As per above (they’re all part of the onion family), onions and chives are toxic and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage too. As a popular condiment to hot dogs and other barbecue delights – be extra careful with what may fall on the floor and within doggo’s reach.

Cooked bones: This is where people don’t realise the damage they’re doing, as dogs are usually encouraged to chomp raw bones safely. However, cooked bones are completely different. They easily splinter in the mouth and, in large quantities, cause constipation and perforation of the gut - which is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal.

Alcohol: Our fun liquid is not so fun for our pets. Alcohol intoxicates our animals in the same way it does us but can lead to severe sickness, diarrhoea, and even central nervous system damage. You should keep all drinks off the floor and out of reach of your pooch.

Corn on the cob: A classic, healthy barbecue side that, when eaten by dogs, can cause blockages in the intestine. Anything but healthy, as blockages could turn fatal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Avocado: Another firm favourite on the barbecue sides list and another to keep away from pets. Avocado plants contain an ingredient called Persin – found in its leaves, fruit, and seed. Persin can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs, making them very poorly.

Chocolate: Found in many human sweet treats, chocolate should never be fed to dogs. You can get pooch-safe chocolate as an alternative, but the chocolate we know and love contains a stimulant called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine levels. This is toxic to our fur babies and can cause kidney failure.

Macadamia nuts: Quite often a Christmas ingredient, but around any time of year, Macadamia nuts are another poisonous food on the list. They contain a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system – which can cause weakness, swollen limbs and panting.

Grapes & Raisins: Grapes and raisins can be found in couscous, salads, on a BBQ cheese board and in other barbecue food and sweet treats. The active ingredient with toxic properties isn’t known, but these fruits can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure in our precious pooches.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Xylitol: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in loads of food we eat. Although safe for us, your dog could go into hypoglycaemia if consumed. Hypoglycaemia is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders, so needs to be avoided at all costs.

What to do if your dog eats poisonous food:

Act with urgency. But try not to panic. It’s sensible to contact your vet straight away, who can offer their professional opinion. They’ll probably ask what they’ve eaten, in what quantity, and whether you’ve noticed any visible signs of distress.

Give as much info as possible, so they can decide whether they want to check your dog over.

What to avoid doing if your dog eats poisonous food:

Your gut instinct will be to help your dog! However, this could cause more harm than good. Always take your vet’s advice and bear the following in mind:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Don't attempt to treat or medicate your pooch yourself. Some medicines that work for us and other animals could be poisonous to dogs.

Don’t try to make your dog throw it up. Saltwater, especially, is extremely dangerous.

Keep poorly dogs away from other animals to avoid spreading any sickness.

Signs of food poisoning in dogs:

Your vet will share a list of symptoms to look out for, and some might follow a few days later.

Here are a few they may mention:


Excessive panting or drooling

Tremors or spasms

Swollen limbs

Nausea and/or vomiting


Changes in heart rate


If you notice any of these, contact your vet straight away.

Related topics: