Go to content

Which 13 Common Trail and Camp Foods Are Toxic to Your Dog?

Keep your dog safe when adventuring this summer by learning what camp foods are dangerous to your furry friend. This list may surprise you.

By Krista Halling DVM CCRP DACVS

Beware of these popular food items which can be harmful to your furry best friend.

1. Avocado and guacamole

Avocado is mildly toxic to dogs, often causing gastrointestinal upset. The avocado seed if swallowed in whole or in part, can cause an intestinal obstruction. Guacamole is unsafe for dogs since it typically contains avocado, onion and garlic.

2. Blue cheese

Blue cheese can be highly toxic to dogs. The fungus used in the formation of blue cheese can produce a substance called roquefortine C, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and death in dogs.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate is moderately to highly toxic to dogs, depending on the size of the dog and the amount and type of chocolate ingested. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which dogs metabolize differently than humans. In dogs these substances can cause vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, high heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tremors and seizures. In order from most to least theobromine per gram of chocolate are: cocoa beans, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate.

4. Corn-on-the-cob

Corn cobs can cause life-threatening GI obstruction in dogs. While unbuttered corn kernels are safe for dogs, the cob if swallowed presents a high risk of intestinal blockage and life-threatening blockage of blood supply to the intestines. I have removed many a corn cob from dogs via emergency intestinal surgery, and it is a very unpleasant and stressful experience for everyone involved. So make sure to only give your dog corn without the cob, and keep discarded corn cobs well out of reach from your furry friend.

5. Fruit pits and seeds

Fruit pits and seeds are moderately to highly toxic to dogs. Apple seeds, apricot pits, peach pits, plum pits, nectarine pits and cherry pits all contain a form of cyanide which can be lethal to dogs if ingested, especially in large amounts. Additionally, large pits if swallowed present a chocking hazard and may cause an intestinal blockage.

6. Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants

Highly toxic to dogs. AVOID FEEDING YOUR DOG GRAPES, RAISINS, SULTANAS OR CURRANTS AT ALL COSTS, including raisin bread and trail mix. Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currents contain substances which in dogs can cause gastrointestinal upset and sudden and fatal kidney disease, even if only a few are eaten.

When we go dogpacking, we don’t even bring along anything that includes raisins or currents since they are so toxic to dogs; it is not worth the life-threatening risk of a few raisins dropping on the ground and a dog eating them.

Affiliate link

7. Marshmallows

Marshmallows are a fun camp treat but are too high in sugar (mild toxicity with gastrointestinal signs) or xylitol (high toxicity) to be safe for your furry friend.

8. Mushrooms

Many types of mushrooms are highly toxic to dogs, causing signs ranging from GI upset to seizures to liver or kidney failure. Instead of trying to remember which mushrooms are safe, it’s a better policy to avoid feeding your dog any mushrooms.

9. Nuts: black walnuts, macadamia nuts

Black walnuts and macadamia nuts are moderately to highly toxic to dogs. Black walnut wood (if chewed on) and nuts (if several are ingested) may cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and neurological signs in dogs. The large walnut shells may also cause intestinal obstruction. Macadamia nuts, depending on the amount ingested, may cause vomiting, muscle tremors and weakness.

10. Onions and garlic

Onions, garlic (and less so leeks and chives) are moderately toxic to dogs. These foods cause oxidative damage to a dog’s red blood cells, making them susceptible to rupture and resulting in anemia. Pale mucous membranes and other signs of anaemia including fatigue, weakness, inappetence can take a few days to appear after ingestion.

11. Shish kebabs

Shish kebabs pose a serious puncture hazard to a dog since some or all of the skewer may get ingested and puncture their throat or gastrointestinal tract.

Double trouble: this corn has a cob AND a skewer. Dogs are sneaky and can grab no-no food with little warning.
Affiliate link

12. Trail mix

Trail mix can be highly toxic to dogs. Most commercially-made trail mixes contain many of the ingredients on this list: raisins, sultanas, currants, chocolate, and assorted nuts. When camping, hiking or bikepacking with your dog, It’s easy to accidentally drop bits of trail mix on the ground. Before brining some along on the adventure, carefully check the list of ingredients, or make your own trail mix using dog-friendly ingredients.

13. Xylitol (sugar substitute)

Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used commonly as a sugar substitute. It is often found in sodas, sports drinks, candy, gum, marshmallows, gummy vitamins and gummy candies, peanut butter and toothpaste. Xylitol, when eaten by a dog, causes a sudden large release of insulin by the pancreas, resulting in a marked drop in their blood sugar level. This condition, known as hypoglycaemia, can cause sudden seizures and death.

The best bet is to keep the above foods away from your dog, but accidents happen. So if your dog has ingested any of the above, immediately call your veterinarian, your local vet emergency clinic or the animal poison control numbers listed below.

Animal poison control resources

Animal Poison Control Center 1 (888) 426-4435 (in USA and Canada) (A fee may apply if direct veterinary advice is given for your pet)

Pet Poison Helpline 1 (855) 764-7661 ($85 UDS for phone consultation)

Dog-friendly camp snacks

Now that you’re familiar with which foods to keep away from your dog, here’s a list of dog-safe trail treats and a recipe for some dog-and-human-grade trail snacks:

Safe Snacks for Your Adventurous Dog When Hiking and Camping – Dogpacking.com

Affiliate link

About the author

Krista Halling is a veterinarian board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and co-founder of Dogpacking.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *