Can Dogs Get Food Poisoning?

What to do when your dog is feeling awful 🤢

sick dog with avocado and grapes

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know it’s the worst feeling in the world.

But have you ever noticed your pup acting funny after eating a meal and wondered, “Can dogs get food poisoning, too?”

The answer is yes, they can!

The Dodo spoke to Lenore Harrison, practice manager at Lake Austin Blvd Animal Hospital, to find out how to help your pup if he does get sick — and which foods are most likely to cause digestive issues.

Which foods cause food poisoning in dogs?

Most of the time, food poisoning symptoms in dogs aren't caused by actual tainted food, but rather by eating foods — especially table scraps — that are inappropriate for pups. For example, you might have felt guilty about your dog staring up at you from under the table and snuck him a piece of cheese, but many dogs can be lactose intolerant.

However, like humans, dogs can also get food poisoning from spoiled food, Harrison explained. Garbage is a common cause — if your dog likes to dumpster dive, for example, he could get into old food and raw or undercooked meat that’s tainted with bacteria. Or his food could be expired without you realizing.

It can be pretty hard to tell what’s causing your dog’s digestive issues at home, since a lot of the symptoms are the same. But to be careful, you should avoid these common foods that can cause (sometime serious) digestive issues in dogs:

Certain types of dogs are more prone to digestive symptoms, too.

“Some dogs have genetic markers that cause them to be highly sensitive or have food allergies. Some breeds [with these markers] are Maltese, Labradors, golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, bull terriers, boxers, Brussels griffon, bichon frise [and] American pit bull terriers,” Harrison told The Dodo.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning in dogs?

According to Harrison, signs of food poisoning (or other digestion problems) can vary widely and generally include “vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, panting, hypersalivation, dizziness, increased thirst or urination.” The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, and they’re likely to show up pretty soon after a dog eats a food he shouldn’t have eaten.

Depending on what your dog ate or how much he ate, the symptoms may vary in type and severity.

“In severe cases, [symptoms can be] seizures, tremors or death,” Harrison said, so it’s important to know these symptoms and take action if your dog isn’t acting like his usual happy self.

What to do if your dog gets food poisoning

If you think your dog has food poisoning, then it’s time to call your vet ASAP.

“Get to your veterinarian or emergency veterinary hospital immediately,” Harrison said. “If you are unable to find a location, call [the] ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center phone number: (888) 426-4435.”

If you’re worried at all, it’s always safer to get him checked out by a vet!

How to prevent dog food poisoning

The best way to avoid food poisoning is to make sure your dog doesn’t get a hold of any foods he shouldn’t be eating! Here are some tips to help keep your dog safe and food-poisoning-free:

  • Make sure that your garbage cans are covered so that your dog can’t get into them — The Dodo team likes this pet-proof one, which earned our Paw of Approval.
  • Regularly check that your pup’s dog food and treats haven’t expired, and look out for recalls on any pet foods.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods of time, especially if he tends to get bored and tries to get into things he shouldn’t.
  • Be aware of the types of foods that are toxic to dogs.
  • Try not to feed your dog from the table without consulting with a vet first, since many human foods are unsafe for dogs and can make them sick.

Food poisoning is the worst, and you don’t want your dog to have to deal with it — especially because symptoms in dogs can be potentially life-threatening. But if you’re aware of foods that are toxic to dogs and follow these safety tips to keep poisonous foods away from your dog, he should be just fine.

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