Toxic BBQ food for dogs

Updated 03 November 2023
Read time: 5 mins
article author
Written by Elle Padgham
Lead Copywriter

 A burger in a wicker basket with a red and white gingham napkin, next to plastic condiment bottles, against a pale orange background


Picture this. The sun’s a scorcher, the barbecue’s sizzling away beautifully, and your favourite people and pooches surround you. Then you look over at Great Aunt Mabel and see what she’s feeding the dogs… eek. 


She means well, but all is not well. In fact, it’s extremely dangerous. Here we discuss the risks of toxic human food for your fur baby, and how to make sure they enjoy the summer socials just as much as you. 

What foods are poisonous to dogs?

We know how tempting those puppy dog eyes can be when they get a scent of our tasty human scran. 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 watchouts. 

Let’s look at the full list: 


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. 

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. 


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. 


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. 


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 cous-cous, 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. 


 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. 

It’s a good idea to educate everyone who’s around pooches at social gatherings, on the dangers of human food. We’re sure they wouldn’t want your dog to become unwell and will start to think twice before offering dangerous scraps. 

A burger made of Pooch & Mutt Smokin' BBQ Burgers on an orange background


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 below in mind: 

  • 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. Salt water 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: 


  • Agitation 
  • Excessive panting or drooling 
  • Tremors or spasms 
  • Swollen limbs 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Seizures 
  • Changes in heart rate 
  • Diarrhoea 

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


An unlit BBQ with Pooch & Mutt Somkin' BBQ Treats in bag on it, against orange background

Dog-friendly BBQ inspired food

Our pooches are an important part of the family (if not Head Of!) – so it’s only right we have some tasty snacks on hand to include them in the joy of barbecue season. 

Some of our Pooch & Mutt favourites are: 

  • Smokin’ BBQ Burgers – smokin’ beef jerky treats that look and taste like burgers – nom! The latest addition to our Pooch & Mutt range, no BBQ is complete without them 
  • Calming Probiotic Meaty Treats – when the party’s in full swing, dogs may feel a little anxious in unfamiliar settings. These meaty remedies can help ease worried minds as well as tasting utterly delicious 
  • Pooch & Mutt Dental Sticks – a long-lasting treat in a variety of flavours, to keep them occupied and out of mischief
  • Build-a-box – you’re likely to have a mezze of BBQ goodies, so give your pooch the same treatment! Our Build-a-box subscription service means they’ll have a meal, sides, and other scrummy favourites at-the-ready to devour 

Always feed treats according to the label and as part of a complete diet. Treats should be a maximum 10% of a dog’s daily diet and shouldn’t be used to substitute food. 

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