What Can Golden Retrievers Not Eat?

What can golden retrievers not eat? Most often we thought giving our golden retriever human food is completely fine for us. But little did we know not all human food can be eaten by our furry friend. Because there are numerous factors that hinder dogs from eating human foods and one of them is their digestive system. The human digestive system is not the same as the dog’s digestive system. That’s why vets and canine nutritionists have made a list of food that dogs shouldn’t eat. Thanks to them that we now know what foods to eat and what not to eat by our precious golden retrievers.

Sadly we can’t just give any food to our dogs for a number of reasons. It’s best to keep those foods away in order to make their lives healthy. To find out what food is that, dig in in our article and see the food that your dogs shouldn’t eat, and also what your dog should eat.

The Dog’s Digestive System

Before we get into the food list, we need to understand first what differentiates the human digestive system from dogs. Albeit there are some little similarities but that doesn’t mean there’s still a chance to give your golden retriever human food.

Basically, domesticated dogs are generally eating some plant foods and largely meat. The dietary needs of each dog have their specific needs. For example, the dietary needs of golden retrievers are far different from the needs of a Maltese Shih Tzu.

One of the main differences between the dog’s digestive system and ours is the sheer amount of acid being produced. Dogs are capable of producing 100 times the amount compared to the acid of the human stomach. That said, foods that are ingested can be rapidly broken down by proteins and no difficulty breaking down or softening grizzly bits of bone matter, wherein compared to humans, it would be hard for us to digest.

Similarities to the human digestive system

Vulnerable to heartburn

One of the similarities we share with our furry friends is that we are both vulnerable to heartburn. This heartburn is usually due to the overproduction of acid. Although there are some similarities about common issues regarding our digestive system and the dog’s digestive system, still, we can’t share the same medicine.

For humans, it’s best to consult with the doctor, and with a dog, seek advice from your local vet. Because human medicine can’t be administered to a dog.

Humans and dogs are omnivorous

Another similarity that we have with dogs is the kind of diet we have as part of our everyday meal which is being omnivorous. This means that both dogs and humans are able and capable of eating plants and meat.

But, back in ancient times, it’s to be believed that dogs are purely carnivorous, it wasn’t until we domesticated them that made they become omnivore creatures just like us.

However, there are still contentious debates as to whether dogs are innately omnivorous or the other way around. Whatever the debate might arrive at, the point is that dogs, as we know eat can eat meat and plant as part of the daily diet.

Also, both humans and dogs have mid-sized intestine. This is primarily because of the mixture of food we feed namely plants and meat, compared to other animals like cats that have only a short intestine to digest their food.

What made dogs become omnivorous?

Experts have pointed the dog’s omnivorous diet actually came from their canine cousins which are the wild wolves. Because wolves have pretty much innate behavior like a dog and scientists have strongly linked wild wolves’ behaviors to dog’s behavior.

The fact that wolves are also eating wild berries and other seed-based and grain sources from the wild besides their usual prey.

What can golden retrievers not eat? Here are 12 Harmful Foods

Yeast Dough

Although bread that has been cooked is generally fine for your golden retrievers, what’s not good for them is the uncooked bread or specifically the yeast dough. Yeast dough when fermented, they release alcohol, which is also harmful to your golden retriever and they can become sick and it can lead to death when it’s a severe case.

In addition, if your golden retriever has ingested raw bread, for instance, the yeast dough will rise due to the fact that the stomach function as an oven. This will lead to the expansion of the dough in the dog’s stomach, this will cause bowel irregularities or a bloated stomach. For your dog, this will cause him so much pain as if there’s a stomach twist.

The golden retriever’s bowel irregularities are just the start of something leading to a severe condition if not treated early on.

That said, this can become life-threatening and if the situation looks grave, it will require some abdominal surgery. Some of the symptoms include retching, lethargy, shock, panting, or trouble breathing.

Toothpaste, Gums, Sweet Candies (Also known as, Xylitol)

Admit it, sometimes you give your golden retriever candies for something to feed on. Or in other instances, it’s not you who are feeding them candies but your children. It’s a big, no, no for golden retrievers or even any dog breeds to eat human candies.

Because human candies, toothpaste, and gums have Xylitol. This Ingredient is a sugar alcohol that is primarily used as an artificial sweetener, and those chemical preservatives are toxic to dogs and animals.

Some other human foods that contain Xylitol are mints, bread, and even baked goods.

If your golden retriever has ingested some of these foods, this will cause a release of insulin to dogs which can result in hypoglycemia. Even a small amount of Xylitol can amount to a destructive health condition. Some of the symptoms are a live failure, weakness, and vomiting.

As much as possible prevent your children and your family members from giving candies that have Xylitol for your golden retrievers.

Green Tomatoes

Although red tomatoes are considered safe for golden retrievers, it’s green tomato counterpart should be avoided. Some have said that’s it’s safe if eaten just for a small amount. But we recommend not eating it at all and let it ripe at least.

Why golden retrievers can’t eat this is because green tomatoes contain a toxin component called solanine that can cause serious stomach pain, possible seizures, heart failure, tremors, and weakness. If symptoms appear, kindly seek your vet for treatment and possible steps to avoid such disaster.

Going back to red tomatoes, they are also generally safe but be advised dogs when it’s too much, it’s not safe anymore for your golden retrievers.

If you have a garden that has tomatoes and other fruits or plants that you think are harmful to your dog, keep them away. You can also train them not to go there during their puppy stage.


For us humans, salt is the most essential element to our recipe because they are an excellent flavor enhancer, and we have been using this simple seasoning since the dawn of man.

However, in the case of dogs like golden retrievers, adding salt to their meal may not be a good idea. Too much salt can make your dog dehydrated or thirsty; worse, it can lead to sodium poisoning. Dogs can’t bear salt if it’s excess, unlike humans.

Always be wary of what you are giving to your dog. Because not all foods spices and seasonings are beneficial to dogs.

Remember they don’t have a similar taste bud like humans and their nutritional needs are semi-limited. That said, it’s better not to give salt to any meal for your dog because it’s not a good idea.

Golden retrievers who have eaten too much salt may lead to vomiting in just a few hours. Symptoms also include diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, and weakness.

Also, excessive urination or dehydration can put your dog at risk such as kidney damage. Too much salt intake can also lead to sodium poisoning that can lead to death if not treated properly.

Uncooked Potatoes

There’s nothing wrong with giving your golden retriever a potato, only if it’s cooked and in moderation. Because a large amount of cooked potato is as harmful as raw potato and it might lead to serious problems, or worse, death.

Usually, white potatoes are served to dogs in mashed, baked, or boiled this is because the level of solanine decreases in the potato. That said, white potatoes contain solanine, a toxic compound found also in tomatoes. So it’s best to give your golden retriever cooked potatoes that are unsalted and without any butter as well.

If for some instance, your golden retriever has consumed raw potatoes, its nervous system will be damaged. Also, he will experience some symptoms that are discomforting such as diarrhea, fatigue, confusion, sluggish, which are potential signs of poisoning. Rush to your vet if you think there’s something seriously wrong with your furry friend.

Chives, Shallots, Leeks, and Onions

Never give or mix onions, leeks, shallots, and chives with kibble food to your golden retrievers because this also contains toxic compounds that can be lethal when it’s eaten in large amounts.

Why can golden retrievers not eat these? Because these foods belonged to allium plant species, and those that belonged to allium species can be harmful to both cats and dogs. This is due to toxic ingredients. If ingested, dogs might suffer from anemia. Some other cases include elevated heart rate. This can only be treated through a vet’s blood transfusion.

In addition, other symptoms include gastroenteritis, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, this food can inflame the GI tract which results in excessive drooling which is also a sign of poisoning.

To prevent any of this incident, never give the mentioned allium plant species. Furthermore, don’t be tempted to give our dog a leftover pizza or food from a Chinese restaurant. Give them kibble food or appropriate dog treats instead.


Nutmeg is a popular spice that most people have because it’s basic and it has many uses including baking. But this spice scent is attractive to dogs. You better watch out and prevent this spice to be eaten by your golden retriever. The amount of nutmeg can be lethal to dogs and humans as well. This is one of the most dangerous food that your dog can eat and it should be kept away from their reach.

Dogs and cats can cause severe health conditions when they ingested approximately 5 grams and beyond of the nutmeg. That said, they can experience mild stomach ache if they consumed a small amount. But if it’s 5 grams and beyond, the effect can be damaging and consequences include disorientation, stomach cramps, dry mouth, seizure, high blood pressure, and rapid pulse.

To add, nutmeg is also hallucinogenic. Eating even if it’s just a substantial amount, your golden retriever may suffer from frightening experiences and possible mental illness.

Wild Mushrooms

If certain wild mushrooms are toxic to humans, what more it can do to your pet? It can be devasting for them. Considering wild mushrooms contains highly toxic compounds. There are thousands of mushroom species but only a handful of them are edible and most of them are poisonous. Some toxic mushrooms can affect your golden retriever in just 15 to 30 minutes, some can take up to a day. Bring your dog to your vet if symptoms appear.

The effects of the dog can vary depending on the type of mushroom she ingested. That said, consumption of wild mushrooms generally can result in kidney failure, tremors, seizures, and disorientation.

However, store-bought mushrooms such as Portobello or white button are a great source of different vitamins that enrich your dog’s overall health.

Word of advice, be sure to remove all the wild mushrooms and fungus that grows in your backyard. Better yet, you can put some wooden fences on the areas where there are wild mushrooms just to be safe.

Moldy Foods

If you are giving your golden retriever moldy foods such as cheese, bread, fruit, and other rot foods, take note that you are not giving them adequate nutritious food. You might think that leftover food is better to be fed to your dogs than to throw them in the garbage. Kindly ditch that mindset, because maybe you have the assumption that dog’s immune systems are strong that’s why you are giving them moldy foods. That’s 100 percent wrong and it poses harmful health conditions to them.

The mold that is found in expired foods such as bread, cheese, and others can make your dog sick if eaten. Mold has a toxic compound called mycotoxins. That said, it can be lethal to any animal, not just dogs. If ever your golden retriever has eaten moldy food, they may likely experience diarrhea, seizure, lethargy, vomiting, convulsions, high fever, and even loss of coordination. Be sure to throw any rotten and mold food properly. Keep them out of your dog’s reach. Because dogs are great in sniffing foods and other things.

Conkers (Horse Chestnuts)

The reason why horse chestnuts or conkers are dangerous to your golden retriever is that they contain aesculin, a poison that is usually found in parts of the tree. Also, hore chestnuts are harmful because they can cause blockage in your dog’s stomach.

This kind of chestnut tree is found in Europe, North America, and United Kingdom, and some parts of Asia. Although a chestnut, this is not to be confused with the American chestnut which is sweet and edible.

That said, eating a large amount of this will make your dog become gravely ill. That said, your dog might experience diarrhea, pain, dehydration, restlessness, and discomfort. Some dogs, although in rare cases, experienced respiratory paralysis and it can lead to eventual death. These mentioned effects can be experienced within one to six hours of consuming the horse chestnuts.

Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts)

You might go crazy when eating nuts but not for your golden retriever, it can be a different matter for them. Nuts are usually mixed in cookies, but some nuts can be harmless to your dogs, others can wreak havoc on their digestive system. Among them are almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, to name a few.

Almonds might not be toxic to your furry friend but they are digested poorly. This can lead to stomach upset or gastric intestinal distress. Also, almonds when eaten whole, can be a choking hazard this is due to their smallness and hard for dogs to digest. In addition, don’t give them any almonds that have salted, sugar-coated, chocolate-covered, and seasoned because it will just worsen the intensity of danger.

Cashews on the other contain a toxin that is also found in poison ivy, thereby harmful to dogs. Technically, cashews are safe with just the right amount of intake, beyond that, it can cause some health issues. But they are a good source of potassium. If your dog consumes cashew nuts beyond their maximum amount, they can have urinary problems and even blockage in the intestine.


While it’s great to have a glass of wine (for us, humans), but for dogs, that’s a different story. Because in the case of dogs and other pets, when they consume alcohol, they drastically absorbed into the bloodstream and affect them quickly. This can be lethal albeit if it’s a small amount.

Golden retrievers who are suffering from mild alcohol poisoning are likely to experience loss of muscle coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, and drops in blood sugar. Some extreme cases after drinking alcohol within 12 to 24 hours are respiratory failure, seizures, and worst it can lead to death.

Although, there might be some of you thinking, why would you give your golden retriever a swig of beer or a glassful of wine? Exactly, even I would have pondered that question. But there are some dog owners who are irresponsible in giving this.

There is also alcohol that can be found in perfume, cleaning supplies, and mouthwash. There is also alcohol content in some desserts and in the yeast-containing dough. These are also dangerous that’s why they needed to be away from your dogs or don’t let them lick them especially the puppies.


Of course, when it comes to foods that should be avoided not just golden retrievers but also all canine breeds, the number one and infamous food is always chocolate. Chocolate for humans seems to be delicious and a momentary satisfaction against craving. In the canine’s case, it’s very dangerous for them because it contains toxic elements that are harmful to them.

These toxic components are commonly theobromine and caffeine found in every chocolate. Dogs can’t digest them. Unsweetened dark chocolate is more dangerous. The darker the chocolate, the more it is poisonous to dogs. This is mainly because of the high concentration of cacao solids.

Upon eating chocolate, dogs may experience diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, urination, heart arrhythmias, seizures, and tremors. It’s best to learn about the toxicity of chocolate so you would know what to do when your golden retriever accidentally eats chocolate. In addition, it’s best to go to a local vet so treatment can be done immediately.

Also, there are also chocolates that contain additional toxins such as xylitol, cashews, and raisins. Again, don’t give them or even take a lick of chocolate because it’s not good for them.

Foods Golden Retrievers Can Eat


Blueberries are a perfect treat for your golden retriever. It’s perfect because of the small size. Also, each of these small fruits is beneficial because it prevents any cell damage and even cancer.

Each bite-size of blueberries gives an energy booster to your dog especially when he is undergoing training or a nice treat after a walk in the park. Other nutritional content includes vitamins, minerals, as well as fiber. Great for morning booster as well as your golden retriever’s overall health and well-being.


If you are inclined to have your dog eat strawberries, they’re not just safe; they are very delicious. Strawberries have low in calories but high in fiber and antioxidants. Much better if you will freeze some strawberries during the summer season so your golden retriever has an instant frozen dog treats on the go.


We all know that cranberries are great for regulating the urinary tract, prevents cancer, and also regulates blood pressure. That’s why doctors recommend this as part of dietary needs. The same goes for dogs. Cranberries are a superfood that is rich in vitamins, fiber, and manganese.

This fruit is safe for your golden retriever but they may not like it at first because of the tart flavor. Cranberries can be given cooked, dried, or raw. What you need to avoid is cranberry juice because they have high sugar content.


Fish are a great alternative if your dog has an allergy to some meat products. There are numerous pet kibbles that include fish as their primary source of the ingredient. It’s because fish is a great source of protein and it contains good fatty acids known as fatty acids. That said, fish can be beneficial to your golden retriever’s health such as healthy skin, coat, and immune system.

If you are going to feed your golden a fish, make sure it’s cooked and there are no added oils or seasonings. Also, see to it that there are no bones. Feeding raw fish is not advisable because there’s a risk that your dog might have salmonella.

Some of the best fish to give to your golden retrievers are fresh cooked salmon, mackerel, and tuna.

Commonly Asked Questions

What food that are usually ingested by dog accidentally?

The most common toxic food that dogs have accidentally ingested are xylitol, raisins, and chocolate. This is because some children are giving these toxic foods whenever they are left without supervision. As a result, dogs will mistakenly think that it’s a dog treat for them.

Should I make my golden retriever vomit if he accidentally ingested toxic food?

Sometimes making your dog vomit will just make things worse. The best thing you can do is to call your vet or an animal poison control center. If you are living in the US, you can refer to Pet Poison Helpline and ASPCA Poison Control Center which provides the best care. They will even give you specific instructions on what to do.

Final Thoughts

There are still many foods that golden retrievers cannot simply eat and one of those is listed here. Be sure to take note of these listed foods that should be avoided.

Also, it’s best to just stick to feeding your furry friend nice and nutritious kibble food or dog treats instead of giving them human foods. Because a dog’s digestive system is different from a human’s digestive system. More importantly, one of the best things to avoid this food is to simply educate yourself regarding your dog’s diet.

Feel free to make this article as your guide if you seem to forget the common foods that should be avoided by your golden retriever.

Find out why: Why are Golden Retrievers so Happy? — Golden Hearts

Other helpful article from petmd: Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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