Black and White Border Collie Dog with Wide Eyes Staring at Food on a Red Wooden Picnic Table in Summer Time.

Veterinarian Shares Common Party Foods Dangerous for Dogs

Having people over to watch March Madness? It might be tempting to toss game-day snacks to your pup, but some party foods are toxic to dogs. Pet owners and their guests need to know which human foods can be dangerous for their pets and say no to those puppy dog eyes during game time.

First Off, Manage Guest and Dog Interactions

friends watching tv at night passing around snacks with a little dog on the couch.
Photo Credit: Joshua-Resnick/Shutterstock.

One way to prevent mistakes is keeping dogs separate from the party while food is out.

“Pets that are let to roam around the house can easily be given some snacks from unknowing house guests, so make a point of announcing to guests to not feed the pets from their plate even if they beg. If you know that your house guests have a tendency to do this, it would be better to keep your dog away from the party until the food has been set aside.” says veterinarian Alysper Cormanes DVM.

Dos and Don'ts of Popular Party Foods

British Bulldog Wearing Sunglasses licking chips next to a bottle of beer.
Photo Credit: Monkey-Business-Images/Shutterstock.

“Do your research on what your pet can and cannot consume and how much they can safely consume. Ignorance can lead to mistakes that could have been prevented,” says Cormanes

General guidelines include not giving dogs too much fat or salt, preventing them from eating meat with the bones, and watching out for sauces and seasonings with onions and garlic. She and shared the dos and don'ts of popular party foods. Read on to see what to watch out for.


Close up of woman slicing grilled ribs with kitchen knife.
Photo Credit: FotoCuisinette/Shutterstock.

Grilled ribs are a safe and hearty snack for dogs provided that they are given without the bone. Just watch out for sauces that come with the dish that may have potentially harmful herbs or flavorings.

Chicken Wings

Spicy Homemade Buffalo Wings with Dip and Beer.
Photo Credit: Brent-Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Chicken wings are only safe provided that you strip them of the outer coating, especially if they have been infused with strong or spicy flavors from any sauces. Some of those spices may be harmful, like garlic and onion powder. Never give your dogs the chicken bones.

Burgers and Sliders

burgers on hot grill with flames.
Photo Credit: Joshua-Resnick/Shutterstock.

Provided that you give them the plainest most simple kind, burgers and sliders are a good snack for your dogs. Strip your burger of sauces and condiments, onions, and cheese, and ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked and you're good to go.

Remember that dogs can’t have as much salt as humans, so don’t give too much, but you can make your dogs their own lean, unsalted burger patties.

Hot Dogs

Rows of hot dogs on barbeque grill at park.
Photo Credit: Karin-Hildebrand-Lau/Shutterstock.

Hot dogs are very high in fat, calories, and salt. You can easily give your begging puppy too much, and it can lead to pancreatitis because they will have a harder time digesting the fatty contents. Dogs that are obese or have dietary restrictions should skip this snack entirely.


Loaded Nachos on plate with sour cream and salsa.
Photo Credit: Sean-Pavone/Shutterstock.

A plain tortilla chip is generally safe to give to your dogs, but only as an occasional very small snack. Flavored nachos are bad for your dogs as they usually contain harmful herbs and spices and a lot of salt. Especially avoid the nacho dips and sauces that are harmful for the same reason.

Potato Salad

Bowl of potato salad on a rustic picnic table.
Photo Credit: Foodio/Shutterstock.

Potatoes are safe for dogs, but potato salad is not. Potato salad contains mayo, aromatics like onion and garlic, and high amounts of salt.


Guacamole with avocado, lime, tomato, onion and cilantro, in a clay bowl surrounded by corn chips.
Photo Credit: Timolina/Shutterstock.

Avocado contains a substance called persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause serious health problems — even death — in many animals. The American Kennel Society says dogs are more resistant to it than many other animals, however, it is toxic to dogs in large amounts. Avocado prepared with onions, herbs, and spices incorporated into it makes guacamole a bad snack to give your dogs.


Bowl of beef chili with cheddar cheese on top.
Photo Credit: vm2002/Shutterstock.

Chili is a bad choice to serve to your dog because it almost always contains herbs that are toxic to them. Onion and garlic, and chili powder which contains a chemical called capsaicin, will cause irritation and a burning sensation for your dogs and they will eventually have stomach problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas.

Potato Skins

Homemade Loaded Crispy Potato Skins with Sour Cream and Bacon.
Photo Credit: Brent-Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Potato skins contain oxalates which can cause trouble for your pet in the long run. Oxalates may lead to kidney problems in the form of crystals in the bladder or urinary tract. The sauces and toppings that are usually paired with potato skins are equally as bad as the potato skins.


Chocolate labrador retriever at table with plate of cookies.
Photo Credit: New-Africa/Shutterstock.

Cookies are bad for dogs because many of the usual main ingredients are toxic for them. Chocolate can cause theobromine toxicity which leads to stomach upset in the form of profuse vomiting and/or diarrhea. Raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Nuts that are toxic for them include walnuts, macadamias, and pistachios.

Keep Dogs and Humans Happy on Game Day

The dog is ready for the football game.
Photo Credit: cookie_cute/Shutterstock.

Aside from food matters, doing a little prep beforehand can make a Super Bowl party or other game day go better for dogs and humans. Consider getting your dogs outside to play or go on a walk before guests arrive. If the dog's needs for socialization and exercise are met, they'll be more able to be calm with guests.

More Dog Fun: Why Looking at Dog Photos Boosts Well-being

Little black happy Schipperke dog on see-saw.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

For dog lovers, a little bit of peace may be as close as looking at their canine friend.

20 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds Backed By Science

Man giving high five to dog
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Looking for a clever canine companion? One of these smartest dog breeds might be right for you.