Can dogs get food poisoning?

August 31, 2021

Dogs can sometimes get an upset tummy but does this mean they have food poisoning? Find out here!

Have you ever eaten a questionable tasting meal or a weird looking snack only to feel sick a few hours later? Food poisoning is a terrible feeling and in some situations can leave certain individuals hospitalized. Many concerned pet owners ask, is it possible for my dog to get food poisoning? The answer is yes, but it is less common than in humans.

Dogs are more well adapted to consume food that contains microbes that we associate with food poisoning. Occasionally, dogs can get food poisoning from contaminated commercial food. It is uncommon however because the majority of commercial pet food undergoes a cooking kill step to ensure the destruction of dangerous microbial species. In addition, commercial pet food also goes through rigorous quality assurance and food safety testing. 

Sick dog  dog sick stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

In the case of microbial contamination of commercial pet food, it is usually the human owners who are most at risk. Owners can actually get food poisoning from their dog’s food without actually eating it. This is because if food is contaminated, simply handling the food can be a route of exposure. Furthermore, dogs also shed live microbes in their feces and saliva. Therefore, owners can also be exposed by cleaning up after their dogs and petting them or letting them lick their face.

The most common reason for dogs getting food poisoning is because they are eating something they shouldn’t be. Some examples of this include:

Keep in mind that food poisoning is different from food toxicity. Food poisoning usually has a pathological, microbial component. In contrast, food toxicity results from dogs eating food with a chemical compound that is toxic to them, such as onions, walnuts, grapes, etc. Some of the symptoms of food poisoning and food toxicity can be similar but the treatments are different.

Canine Patient in Hospital Room Cute sick little hound lying in bed with ice pack on her headSome other related images: dog sick stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Symptoms of food poisoning in dogs may vary but they usually include some sort of gastrointestinal indicators. Common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs include:

In severe cases, some dogs may show neurological symptoms such as tremors, incoordination and seizures.

A 2011 study by researchers from the faculty of veterinary medicine at Islamic Azad University showed that feeding your dog probiotics may actually prevent them from getting food poisoning. The results of the study showed that probiotics had an effective role in the decrease of digestive problems and that probiotic addition to the diet significantly decreased the occurrence of food poisoning in the treatment group.

Young woman giving her dog vitamins Pet owner giving his dog a pill. Focus on the plastic bottle with vitamins dog supplement stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

If you suspect your dog may have food poisoning, begin with fasting them for 24 so they can clear everything out of their system. The most important thing to remember is to ensure that they are drinking water. Vomiting and diarrhea put them at risk for dehydration which can be dangerous in its own right. 

After 24 hour fasting, slowly start feeding your dog small, digestible meals. This could be something like a cup of boiled chicken breast and white rice. If you see improvement with the small, simple meals, you can begin to incorporate their usual food back in. If symptoms persist or worsen, take your dog to your veterinarian as they may need more clinical help.


Pet MD “Can dogs get food poisoning” (2020).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. "Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infections caused by contaminated dry dog food--United States, 2006-2007." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 57, no. 19 (2008): 521-524.

Torkan, S., D. Shirani, E. Rahimi, and K. Ghomi. "The Evaluation of Probiotic Effect on Prevention of Food Bacterial Poisoning in Dog." (2011): 403-413.

Chesney, C. J. "Food sensitivity in the dog: a quantitative study." Journal of Small Animal Practice 43, no. 5 (2002): 203-207.

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