14 Foods You Need to Stop Feeding Your Golden Retriever (From Bad to Worse)

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

Raising a golden retriever is like caring for an extra member of your family, so naturally, you want him to be happy and healthy.

To keep your dog’s health in optimal condition, it’s crucial to bear in mind the foods that golden retrievers should avoid, as some can cause indigestion while others are highly poisonous.

Foods your Golden Retriever should avoid include grapes, onions, and garlic. Some foods, such as chocolate and yeast dough, are especially harmful and can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Additionally, excessive dairy, salts, and fats can be damaging to your dog’s long-term wellbeing. 

Read through this article where I, as a licensed veterinary doctor, give you an accurate idea of the foods to avoid in your golden retriever’s diet to help raise a healthy and happy pup.

Dividing Foods Based on Harm Potential

Since different foods have varying levels of impact on your golden retriever’s health, I’ll categorize them according to their severity using green, yellow, and red category indicators.

These three colors will form the basis of our classification ranging from the least toxic to the highly toxic foods, respectively.

GREEN will represent the foods that aren’t toxic to your pup but should be consumed in moderation.

Such foods can cause mild discomforts, including bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. They can also have long-term effects on his health when consumed regularly.

YELLOW will refer to those foods with moderate to severe side effects, such as vomiting, indigestion, and difficulty breathing.

RED will indicate highly toxic foods. You should keep these foods away from your golden retriever at all times as they cause organ failure and death.

Always consult with your vet further if your dog has symptoms after consuming any of the listed food items.

Green: Mild Discomfort

green foods golden retriever

Foods in the ‘green’ category aren’t particularly hazardous to your dog.

Still, it’s recommended to keep portions small and minimize feeding these items as often as possible.

Some golden retrievers have more severe reactions to these foods, while others can eat them freely without issue. 


Generally, it’s safe for dogs to ingest milk, but not in large quantities. Although tasty, milk has been known to cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Milk and other dairy products also have high-fat contents that can trigger weight gain.

Furthermore, some dogs are lactose intolerant, which means they lack enough lactase to break down the milk’s lactose.

As a result, your golden retriever will have incomplete digestion of milk and other dairy products, which can lead to an upset stomach.

The lactose which accumulates in a dog’s body, following incomplete digestion, is converted into fats that put your golden retriever at risk of obesity.

Raw/Undercooked Eggs and Meat

Salmonella and E.Coli poisonings are bacterial infections that fester in raw eggs and undercooked meats.

When consumed, they put your canine at risk of poisoning and can cause stomach aches.

Additionally, raw eggs also contain another element called Avidin, which inhibits the absorption of Vitamin B7 (Biotin).

Inadequate Biotin in a dog’s diet affects its fur and skin health.

Fatty Foods

Like in humans, excessive consumption of fatty foods such as fries, bacon, and sausages can expose your pup to uncontrolled weight gain.

These foods contain a high amount of fats that accumulate in your dog’s body triggering obesity.

Since most dogs aren’t calorie conscious, you should moderate their intake of fatty foods.


Consumption of excess salt will cause your dog mild discomfort. The sodium ions in salt absorb water from your dog’s body, leaving him excessively thirsty and with frequent urination.

Additionally, he can have mild diarrhea and vomiting, which are symptoms of sodium ion poisoning.


Your golden retriever’s consumption of foods in the green category will likely cause mild discomfort, but those symptoms typically go away on their own after plenty of water and rest.

However, it would be best if you kept a close eye on him, monitoring any persisting symptoms that may cause an alarm.

If symptoms continue, consult your vet as soon as possible. 

Yellow: Moderate to Severe Discomfort

yellow foods golden retriever

Foods in the yellow category are more toxic to golden retrievers and should be withheld from your dog’s diet at all times.

Even minor consumption of these foods can lead to discomfort and illness. 


Avocados contain a high-fat content that may expose your golden to weight gain.

They also have a toxic element known as persin, found in the leaves, seed, and flesh.

Persin poisoning causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. In extreme cases, persin toxicity can damage internal organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Lastly, the pit of an avocado presents a choking hazard to your dog.

If swallowed, it can cause gastrointestinal blockage.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions are primary members of the Allium family and have a high level of disulfides and sulfoxides.

These two elements are toxic to canines. When ingested, they cause severe stomach issues coupled with excessive diarrhea and vomiting.

Additionally, they can cause hemolytic anemia, which means they can damage the red blood cells leaving your golden retriever short of oxygen.

Grapes and Raisins

When ingested by dogs, they interfere with the efficient flow of blood into the kidneys, which may, in extreme cases, cause kidney failure.

Additionally, their consumption causes severe abdominal pains, dehydration, seizures, or a coma.


If your golden retriever consumes any of these foods, even in small quantities, consult with your vet for further assistance. 

You should also monitor them closely for further symptoms of illness or poisoning.

Depending on the symptoms’ severity, your vet may advise you to rush your golden to the clinic or perform induced vomiting to reduce the toxins in his bloodstream.

Red: Dangerous or Poisonous

red foods golden retriever

Foods categorized in the red group present the highest level of toxicity to your golden retriever.

They can be extremely hazardous, regardless of the quantity consumed. Avoid exposing your dog to these foods to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion. 


Any kind of chocolate is highly poisonous to your canine friend. Chocolate contains a high amount of caffeine and theobromine.

Caffeine acts as a stimulant whereby it increases your dog’s heart rate and causes hyperactivity.

Theobromine element is a diuretic and cardiac stimulant.

It can interfere with the kidneys’ normal functioning, leaving your golden retriever excessively thirsty or with frequent urination.

Additionally, it affects the normal heart rhythm and increases the pulse rate.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough contains raw yeast, which is unsafe for dogs. If your golden retriever munches on yeast dough, it ferments inside his stomach, releasing an alcoholic product that’s toxic to dogs.

Furthermore, the dough can continue to rise in your dog’s stomach, causing excessive bloating, difficulty breathing, and gut twitching.

It’s easy to notice yeast poisoning since your golden retriever will have an abnormally large abdomen, loss of muscle coordination, seizures, and coma.


Xylitol is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that’s used as a sugar substitute in sugar-free products.

Most human foods, such as ketchup, peanut butter, sugar-free candies and gums, and some baked foods, contain this element.

Although it’s safe for human consumption, xylitol is highly toxic for canines.

When ingested, this toxic element causes a significant drop in your dog’s blood sugar level, accompanied by seizures and disorientation.

When consumed in large quantities, it can lead to liver failure and even death.


Most owners often give bones to their dogs to improve their dental health. While this may hold in some cases, not all bones are good for your golden retriever.

Soft and cooked bones are brittle, and they splinter easily, creating a hazard for your dog.

The fractured pieces can injure your dog’s mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.


Take precautions and keep foods in the ‘red’ classification away from your golden retriever at all times.

If your dog does consume any of them, even by accident, consult with your vet immediately, as these items present the highest risk to your dog’s life.  


When raising a canine, we should ensure he feeds only on the right foods.

Since most of the foods in our homes, whether homemade or manufactured, contain lots of different ingredients, it’s important to learn the items to avoid.

They include:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Salty foods
  • Bones

My list is not exhaustive; therefore, it’s essential to check out with your vet whenever you doubt a particular food.

The vet may also guide you in making a personalized meal plan for your golden retriever.

Golden retriever


  • American Kennel Club: Golden Retriever
  • Pet Health Network: Inducing Vomiting in Your Dog
  • Golden Retrievers Training: Foods you should not feed your dog
  • Rivers hub:18 Human Foods Golden Retrievers Should Not Eat, Ever
  • Official golden retriever: List Of Human Fruits And Vegetable Not Safe For Your Golden Retriever To Eat

Read more about the Golden Retriever breed in my one-page owner guide

Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society

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