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What Can German Shepherds Not Eat?

We love our dogs and often find it impossible to resist those pleading eyes.  However, there are some foods that are toxic, dangerous or unhealthy and should simply never be given to your German Shepherd.  The below list and infographic will help you identify what your German Shepherd should not eat.

Toxic Foods

Some human foods are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, seizures and other neurological effects, severe vomiting and other problems. If you German Shepherd ingests any of these potentially toxic foods, contact your vet or the ASPCA poison control center at (888)-426-4435 immediately.  Some examples of toxic foods are:

Chocolate and Caffeine

Chocolate, coffee and caffeine contain methylxanthines which can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and panting, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death.

Darker chocolate contains more cocoa and a higher concentration of methylxanthines. Even small amounts of these foods can be highly toxic to your dog.


The artificial sweetener Xylitol is found in sugar-free gums and candies and even some peanut butters. Xylitol causes an increase in insulin and leads to low blood sugar, vomiting, and lethargy. Toxicity can quickly progress to seizures and liver failure.

Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts

All nuts contain high levels of fats, which can lead to German Shepherd stomach problems and even pancreatitis. Small amounts of some nuts may be tolerated by your dog, but walnuts and macadamia nuts must be avoided. These nuts contain certain toxins that can cause seizures and other neurological problems.

Certain Fruits

Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts.  Peaches, pears, apples and other fruits that contain pits or seeds that are dangerous for your German Shepherd.

The fruits themselves are completely safe, but the seeds contain cyanide.  Citrus fruits can also be dangerous if the seeds or peels are ingested.

Many fruits and vegetables CAN be safely enjoyed by your dog.  However, if in doubt, consult the ASPCA resources below or your veterinarian.

Fruits and Vegetables 

Potential Poisonous Plants 

Other Problem Foods

While the below foods are not considered poisonous, they can cause gastrointestinal problems.  German Shepherd stomach problems can range from merely unpleasant to life threatening.

High Fat Foods

High fat foods including bacon and other fatty meats, nuts and coconut can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Ingestion of high fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal if not treated.

High fat foods can also quickly add up to too many calories, leading to weight gain and possible worsening of arthritis and other joint problems.


Dogs are generally lactose intolerant.  Avoid giving your dog too much milk, ice cream or cheese as it can cause discomfort and diarrhea.

Yeast Dough

While you probably wouldn’t feed raw yeast dough to your German Shepherd, your dog may be tempted to sneak a bite of rising dough.  Yeast dough is problematic because it will continue to expand once ingested, causing severe gas and pain.

The resulting bloating can even cause your dog’s stomach to twist, which is a life-threatening emergency.  The ethanol produced as the yeast ferments is also very dangerous for your dog.

Certain Bones and Chews

All chicken bones and cooked meat bones should never be given to a dog, as they can splinter and cause choking, obstructions, or damage to the digestive tract. Pressed rawhide poses similar problems if your dog swallows larger pieces of this popular chew.

Final Thoughts

Although there are plenty of foods that are safe to feed your German Shepherd, avoid these foods above to keep your pooch healthy for years to come.  Click here if you are interested in learning about what foods German Shepherds like to eat.

Where you surprised by any foods listed in this article?  Let me know in the comments!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tips on “what not to feed your GSD. I learned a lot from you.
    They are truly the greatest dog in the world. I appreciate your site and plan on using it a lot.

    1. Hi Billy! Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad I could help. Before I had dogs I had no clue that they couldn’t eat some of these items. Yes, I agree, my first GSD has changed my world for the better.

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