Guild of Shepherds & Collies

8 Foods Herding Breeds Should Not Eat

Herding breed dogs are a very distinct type of canine. Built to work alongside humans and sustain a full workday, these dogs need optimal nutrition. All dogs need the six basic nutrients: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. However, herding breeds require even more. Even with  their strength and fortitude, herding breeds, like all dogs, need to stay away from the following foods, which can cause them afflictions ranging from mild tummy distress to death. Many of these are seemingly innocent and mild foods that might easily be considered harmless, which makes it that much more important that they stay on your radar.

Here are 8 foods that herding breed dogs should not eat:


Luckily, many of us already know that chocolate is highly toxic for dogs. It's the chemical theobromine that causes the distress. All types of chocolate are harmful. The worst offenders are dark chocolate, unsweetened baking chocolate and chocolate mulch.


Ok, so what dog is gonna drink coffee? Well, that would be our lab, Django. If you have a coffee cup, she will try to get in your lap and lick it every time. Large consumptions of any caffeine (including those in energy drinks, sodas, cocoas, and even some medications) can cause death. And there is no antidote for a caffeine overdose.


Seemingly harmless, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount can make dogs sick. Repeated vomiting is a telltale sign.


Just like in humans, too much salt can cause heart, kidney and liver problems in dogs. Dogs do not need additional salt added to their diet if they are consuming a nutritious dog food, which will already have a small amount of sodium included. If your dog gets into a bag of chips or another salty snack, it’s OK and there is no need to panic. Just replenish your dog’s water bowl to ensure that s/he has enough water to flush out the excess sodium. A dog would have to ingest a great amount of salt to get sodium iron poisoning. Symptoms include excessive drinking, vomiting and diarrhea. Too much sodium on a regular basis can also throw off a dog’s electrolyte balance. In winter months, dogs can get sick from the rock salt you might use to melt snow and ice from walkways. Read more about those dangers in Winterizing Your Dog, Part 2.

Candy and Gum

…but probably not what you think. Any foods sweetened with xylitol can be damaging. Xylitol causes a dog's blood sugar to drop and might also cause liver failure. As a result, many low fat, diet snacks are off limits for dogs!

Macadamia Nuts

This seemingly natural food can be fatal to dogs. Just a few can make them sick and if they eat cookies with chocolate in them, that ups the chances that the consumption could be fatal.

Onions and Garlic

A little won't do any long term damage, but prolonged consumption of onions and garlic breaks down a dog's red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Yeast Dough

Just like in an oven, if it ends up in a dog's tummy, it will rise and expand causing your dog's belly to swell — and experience a lot of pain. Oddly enough, when the yeast ferments the dough, it produces alcohol which might also cause alcohol poisoning.


All dog owners want to safeguard their dog’s health, and accidental ingestion of harmful foods often occurs as an oversight. If your dog starts experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, panting, sluggishness or just doesn’t seem right, please call your vet. It’s also a good idea to keep a number to your local 24-hour emergency vet in a handy place in your home.


Article By:
Danielle Sullivan


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