When discussing whether to allow a pet dog to eat human food or not, there are a couple of schools of thought. One holds a person should never feed a dog human food, while the other is willing to serve up anything and everything to their dog. The truth is, there are many people foods dogs can eat.
If you look at a container of high-quality dog food, you should notice many common “human” food ingredients, such as chicken, beef, lamb, carrots, peas, and rice. So if these ingredients are acceptable ground up or mixed as dog food, can you give them these ingredients raw or unprocessed?
Always defer to your veterinarian if you have dietary or nutrition concerns for your pets. That said, not all people foods are harmless; however, there are universally dangerous foods for dogs. If you’re curious about what is safe to offer your pet and what foods to avoid, read on.
20+ Foods Dogs Can Eat
As with our own diets, moderation is key for dogs as well. So while the following are dog-approved, you should make sure your pets are getting a variety of nutrients from various sources. Any time you introduce new foods to your pets, give them only a small bite first and then wait to see how your pet reacts.
And, by react, we don’t mean begging for more. Wait at least 24 hours to ensure the food doesn’t upset your dog’s stomach or other systems. We know that seems like a long time but trust us: Your dog’s sense of time is much different from yours.
Here a list of the best food for dogs that humans eat:
Apples: Apple slices provide vitamins A and C and fiber that can help regulate your dog’s digestion. (Don’t let your pet eat rotten apples because they can cause alcohol poisoning.)
Bananas: Bananas provide magnesium, which is necessary for healthy bones. However, bananas have high sugar content, so they should be used as an occasional treat.
Blueberries: Blueberries are a rich source of fiber and antioxidants that can benefit your dog’s health.
Bread: Plain bread in small amounts is okay for dogs. To avoid unnecessary preservatives, skip the grocery store loaves of bread and make your own or buy bakery-fresh bread.
Carrots: Carrots are another great source of vitamin A and can support your dog’s immune system, skin, and coat. As with humans, too much vitamin A can be toxic to dogs, so moderation is essential.
Cheese: Cheese can be an excellent treat for dogs if given occasionally. Stick with low-fat types like mozzarella and cottage cheese. Although rare, some dogs are lactose-intolerant and may experience diarrhea with dairy products.
Chicken: Often a standard dog food ingredient, cooked chicken is safe for dogs. If your pet has an upset stomach, your vet may suggest replacing his food with plain (no seasoning) boiled chicken for a few days.
Corn: Another typical dog food ingredient is corn. Make sure the corn is off the cob as it is difficult for dogs to digest and can lead to an intestinal blockage.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers contain vitamin K and make a great low-calorie snack.
Eggs: Fully cooked eggs are an excellent source of protein. They can help with an upset tummy; however, because raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency, eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
Fish: Fish contains amino acids and healthy fats and can be beneficial to your dog. Salmon, tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which can support your dog’s immune system, skin, and coat. Shrimp provide B vitamins that promote healthy blood circulation. All tiny bones must be removed from fish served to your pet. Fish must be fully-cooked and cooled before serving. Limit fish intake to no more than twice a week.
Green beans: Green beans are an excellent source of protein and vitamin K. They can be served cooked or raw to dogs. Be sure to chop up the green beans to prevent choking.
Ham: While ham is high in sodium and fat, sharing an occasional small piece is okay for dogs to eat.
Honey: This nutritional powerhouse is loaded with vitamins and contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. Honey, given in small amounts, can help your dog with allergies.
Oatmeal: Cooked oatmeal is an excellent fiber source and can be an alternative to grain for dogs allergic to wheat.
Peanut butter: Packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, niacin, vitamin E, peanut butter, and peanut butter based dog treats are excellent snack choices for dogs. Ensure the peanut butter you serve your dog doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, as they are toxic to dogs. Read our article about peanut butter for dogs.
Popcorn: Air-popped, unsalted, un-buttered popcorn is okay for dogs. Popcorn contains riboflavin and thiamine, which support digestion and eye health. Unpopped kernels can pose a choking hazard.
Pork: Pork that is cooked and unseasoned is safe for dogs in small portions. Avoid too much processed ham or bacon due to their high salt content.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is an excellent beta-carotene source, vitamin A, and fiber and can aid digestive issues.
Quinoa: Quinoa is safe for dogs and is a healthy alternative to wheat, corn, and soy.
Turkey: While turkey is okay for dogs to eat, be sure to remove skin, excess fat, and bones, which can splinter and cause an intestinal blockage or tear.
Watermelon: Watermelon, a high water fruit, contains vitamins A, C, and B-6. The fruit can help keep your dog hydrated, minus the seeds, as they can block the intestines and rind as it can cause an upset stomach.
Wheat/grains: Wheat and grains, typical dog food ingredients, are good sources of fiber, protein, and essential fatty acids. For dogs with grain allergies, it’s best to avoid grains and wheat.
White rice: Plain, cooked white rice is another go-to when your dog has an upset tummy. White rice can cause a rise in blood sugar, so diabetic dogs should only be fed small amounts of white rice.
Yogurt: Yogurt is high in calcium and protein and can aid your dog’s digestive system. However, be sure the yogurt does not contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
20 Dangerous Foods for Dogs
While there are plenty of “safe” foods, there are also some not-so-good ones. Most of the following can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea at a minimum; others can result in death. Here are 20 things not to feed your dog:
Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages and foods containing alcohol can cause a host of health issues, including nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and death. Never give your dog alcohol.
Avocados: Avocados contain an oil-soluble compound called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Bones: Feeding your dog raw or cooked bones should be avoided. Bones are a choking hazard or could splinter and block or tear your dog’s intestines.
Cherries: There are a few reasons to avoid feeding your dog cherries. The pits contain prussic acid (cyanide), which can be life-threatening if chewed on and can be a choking hazard or block the intestines if swallowed.
Chocolate and coffee (anything with caffeine): Never give your dog anything with caffeine like chocolate and coffee. These items contain methylxanthines, a toxic chemical to dogs, causing vomiting, an irregular heart rate, seizures, and death.
Citrus: Small amounts of (peeled) citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are okay for dogs. However, the citric acid in these fruits can cause an upset stomach, and if taken in a large quantity, it can result in nervous system depression.
Coconut and coconut oil: Coconut flesh can be a choking hazard, and coconut oil can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Grapes and raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Unfortunately, experts have yet to identify the toxic substance. Until it is discovered, avoid giving your dog grapes and raisins.
Macadamia nuts: Ingesting macadamia nuts can lead to vomiting, weakness, tremors, depression, and hyperthermia in dogs within 12 hours of ingestion and can last up to 48 hours.
Nuts: The high amount of oils and fats in almonds, pecans, and walnuts can cause vomiting and diarrhea and lead to pancreatitis.
Onions, garlic, chives: Not only can these vegetables and herbs cause stomach irritation, but they can also lead to red blood cell damage.
Raw/undercooked foods: Raw or undercooked meat and eggs contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella that can be harmful to pets and humans.
Salty foods: Too much salt intake can cause excessive thirst and urination and sodium ion poisoning, which can be deadly. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.
Xylitol: This sugar substitute can cause low blood sugar levels and liver failure.
Yeast dough: Although baked bread is okay for dogs to eat, raw bread dough is not. The yeast in the bread dough can cause a gas build-up in your dog’s digestive system, resulting in bloating and twisting of the stomach, a life-threatening condition.
Tips for Serving People Foods to Your Dog
Now that you know what foods are okay to serve your pet and those you shouldn’t, here are a few tips to keep in mind when serving people foods to your dog:
- Only offer your dog small amounts of “safe” foods.
- Foods must be appropriately bite-sized for your pet.
- Cook food thoroughly; do not serve raw foods to your dog.
- Let food completely cool before serving.
- Keep an eye on your pet while he’s eating people foods.
If you believe your dog has eaten something toxic, immediately contact your vet or local veterinary hospital. Consult your veterinarian with questions or concerns about your dog’s diet and what people foods are safe and what foods to avoid.