Can Your Dog Eat It? Ultimate Guide to Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat

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We all know what it’s like to have our pup’s “puppy dog eyes” staring at us while we eat a steak. It might seem okay for him to just have a bite, but some human foods are downright dangerous for your dog to have even a single bite of them.

Some foods, however, aren’t just acceptable for dogs to eat, they’re encouraged. Foods like carrots are low calorie alternatives to the doggie biscuits that help pack on the pounds for our pups. What foods are okay for your furry family member? Read on to find out what he can have, what he should avoid, and what foods are highly toxic.

Best Human Foods for Your Dog

Apples

Apples are a great snack for your dog, but you have to remember to remove the seeds and the core. The seeds are toxic, and the core is a choking hazard. The apple slices themselves are a great source of fiber and vitamin A. Keep the amount offered to small amounts as they do contain a lot of sugar.

Bananas

Bananas are a healthy food for your pup in moderation. They contain fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all of which your dog can benefit from. They do contain a lot of sugar, so you’ll want to offer the treat in small amounts. Keep the peels from your dog as they are hard to digest.

Carrots

Carrots are a great option for you to feed your dog. They are low in calories and provide an excellent “crunch” when fed raw, so your dog gets the same satisfaction from chewing on a carrot as she does on a higher-calorie biscuit. This food is also high in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium, so it’s a great treat option or addition to meals.

Cooked Poultry

Cooked chicken and turkey is a great source of protein for your pup, but it needs to be cooked. If it’s fed raw, it can be a source of bacterial contamination from organisms such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. Typically you’ll want to feed unseasoned chicken or turkey with the skins removed. It can make an excellent bland diet if your dog is having an upset stomach.

Eggs

Eggs can make a great addition to your dog’s food, but they should be cooked as feeding raw egg whites can result in biotin deficiency. The eggs are full of protein, selenium, and riboflavin. They also make an excellent part of a bland diet if your pet has or is prone to stomach upset.

Fish

Fish is a great option for your dog, especially if they’re sensitive to protein sources like chicken. Some species are more likely to be affected by mercury and should be avoided, including tuna and swordfish. Instead, feed fish like salmon that are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation and improve your pup’s coat quality.

Green Beans

Green beans are a great source of vitamins and minerals for your dog, including vitamins A, C, and K. They also tend to be low in calories and make a great snack or food additive for a pup that’s dieting. Canned should generally be avoided as they are higher in salt than fresh or frozen green beans.

Honey

Honey can be fed to your dog, but it should be fed in small amounts due to its high sugar content. Young pups and immunocompromised dogs should avoid raw honey because it can contain botulism spores that may affect their bodies. It’s great to feed allergy-prone dogs local honey, as it exposes them to native allergens through the pollen. This can help them produce a better immune response and be less prone to allergies.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great snack for your dog as long as it does not contain artificial sugars such as xylitol. You can even make your own peanut butter without salt or additives to make it extra healthy. You’ll want to offer it in small amounts because of the sugar content, but it contains healthy protein and vitamins B and E.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a good snack for your dog as long as it is unsalted, unbuttered, and otherwise unflavored. You’ll want to make sure the kernels are full popped, as they can otherwise get stuck in your dog’s teeth or get lodged in their gut. Popcorn serves as a source of magnesium, zinc and even fiber.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a healthy alternative to some starches found in pet food, such as from corn and wheat. It contains protein and calcium, which are excellent for your dog. You’ll want to feed a small amount the first time though, to ensure it doesn’t cause an upset stomach for your dog.

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is a great snack for most dogs, although some can be sensitive to the lactose that’s in it. Your best bet is feeding unsweetened, unflavored, plain yogurt. Yogurt with lots of active cultures, such as Greek-style yogurt is the healthiest as it lacks some of the lactose that your pup may not be able to digest.

Foods Your Pup Should Probably Avoid

Almonds

Almonds are not truly toxic to dogs but they can pose a hazard when they eat them. These nuts can tear your dog’s esophagus or cause an obstruction if they aren’t chewed completely. In addition, salted almonds can cause issues for some dogs from the extra sodium.

Avocados

Avocados don’t cause the same health issues in dogs that they cause in some species such as birds, but the toxic component known as persin can build up and cause gastrointestinal upset. The pit is also an obstruction hazard if eaten, potentially blocking your dog’s intestines.

Bread

Bread is small amounts is usually okay for your dog, but this carbohydrate-rich food is a source of empty calories. If you feed it, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t contain raisins or seasonings, which could be toxic to your dog.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is not considered toxic for your dog, but it should be avoided due to the potential hazards it presents. In large amounts, it can cause low blood sugar and liver damage, and inhaling cinnamon can be an airway irritant. It can also irritate your dog’s mouth when ingested in any form.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are not toxic to your dog, but they are full of sugar and have the potential to cause gastrointestinal upset. The rind is not easily digestible and can cause obstructions in your dog’s gut, as well as increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal upset.

Coconut

Coconut tends to be safe for dogs to eat in moderate amounts, especially the meat of the coconut. It contains lauric acid, which decreases inflammation. Some pets have gastrointestinal upset from the medium chain triglycerides, and they can also be linked to pancreatitis with giving coconut oil in some cases. The husk of the coconut is not readily digestible and can cause obstructions.

Ham and Pork Products

Ham and pork products can be safe for some dogs to eat, but they tend to be high in fat and salt, especially ham. This can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, and it has also be linked in many cases to pancreatitis.

Ice Cream

Ice cream is not usually toxic, but it can be problematic for your dog to eat. This delicious treat for us contains a lot of sugar, and it also contains the milk sugar lactose. Many dogs lose the ability or lack it completely to break down the lactose, so you should avoid giving it to your dog.

Milk

Milk can be okay for your dog in small amounts, but like with ice cream, it contains lactose. Many dogs are lactose-intolerant, so they can’t break down the milk that they ingest. This can increase the likelihood of issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Peaches

Peaches are not technically considered toxic to your pet. Like many other fruits, they are high in sugars, which can be bad for your dog. The real hazard is the pit, which if eaten can cause an obstruction. In addition, the pit contains cyanide, so it is highly toxic to your dog.  If your dog swallows a peach pit, call your vet right away for advice

Plums

Plums are similar to peaches in that they aren’t technically bad for your dog, but the issue is the high sugars and the pit.

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs are often touted for being part of a raw diet, but they can be very toxic to your dog. They have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria, such as Salmonella, and raw egg whites are linked to biotin deficiency. Instead, if you’re going to give your dog eggs, make sure they are cooked or pasteurized to ensure they don’t pass on to your pup.

Raw Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain a potentially toxic compound known as solanine. In addition to gastrointestinal problems, this compound can cause heart issues and problems breathing. Cooking the potatoes decreases the toxic component and makes it safe for your dog to eat.

Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Alcohol

Alcohol is toxic to your dog in any form that it takes. The kidneys don’t process alcohol the same way that people do, and they are smaller in size than people so it’s easier for the alcohol to affect your pup. In addition, grapes are toxic, so wine is, as well. Hops, which some alcohols are made with, are also toxic to your dog.

Bones

Bones can be very dangerous for your dog to eat. The bones can cause obstructions as they don’t digest readily. When your dog bites into the bones, these can also fragment into sharp pieces. These pieces can perforate your dog’s intestines and cause serious health issues.

Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to your pup because it contains methylxanthines, which can cause health issues in your dog. Dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate due to the amount of these compounds that it contains. Your dog can suffer gastrointestinal issues, seizures, rapid heart rate, and even death.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee has the potential to be very toxic to your dog. It contains theobromine, a toxic compound for your pup. A small sip of caffeinated beverages is not likely to cause harm, but large amounts or ingesting tea bags can result in hyperactivity, vomiting, high blood pressure, and seizures.

Fat Trimmings

Fat trimmings from foods such as ham or steak can be dangerous for your dog to eat. They are likely to cause health issues such as pancreatitis, which can be life threatening. Your dog may have vomiting and diarrhea and even need hospitalization to stabilize her.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are dangerous for your dog to eat and can cause issues after being ingested such as acute kidney failure, with as little as one grape for a large breed dog. The exact toxic component is unknown.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are highly toxic for your dog to eat, and they may cause a series of health issues for your pup. They can cause vomiting, as well as hyperthermia, lethargy, and an inability to get around. If your dog eats these nuts, she will likely need supportive care to help keep her healthy.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic, as well as other members of the Allium family, such as leeks and chives. Garlic is the most toxic of these foods, and they can cause delayed symptoms. These foods can cause anemia in your dog, which can result in pale gums, weakness, and even death. The toxic component causes the body to break down red blood cells.

Salty Foods

Salty foods, such as chips and pretzels, can be very toxic to your pet in larger amounts. A chip or pretzel is unlikely to cause an issue. These foods in high amounts can cause water retention, as well as symptoms such as tremors or seizures and death.

Sugary Foods

Sugary foods provide little benefit to your pup and are often filled with empty calories. As a short term sign, you might see vomiting or diarrhea. Chronic feeding can increase the risk for obesity, as well as health conditions such as diabetes.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sugar and can be lethal to your dog. Found in some foods such as gum and candies, xylitol can cause liver damage or cause hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. Your pet may develop a loss of coordination or even tremors or seizures.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough that has not been cooked can cause issues when ingested by your dog. The bread dough expands in your dog’s stomach and can cause bloating to occur. The yeast gets broken down into alcohol and can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can lead to seizures and decreased blood pressure.

Can Your Dog Eat It?  Final Thoughts

I hope this quick reference guide has been helpful for you on figuring out which human foods are safe for your dog to eat!

If you’re ever in doubt about if your dog can eat a certain food or not, consult your veterinarian to stay on the safe side.