The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

We love to give our dogs different types of human food to add a little variety to their diet as well as vitamins and fiber.

Or you just might be cooking something and want to share some with your pup, especially when your dog eyes you and you can’t help but give in!

Dogs also love to join or partake in the leftover table scraps whether you want them to or not.

Of course, your first concern is that whatever type of food your dog samples is safe for your dog.

To address your concerns, we have created a list of both the food that is safe and unsafe for dogs to eat.

Keep in mind that every dog is different and you should always start slowly when introducing any new food to your dog to see if there is any negative reaction.

Below is our list of the different foods that are safe and not safe for your dogs to eat.

What Human Foods Are Safe For Dogs?

Dog eating safe human foodsLet’s start with the list of food that is safe for dogs:

Apples

Apples are safe for dogs to eat, either red or green!  They provide an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and even some much-needed fiber.  Apples are low in fat and protein making them a really good snack for all dogs, particularly seniors.

Of course, you need to take out the seeds and remove the core before feeding them to your pups.

Bananas

Bananas are a great addition to your dog’s diet because they are healthy, easy to digest and safe to swallow. Bananas are high in vitamins, particularly potassium, biotin, copper and fiber.

They are low in both sodium and cholesterol, but bananas should be given sparingly as they are very high in sugar.  You can try adding a couple slices to your dogs’ food or as a snack.

Blueberries

Blueberries are also safe for dogs and filled with antioxidants.  Known as one of the “superfoods,” blueberries have fiber, phytochemicals and an abundance of antioxidants which can help to prevent cell damage in dogs.

Frozen blueberries are a great way to add to your dog’s diet for a crunchy treat or even just straight from the refrigerator.

Broccoli

Broccoli, in small amounts can be an excellent addition to your pup’s diet.  Broccoli, with an abundance of fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients, can be enjoyed by your dog.  However, cooked broccoli is the best as broccoli can cause gas in dogs. A little broccoli can go a long way!

Other vegetables, such as Brussel sprouts, when cooked can also be safe and nutritious for your pups.

Carrots

Carrots, just as in humans, can help a dog’s vision from the carotene that is found in them.  Not only are they crunchy, which is great for a dog’s teeth, but carrots also provide niacin, potassium as well as Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and even K.

Carrots are also loaded with both lutein and lycopene which are both phytonutrients that can help your dog’s eyes from UVB radiation.  Raw or cooked, carrots are a good addition to a dog’s diet.

If you are more of a celery person, your dog can also eat celery.  Just as in carrots, make sure to cut the celery in small pieces.

Cheese

Cheese can be a nice treat for your dog and is safe to eat but in moderation.  Cheese has a high amount of protein, Vitamin A, calcium and even B-complex vitamins.  Most dogs love the taste of cheese and it is used to motivate dogs for training.

Cheese can be very high in fat so it’s best to use it sparingly.  Low fat cheeses such as mozzarella or even cottage cheese can be a good treat.

Not all dogs can digest cheese if they are lactose intolerant which is why it’s best to start in small doses.

Eggs

Eggs are very high in protein and have many essential amino acids and the good, Omega enriching fatty acids. Make sure to cook the eggs before feeding any to your dogs.

Eggs are also known to help a dog’s upset stomach.  While they are safe for most dogs, your vet can tell you how many eggs your dog can eat a day.  The yolk, while providing the essential nutrients, can become caloric if your pup eats too many.

Lettuce

Lettuce is more than 90 percent water so it’s not as nutritious as some other vegetables, but it can add a little bit of fiber to your dog’s diet.  Lettuce does contain Vitamin A and beta-carotene which are important vitamins for your dog.

Romaine, iceberg and arugula are the better types of lettuce to feed your dog.  Spinach, however, can be difficult to digest.

Mangos

Mangos are sweet and enriched with potassium, beta-carotene as well as alpha-carotene.  Packed with vitamins A, B6, C and E, mangos are filled with vitamins and well as easy for your dog to digest.

Of course, you need to remove the pit before you give any to your pup.  A cube or two can be a tasty and a safe treat for your pup.

Oranges

Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, fiber and potassium and are OK to feed your dogs if you remove the seeds and, of course, the peel.

They are not the best fruit for your dog so just give your dog one or two slices.  Grapefruits, however, should not be fed to dogs.

Peanuts

Raw or unsalted peanuts are the only type of nuts that are safe for your dogs to eat. Of course, if your dog has a couple salted peanuts, it won’t harm your pup but it’s best to go for the unsalted variety.

Most dogs love peanut butter and due to its creamy flavor, high protein and good, unsaturated fat, your dogs can benefit from a few peanuts or peanut butter as a snack. Peanuts can cause digestive issues if high quantities are consumed so save the peanuts or peanut butter for a special-occasion snack.

Pineapple

Pineapple, in small doses can be a great treat for your dogs that is loaded with minerals, vitamins, and fiber. This sweet fruit contains bromelain which is an enzyme that makes it easier to digest proteins.

Of course, you should take off all the peel before serving any pineapple to your dogs.

Shrimp

Shrimp, as long as they are cooked, is something you can definitely share with your dogs.  Shrimp have many nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Niacin and as well as phosphorous which helps your dog’s bones to stay healthy and even have anti-oxidants.

While shrimp are low in fat and calories, they are also known to be high in cholesterol which is why they should be doled out in small doses.

Strawberries

Strawberries have an abundance of Vitamin C, antioxidants, as well as fiber.  Strawberries are thought to be a great natural way to whiten your dog’s teeth. Just make sure to feed them in moderation to your pup as they are high in sugar.

Take off the strawberries stem and cut them up in small pieces to add a little variety to your pup’s diet.

Watermelon

Watermelon is great for dogs as it has almost 93 % water and is a good summer fruit to keep your dogs.  With Vitamins C, A and B-6 and an abundance of potassium, watermelon can help aid your dog’s nerve function as well as maintain healthy muscles.

Of course, you need to remove the seeds from the watermelon before sharing it with your dog.

Human Foods You Should NEVER Feed Your Dog

The food listed below is unsafe for dogs and should be avoided.

However, if your dog consumes any of the below in a very small portion, it doesn’t mean your dog will get sick immediately or at all, just make sure to keep an eye on your dog.

It’s best not to add any of the below foods to your dog’s diet:

Avocado

While avocados are very good for us humans, they are not safe for dogs.  In fact, avocados can cause serious health issues in dogs and even death.  That is very unlikely, but the point is no avocado for your dogs.

They reason avocados are so lethal for dogs is they contain a toxin called persin that can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and even pancreatitis.   Therefore, if you love avocados, make sure that your dog doesn’t have any access to it or leave any uneaten avocado in your trash can.

Almonds

While almonds are not as toxic as some nuts, they can be very difficult for a dog to digest.  In fact just a few almonds can cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach irritation for your dogs.

And if your dog digests too many almonds, your pup might develop pancreatitis.  Plus, due to the shape of the almond, small dogs can easily choke on almonds if they sample a few.

Chocolate

Most dog owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs.  If your dog ingests just a little chocolate, your pup will probably just have an upset stomach or diarrhea.

However, in large amounts, the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate, particularly cocoa or milk chocolate can lead to seizures, a sped up heartbeat or even a heart attack.

Not all chocolate produces the same results, but just to be safe, it’s best to avoid all chocolate.

Grapes

Grapes and even raisins are both very toxic to dogs.  Grapes have been known to lead to acute kidney failure in dogs.   Therefore, if you love grapes, make sure to keep them far away from your dogs.

It is isn’t quite know exactly why grapes are so toxic for dogs, but the outcome can definitely be serious which is why it’s best to have your dogs’ avoid them.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are not as straightforward as many of the different food types for dogs.  Mushrooms out in the wild that are found when you are hiking with your pup or just taking a walk down the street are very dangerous for dogs and should be avoided.

However, store bought mushrooms, in very small doses, can be safe to eat.  But, use discretion when feeding your dogs’ mushrooms and make sure that there are not any sauces or spices.  Just a plain mushroom.

Onions or Garlic

Onions are toxic to dogs because they have a toxin called N-propyl disulfide.

This compound causes a breakdown of red blood cells that could lead to anemia in dogs.  The toxin damages a dog’s red blood cells which makes it harder for your dog to carry oxygen and confuses the dog’s body to make it seem as if the red blood cells are invaders.  Therefore, the red blood cells are destroyed and can cause hemolytic anemia.

No onions for dogs and not even in small doses!

Garlic is also known to be harmful to dogs, so be careful when you’re cooking with garlic or onions and your dog is close by.

Popcorn

While not all popcorn is unsafe for dogs, the majority of us eat our popcorn with butter or other toppings that are not great for dogs.  If your dog does eat a morsel or two, not to worry.

However, regular plain popcorn that is air-popped is OK for dogs to eat in small quantities.  It’s probably best not to give your dog too much popcorn on a regular basis as it can also cause indigestion.

And, of course, watch out for the kernels as they can be difficult for your dog to swallow and cause your dog to choke.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not safe for dogs and should be avoided.  While the red part of the tomato is generally OK for dogs, the green parts of tomatoes have a toxic substance that is called solanine which can cause indigestion and vomiting in dogs.

While a dog would need to consume a lot of tomatoes to get sick, it’s better to skip them altogether just to be on the safe side.

And if you grow tomatoes, make sure to keep your dog away from them as the green parts of the tomato is toxic.

Macadamia Nuts

Another food that is fine for people but causes gastric distress in animals are macadamia nuts.

These nuts contain an unidentified toxin which causes sickness, diarrhea and muscle weakness in dogs. Signs have been seen from eating as little as 2.4 g of nuts for every 2 pounds of body weight of the dog.

Milk or Dairy Products

Milk products contain lactose, and our pets often lack the milk enzyme lactase, which is necessary to digest milk. This leads to milk fermenting in the bowel and causing nasty diarrhea in some cases.

Corn on the Cob

What could be nicer than buttery corn on the cob?

While pet mice and rats may eat it just fine, dogs aren’t as well-matched for the treat. The trouble is dogs tend to wolf it down whole, which leads to a dangerous blockage in the bowel. Signs include repeated vomiting, leading to dehydration and depression. Urgent surgery is essential or the consequences can be dire.

Xylitol

What the heck is xylitol?

This is an artificial sweetener commonly used to replace sugar in chewing gum, cookies and candies. The alarming thing is that it is a potent stimulant of insulin release in cats and dogs. After eating lower-sugar cookies containing xylitol, that potent push of insulin sends the pet’s blood sugar into his boots with potentially fatal consequences.

Final Thoughts Dogs and Human Food

While every dog may react differently to certain foods, this guide can help you gauge at least the food that is safe for your dogs to sample. Some dog owners may even transition to a raw food diet to eliminate the risks of processed dog food.

If your dog has a bad reaction to any of the food listed or starts to have any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or anything unusual, take your dog to the vet immediately. Of course, having pet insurance will help offset the costs of any of the associated medical bills up to 90%!

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