We know how tempting it is to sneak your dog human food while they stare at you with those puppy eyes during dinner prep. But before you start sharing your favourite snacks with them, know that dogs have a different digestive system than humans. This means that some foods that are safe for people can be dangerous and harmful for dogs. However, some human foods in moderation are safe for our best pals and can provide important nutrients and health benefits! So, we compiled our list of top common household foods that make good and bad choices so you can feel good about what you do and don't treat your favourite friend to.
P.S. We also included a handy printable version here so you can hang on your fridge and easily reference!
Disclaimer: This list is not comprehensive of everything you can and can't feed your dog. It's simply our top recommendations based on research provided by the AKC, RSPCA, and ASCPA. If your dog has or develops allergies/intolerances or needs a specific diet regime, always consult your vet first.
The Yes List
FRUITS & VEGGIES:
Apples provide many important vitamins for dogs, such as vitamins A and C. Apples are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate a dog’s digestion. However, make sure to remove the seeds and core*. Note eating rotting apples can lead to alcohol poisoning in dogs so make sure to double check the state of your apples.
Blueberries safe for dogs to eat and a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which can provide a range of health benefits for dogs. Research from 2012 suggests that antioxidants may help improve age-related issues in older dogs.
Dogs can eat bananas in moderation. They are full of magnesium, which is important for good bone health, however they have a high sugar content so make sure they are kept to an occasional treat.
A few chunks of pineapple is a great sweet treat for dogs, as long as the prickly outside peel and crown are removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb protein.
Chewing on carrots can help promote good dental hygiene by removing plaque from their teeth. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin A, which is beneficial for a dog’s immune system, skin, and coat. However, too much vitamin A can be toxic, so feed a dog carrots in moderation.
Cucumbers are a safe, low-calorie snack for dogs, and they can be a good option for those who are overweight. Cucumbers also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K.
✔️ Green Beans
Plain, unseasoned green beans are a good, healthy snack for dogs. They are a source of protein and also contain calcium, iron, and vitamin K. Dogs can eat green beans cooked or raw but make sure to chop up to avoid choking.
Celery is a great little snack for doggies on a diet as it is very low in fat and cholesterol and is an excellent source of fiber; vitamins A, C, and K; folate; potassium; and manganese. The crunchy veggie also might freshen up your dog’s breath, which is all the incentive some dog owners need. Make sure to cut the celery up in small chunks to avoid choking.
Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden or English peas are all OK for dogs to find in their bowl on occasion. Peas have several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and high in fiber. You can feed your dog fresh or frozen peas, but avoid canned peas with added sodium.
Never feed your the dog seeds or pits in fruits, such as apples, cherries, peaches and pears as they contain toxic traces of cyanide.
FISH & POULTRY:
✔️ Salmon, Shrimp, & Tuna
These fish are all safe for dogs to eat and good sources of protein. Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep a dog’s immune system, coat, and skin healthy. The B vitamins in shrimp can also help maintain a dog’s digestive system and promote healthy blood circulation. It is important to cook fish before feeding it to a dog, as uncooked fish can contain harmful parasites.
Plain, boiled chicken with no seasoning is a good option when a dog has an upset stomach.
Cooked turkey is safe for dogs to eat, but it should be plain and unseasoned. Many commercial dog foods contain turkey, as it is a good source of protein. Before giving cooked turkey to a dog, remove the fat first. Too much fat can cause pancreas issues in dogs.
Eggs are safe for dogs as long as they are fully cooked. Cooked eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can help an upset stomach. However, eating raw egg whites can contribute to biotin deficiency, so be sure to cook the eggs all the way through before giving them to your pet.
CARBS, GRAINS & NUTS:
✔️ White Rice
Cooked, plain white rice can be a good option for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stool. White rice can cause blood sugar levels to rise, however, so dogs with diabetes should only eat it in small amounts.
✔️ Peanut Butter*
Unsalted peanut butter with no added sugar or sweeteners is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Peanut butter contains many beneficial elements, including vitamins E and B, niacin, healthful fats, and protein. *However, it is vital to check that the peanut butter does not contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.
Corn is one of the most common ingredients in most dog foods. However, the cob can be hard for a dog to digest and may cause an intestinal blockage, so if you’re sharing some corn, make sure it is off the cob.
Plain popcorn without salt, butter, or sugar, can be a nutritional treat for dogs. Popcorn contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are all important for keeping dogs healthy. Make sure dogs do not eat any un-popped popcorn kernels, as this could cause them to choke.
Yes, quinoa is OK for dogs. You can now find quinoa in some high-quality dry dog foods. The strong nutritional profile of quinoa makes it a healthy alternative to corn, wheat, and soy — starches that are often used to make kibble.
Honey is packed with countless nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. Feeding dogs small amounts of honey can help with allergies because it introduces small amounts of pollen to their systems, building up immunity to allergens in your area.
The No List
FRUITS & VEGGIES:
Avocados contain a substance called persin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
❌ Raisins & Grapes
Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants are all highly toxic to dogs. Even small quantities can cause kidney failure and, in some cases, death. Also, refrain from giving dogs any product that may contain these foods, such as fruit cake or malt loaf.
❌ Oranges, Lemons, Limes, & Grapefruit
Citrus plants and their fruits contain citric acid. While eating small amounts of the peeled fruit is okay for some dogs, it can cause an upset stomach. In larger quantities, citric acid can lead to nervous system depression.
❌ Coconut Products
Dogs should not drink coconut water, due to its high levels of potassium. A person should also limit how much coconut oil or flesh they give their dog, as these foods can cause upset stomach or diarrhea.
❌ Onions, Garlic, & Chives
These items are all part of the Allium genus. They contain substances called organosulfoxides, which are toxic to dogs and may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Organosulfoxides can also cause anemia in dogs..
DAIRY & CAFFEINE PRODUCTS:
❌ Chocolate & Coffee / Caffeine:
Never give chocolate, coffee, or anything containing caffeine to dogs. These products contain chemicals called methylxanthines, which are highly toxic to dogs. The chemicals can cause vomiting, an abnormal heart rate, seizures, and sometimes death. Chocolate treats are available for dogs, but these contain a special chocolate substitute that is safe for them to eat.
❌ Ice Cream
Dogs should not eat ice cream, due to its high sugar content. Also, some dogs are lactose intolerant.
Avoid giving nuts to dogs. Macadamia nuts are poisonous to dogs and can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, lethargy, and hyperthermia. Other types of nuts can cause dogs to choke and contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
Although not toxic, large amounts of cinnamon can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and liver disease in dogs.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that manufacturers add to a variety of human foods. However, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. It can cause liver failure and dangerously low blood sugar levels.
This should be common knowledge. Never give a dog alcohol or products containing it. Alcohol is very dangerous for dogs and can lead to a range of serious complications, including coma and death.
❌ Salty Foods
Too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination in dogs, as well as sodium ion poisoning.