Have you ever wondered which human foods your dog can and can’t eat? With their doleful eyes and natural proclivity to, ahem, recycle food, it’s hard to resist slipping your pup a treat or two or jazzing up their dry food with something a little more appetising. But though our dogs’ enthusiasm for food can be certainly beguiling, it’s important to remember that they have very different digestive systems to us – meaning that some of the foods that are good for us, are not good for them. In fact, some are really dangerous.
Amongst our kitchen larders and fridges are oodles of tempting goodies for four-legged friends; but which bits can they actually tuck into? To help your pup enjoy the healthiest, safest, and tastiest snacks, we have put together a list of some of the most common human foods that dogs should and shouldn’t eat.
Given in moderation, there are lots of human foods that are actually good for dogs – with some more surprising than others. Not only appealing to finely attuned noses and tastebuds but nutritionally beneficial too, here are some yummy treats you can share with your pup:
These orange sticks of goodness are actually a great, low-calorie snack for dogs. In small doses they provide a good source of vitamin A, which is good for the immune system, skin and coat. And, when chewed, raw carrots help to remove plaque from teeth as well.
Everyone knows that too much cheese isn’t good for a balanced diet, but given in small amounts, this popular human food is a high-value reward for dogs. High in fat and protein, it’s less about the nutritional benefits and mostly about the taste, but that’s generally not cause for canine complaint!
Zing, tangy and oh-so tropical, pineapples are a surprising addition to the list of human foods that dogs can eat. A nutrient-dense snack for humans and dogs alike, ripe, raw pineapple contains loads of vitamins and minerals that help to keep Fido fit and healthy.
Another safe, low-calorie snack for dogs, cucumbers are a popular choice for pups with a little too much meat on their bones. A hydrating treat full of pawsome vitamins and minerals, cucumber can help reduce inflammation and high blood pressure too.
Another surprising human food that is safe for dogs to eat, watermelon makes for a juicy, hydrating treat that is just right for summer days. If you would like to give your dog a slice, de-pip the seeds and cut off the rind first as these cannot be digested. On really hot days, you can even put chunks of watermelon in the freezer to make pupsicle sticks!
A drool-worthy reward if ever there was one, peanut butter is a huge favourite amongst dogs of all ages. Pick a jar of unsalted peanut butter with no added sugar or sweeteners and give your tufty-pawed pal a small dollop. Not just delicious, peanut butter also contains dog-friendly vitamins E and B, niacin, healthy fats and protein.
Little blue explosions of taste, blueberries are loved by humans and dogs alike. A rich source of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins, they are a great addition to your dog’s diet in small quantities, supporting the immune and boosting overall health. And, if you want to prolong your dog’s culinary experience, you can put them in interactive treat bowls for fun enrichment.
It turns out that greens aren’t just good for humans, but dogs too. Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas and garden peas are all safe for dogs to eat on occasion for a healthy dietary addition. Just remember to choose fresh peas though, as canned peas contain sodium (which isn’t good for humans or dogs!).
A fruity treat to give your canine companion once in a while, bananas are pawfect for adding different textures and tastes to your dog’s palette. Full of magnesium, they are good for bone health but shouldn’t be eaten regularly, as they are also high in sugar.
Another sweet human food that dogs can enjoy in small amounts are strawberries. A source of fibre and vitamin C, strawberries also contain an enzyme that can help to whiten teeth. Flavoursome and low in calories, they make a lovely treat to occasionally pop in your dog’s bowl as a tasty offering.
Most dogs are not particularly fussy when it comes to tasty food – even when it isn’t very good for them. Before you give into the puppy dog eyes or leave a plate unattended for too long, you should double-check whether your food will do your canine friend more harm than good:
Xylitol, a sweetener, is really dangerous for dogs. Used as a healthier sugar substitute for humans, it is often found in sugar-free sweets and snacks. While safe for humans, even in small amounts it is extremely toxic to dogs, causing low blood sugar levels, vomiting, weakness, seizures, liver failure and even death.
Dubbed a superfood for humans, avocado is a no-go for dogs. Not only do their large stones create a serious choking hazard, but avocados also contain high quantities of fat and persin, a fungicidal toxin which is toxic to many animals.
Grapes and Raisins
Despite many fruits being safe for dogs to eat, grapes and raisins definitely aren’t. Although the exact reason for this is unknown, all grape and raisin varieties are so deadly to dogs that even in small amounts they can cause kidney failure.
Chocolate is another human food that dogs cannot eat. This is because chocolate contains two potentially lethal ingredients to dogs: theobromine and caffeine. While all chocolate should be kept hidden away, studies have shown that the darker the chocolate, the higher the risk.
Garlic and Onions
Tempting though it may be to sweep your leftovers into your dog’s bowl, you should make sure your meal doesn’t include garlic or onions before you do so. Both members of the Allium family, onions and garlic can have horrible side effects if consumed by your pooch, including weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea, and in extreme cases, death. Chives and leeks are also in the Allium family and dangerous for dogs too.
Despite looking and smelling delicious (to dogs at least), cooked bones should never be given to your pet as food. Once cooked, bones become soft and brittle, capable of splitting into dangerous shards. If swallowed, these bone fragments can cause serious internal damage, blocking the oesophagus, intestines and even puncturing the stomach lining. Instead, alternatives like antler chews and olivewood chews are a much safer and more satisfying treat – and dogs love them!
What dog doesn’t love inspecting the contents of your favourite mug the minute you become distracted? If you’re drinking a caffeinated drink though, it’s worth leaving your brew somewhere well out of reach. A strong stimulant, caffeine can elevate your dog’s heart rate and cause nasty vomiting and diarrhoea too.
Dispelling some common myths about dog-friendly human foods, here we discuss some food items that regularly cause confusion:
The good part: Many dog-owners get confused about whether their hound can eat sweetcorn or not. In short, the answer is yes. Sweetcorn itself is completely non-toxic, as long as your pup doesn’t have allergies, and can be eaten in moderation. That said, it doesn’t contain many health-boosting properties and, as it isn’t the easiest to digest, often re-emerges intact!
The dangerous part: While the actual yellow sweetcorn pieces are fine for dogs to eat, the cob on the other hand is a choking risk and should never be given to dogs to gnaw on. If ingested, the cob can cause serious blockages in the intestinal tract which may require surgery to resolve.
The good part: Once a tomato is completely red, it can be eaten by dogs in limited quantities. While they may not be the first dog-friendly treat you think of, tomatoes do contain some tail-wagging properties, like lycopene which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease; beta-carotene which can improve cognition; and lots of vitamins and minerals.
The dangerous part: While red tomatoes are safe, dogs cannot eat green, unripe tomatoes or tomato leaves or stems. Containing something called solanine, this toxic substance can cause gastrointestinal upset, as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, confusion and an abnormal heart rate in dogs.
The good part: Apples are a fantastic way to mix up your dog’s diet and provide them with healthy doses of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fibre. They also help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and freshen up stinky breath!
The dangerous part: If would like to share some of your apple with your pup, make sure you remove the core and the seeds first. This is because apple seeds contain very low amounts of cyanide which can be released if chewed.
The good part: Store-bought mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. For an indulgent addition to your dog’s dinner, cook some mushrooms (without other ingredients) and use them to garnish their dish.
The dangerous part: Mushrooms become dangerous when they are cooked with harmful ingredients like onions and garlic. And, while supermarket mushrooms are generally fine, wild mushrooms are very different and should never be eaten in the wild unless you have extensive knowledge of your local flora.
There are loads of human foods you can feed your dog. But there's nothing better than good old healthy, well-balanced canine food for your dog's dinner. We stock a superb selection of natural, free-range, organic and even eco-conscious dog food. Go to the dog food section and treat your dog to some quality chow.
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