Dogs have a different digestive system than humans. This means that some foods that are safe for humans can be harmful or even very dangerous for dogs. However, many human foods are also safe for dogs and can provide important nutrients and health benefits. Here we take a look at which human foods are safe for dogs and which ones you shouldn’t give them.
What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat?
Although many human foods are safe for dogs to eat, they should generally only be eaten in moderation.
Safe human foods for dogs include:
Carrots are a healthy food for dogs. Chewing carrots can help remove plaque from their teeth and otherwise promote good dental health. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin A, which benefits a dog’s immune system and skin and coat.
Apples provide many important vitamins for dogs, including vitamins A and C. Apples are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate a dog’s digestion. However, eating rotten apples can lead to alcohol poisoning in dogs.
Plain, cooked white rice may be a good option for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stools. However, white rice may cause an increase in blood sugar levels. Diabetic dogs should therefore only consume small amounts.
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, can be eaten by dogs in very small amounts. Eating too many dairy products can cause digestive problems. This is because dogs have low levels of lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down milk sugars. Dogs with lactose intolerance should not consume dairy products. Signs of lactose intolerance are diarrhea or vomiting after consuming anything that contains dairy.
Salmon, shrimp, and tuna are safe foods for dogs and good sources of protein. Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help maintain a healthy immune system, coat and skin. The B vitamins in shrimp can also contribute to the proper functioning of the dog’s digestive system and good blood circulation.
It is important to cook fish before giving it to a dog, as raw fish can contain dangerous parasites.
Plain, boiled, unseasoned chicken is a good option when the dog has an upset stomach.
Plain popcorn, without salt, butter, or sugar, can be a nutritious treat for dogs. Popcorn contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, all of which are important for dog health. Make sure dogs don’t eat unpopped popcorn kernels or they could choke.
Dogs can eat unseasoned cooked pork. However, they should only consume small portions of pork, as the high fat content is difficult for dogs to digest, and it can cause inflammation and pancreatitis. Avoid giving dogs processed bacon or ham, due to their high salt content.
Cooked turkey can be eaten by dogs, but it should be plain and unseasoned. Many commercial dog foods contain turkey because it is a good source of protein.
Before giving cooked turkey to a dog, remove the fat first. Excess fat can cause pancreas problems in dogs.
Blueberries are safe to eat by dogs and are a rich source of fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may provide a range of health benefits for dogs. Antioxidants can help improve age-related issues in older dogs.
Dogs can eat bananas in moderation. They are full of magnesium, which is important for healthy bones. Due to their high sugar content, bananas should only be an occasional treat for dogs.
Cucumbers are a safe, low-calorie snack for dogs, and they can be a good option for those who are overweight. Cucumbers are also high in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K.
Plain 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. However, avoid seasoning the beans and cut them into chunks first to prevent them from choking.
Dogs can safely eat watermelon flesh, but do not feed them the seeds or rind. Dogs can safely eat watermelon, but it’s important to remove all the seeds first, as they can block the intestines. Chewing the rind can also cause stomach upset, so it should be removed as well before giving the watermelon to the dog. Watermelon contains a lot of water, which helps dogs stay hydrated. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C and B-6.
What Foods Can Harm Dogs?
Some foods that are perfectly safe for humans can cause problems or illnesses in dogs. Anyone suspecting their dog has eaten something poisonous should immediately call a veterinarian or animal poison control center.
Avoid giving a dog:
Avocados contain a substance called persin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Cherry pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous. They can also pose a choking hazard or block the intestines if a dog swallows them.
Chocolate, coffee and caffeine
Never give chocolate, coffee or caffeinated products to a dog. These products contain chemicals called methylxanthines, which are very toxic to dogs. These chemicals can cause vomiting, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and sometimes death. There are chocolate treats for dogs, but they contain a special chocolate substitute that they can safely eat.
Raisins and grapes
Grapes, raisins, currants and currants are all highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause kidney failure and, in some cases, death.
Also, avoid giving dogs any product that may contain these foods, such as fruitcake or malt bread.
Citrus plants and their fruits, such as oranges and lemons, contain citric acid. If some dogs can eat small amounts of peeled fruit, it can cause stomach upset. In larger amounts, citric acid can lead to nervous system depression.
Although non-toxic, large amounts of cinnamon can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and liver disease in dogs.
Dogs should not drink coconut water, due to its high potassium content. They should also limit the amount of coconut oil or meat they give their dog, as these foods can cause stomach upset or diarrhea.
Avoid giving nuts to dogs. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, lethargy, and hyperthermia.
Other types of nuts can cause choking in dogs.
Dogs should not eat ice cream, due to its high sugar content. Also, some dogs are lactose intolerant.
Onions, garlic and chives
Onions, garlic, and chives are all part of the Allium genus. They contain substances called organosulfoxides, which are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Organosulfoxides can also cause anemia in dogs.
Raw or undercooked meat
Dog foods that contain raw meat can pose a health risk. Raw meat can contain Escherichia coli and Salmonella, which are types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning in dogs and humans. Proper cooking of meat kills bacteria. It is important to understand that raw meat diets pose health risks to dogs and may not provide complete nutritional balance.
Eating raw eggs can lead to biotin deficiency in dogs, which can affect their skin and coat health.
Excess salt can cause excessive thirst and urination in dogs, as well as sodium ion poisoning.
The symptoms of this poisoning can be the following:
twitching or shaking
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.
While bread is generally safe for dogs, bread dough can be very dangerous. The yeast in the dough can cause it to swell in the dog’s stomach, which can cause bloating and lead to dangerous complications. Yeast also produces ethanol, which can cause alcohol poisoning.
Never give a dog alcohol or products containing it. Alcohol is very dangerous for dogs and can lead to a whole host of serious complications, including coma and death.
Many human foods are safe and nutritious for dogs. However, these foods should generally be given to dogs in moderation, as larger amounts can lead to health issues.
Consult a veterinarian before giving human food to dogs suffering from:
liver or kidney disease
other health problems.
It is essential to keep out of reach of dogs any food or substance dangerous to them.
Particularly dangerous foods for dogs are:
anything that contains alcohol
chocolate, coffee and caffeine
products containing xylitol
If in doubt about a particular food, consult a veterinarian before giving it to the dog. Anyone suspecting their dog of having ingested a potentially harmful product should immediately call a veterinarian for advice.