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Human Foods Dogs Can & Can’t Eat

Sweet potato, apples, and fish oil are just some of the many human foods dogs can eat that are included in nutritionally-balanced dog food. High-quality pet foods are the best option to feed as it contains ingredients that have a purpose to ensure a happy and healthy dog life.


small dog begging for food


Which human foods for dogs are safe?

There are some people foods dogs can eat in very limited amounts, occasionally. Other foods such as grapes and raisins or chocolate are very high risk and considered extremely dangerous foods for dogs.

If you have a pet with special medical needs, please check with your veterinarian before feeding any people food.

People foods
Dogs must never eat
Dogs can eat occasionally, limit
Limited list, safe as a treat*
leafy greens, cooked
Peanut butter (without xylitol)
Green beans, canned
Pits, pips, cores of fruit
Raw carrot, minis
Apple, a slice
Grains 1 tsp, no seasoning
Chicken, cooked, no bones or skin
Onions and garlic or powders
Turkey, cooked, no bones or skin
Yeast dough
Mashed potatoes, no seasoning
Spoiled food or moldy foods
Any protein with bones
Tomato, ripe

*Treats should not make up more than 10% of a dog’s total daily food intake.


Rules to Follow When Feeding Human Foods

The truth about foods a dog can eat is that they do not require a variety in their diet the way people do. Most of the time, any human food a dog is getting serves them no purpose and can be high in sugar, salt, and calories.

The No. 1 rule for people food is: If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your pet. This includes raw meat, fat or grease from cooked meat and questionably fresh or spoiled food. Before sharing your favorite foods with your dog, check with your veterinarian about toxicity, safety, preparation and amount to give him.

  1. Always check whether veggies can be served raw like carrots and green beans.
  2. Canned vegetables must have no or low salt.
  3. Avoid giving your dog food that gives them gas like cabbage, limit dark leafy greens and broccoli.
  4. Never give a dog spoiled, rotten, fermenting fruit.
  5. Only serve a small slice of fruit every couple of weeks, make it last longer by freezing it.
  6. Apples are great since they are healthy, available year-round and reasonably priced.
  7. Never feed grapes or raisins, these are highly toxic.
  8. Cooked grains like rice and barley: Leave out the butter and salt. Watch the quantity as grains are relatively high in calories.
  9. Err on the side of caution if you choose to share food, serve a teaspoon or one slice only.
  10. Do not give your dog lunchmeat or add seasoning to any food. Salt and other additives are not good for dogs. Good choices are chicken and turkey without the skin.


People foods and dogs: Risks

Your dog is likely to enjoy eating anything he sees you eating. Dogs are well known to scavenge and can’t differentiate between rotting food or a slice of fresh, ripe fruit. The best way to care for your dog is to offer him fresh water daily and feed him nutritionally-balanced, quality dog food.

The potential risks of giving your dog human foods without understanding the effects are:

  1. Excessive gas
  2. Vomiting
  3. Nausea
  4. Depression
  5. Seizures in severe toxicity or poisoning cases
  6. Diarrhea or constipation with overconsumption.
  7. Digestive blockages, obstructions, tears in the delicate lining of the stomach, esophagus.
  8. Pain from digestive upset.


Dangerous Human Foods for Dogs

Sometimes it seems like dogs are little garbage disposals dressed in fur. Dogs are scavengers by nature, so they are likely to try to get their teeth into things they shouldn’t. And they are omnivores, which means they will munch on just about anything — from roadkill to garbage to the contents of the cat’s litterbox. Yuck!


dog staring at cupcake

Source: Thinkstock


While some things will just leave a bad taste in your dog’s mouth, there are other common foods that can be very dangerous, and even fatal, if ingested. These include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Avocados
  3. Chocolate (all types)
  4. Coffee (all forms)
  5. Garlic
  6. Grapes and raisins
  7. Macadamia nuts
  8. Moldy or spoiled foods
  9. Onions or onion powder
  10. Salt
  11. Yeast dough
  12. Xylitol (sweetener)

In addition, avoid feeding your dog bones (especially small, soft bones such as those from chickens and pork chops) as they can splinter and cause injury to the mouth, throat, and intestines.

If your dog eats a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of moldy bread, chances are he will be perfectly fine (although he may need to go outside to vomit). However, if you discover he’s eaten an entire chocolate cake, or even a smaller portion of unsweetened (baker’s) chocolate, which contains a much higher concentration of the toxic component, theobromine, or any of the above-listed foods in any significant quantities, get him to the vet right away.

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