Before we begin this guide about dog-safe human foods, it’s important to remind all of our readers that the healthiest and most nutritious food for your four-legged friend is their special dog food which should be selected with their unique requirements in mind.
With that being said, you’re certainly not a bad dog owner if you give your pup some human food from time to time as a special treat. Dogs get a lot of pleasure from food; any food, any time, anywhere! The trouble is that they don’t know which foods are bad for them, so it’s your job to understand what is safe and what should be kept far away from your dog’s greedy chops.
All new dog owners should familiarise themselves with dog-safe human foods and those that are dangerous. Even if you think you’re a dab hand at dog care as you’ve had dogs in the family for years, it’s always sensible to give yourself a refresher course. Some of the information below might come as a surprise!
Human Foods That Your Dog Can Eat
If you would like to feed your dog some of these human foods as a special treat, you can do so in moderation to supplement a healthy diet mainly consisting of special dog food.
Fruits and vegetables
The following fruits and vegetables are safe for your pup to eat, but remember to remove the skin, core and any pips.
- Tomatoes (must be ripe)
- Celery (remove the leaves)
- Green beans
- Sweetcorn (taken off the cob)
Milk, cheese and yoghurt
Although these dairy products are mostly safe for dogs, you should exercise caution and moderation since dairy products contain lactose which many dogs struggle to digest. Feeding your dog a little bit of cheese occasionally is generally safe, but you must avoid giving them blue cheese as it could make them very poorly.
Bread, Pasta and Rice
Many dogs go mad for a piece of bread, whether it’s white or brown and some seem to be particularly fond of toast! Needless to say that bread should only be given occasionally as a treat. You should also avoid giving your dog raw dough or part-baked bread as this could harm their digestive system.
Pasta is another dog-safe carbohydrate, as is rice. Rice, particularly brown rice, is a great food to give your dog if they are feeling unwell as it is gentle on the digestive system.
Cooked meat and fish
Your dog might enjoy the occasional treat of meat or fish, although any meat or fish you give your dog must be thoroughly cooked with fat removed. Plain chicken that has been boiled is another human food that’s great for feeding your dog when they are ill.
Other dog-safe human foods
Peanut butter is a firm favourite for dogs as is extremely nutritious, but you must be careful to avoid products containing xylitol as it is extremely toxic for your furry friend.
Eggs are another safe choice for your dog and they provide a lot of goodness, like protein, vitamins and minerals. Always make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked.
When it’s film night and you are snacking away on popcorn, feel free to give a few pieces to your dog as a safe and tasty treat. However, avoid giving your dog popcorn that has extra flavours and ingredients added, like sugar and salt. Air-popped corn is the safest choice.
Never Feed Your Dog These Human Foods
There is a diverse selection of foods listed in the section above, but don’t assume that all human foods are safe for your dog to eat. Below, we have listed some of the foods that us humans love to eat, but are particularly dangerous to dogs and could cause them to become seriously unwell.
Avocado contains a chemical called persin which is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause problems with breathing.
Psoralen, a chemical found in the peel of citrus fruits like lemons and limes, is toxic for dogs and can cause digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhoea.
Grapes and raisins
Fresh and dried grapes are extremely dangerous for dogs as they contain toxic chemicals that can cause kidney failure. Many of the products we have around the house at Christmas time contain grapes, such as Christmas cake and mince pies, so take extra care at this time of year.
Never feed your dog mushrooms or products containing mushrooms as they are very dangerous for canines.
Onions and garlic
Onions and other members of the onion family such as leeks, chives and garlic could cause your dog to become very unwell as they affect the red blood cells.
All types of chocolate and dark chocolate in particular are extremely dangerous for dogs as they contain two stimulants that dogs are unable to process: caffeine and theobromine. Chocolate can lead to many serious health issues in dogs, including seizures, internal bleeding, muscle tremors, and sometimes death.
Vomiting, hyperthermia, tremors and muscle weakness may occur if your dog eats macadamia nuts, so be sure to keep them out of reach.
We’ve already mentioned how chocolate is dangerous for dogs due to its caffeine content, so you should also avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and some fizzy beverages.
As you can see, many human foods contain chemicals that are toxic for dogs and it’s not always easy to predict which ones! This is why it’s so important as a dog owner to know which foods to keep away from your pet to avoid causing them serious discomfort, pain and illness.
Remember that dogs like to eat anything they can get their paws on, so accidents do occur. If you notice your dog acting differently or showing any signs of discomfort, seek veterinary help immediately.
Make sure that everyone in your household knows which foods to keep away from your dog, and ask visitors to refrain from giving your dog any human foods without checking with you first.
Dog Rescue Centres Need Your Help
Looking after a dog is a big responsibility and commitment, and sadly, this is part of the reason why so many dogs in the UK are abandoned. The amazing staff and volunteers at dog rescue centres are doing the best they can, but with so many abandoned dogs arriving every week, they need as much help as possible!
There are lots of ways you can support dog rescue centres, including the DoggyLottery. The DoggyLottery is a fun online lottery game where you can try your luck in an incredible prize draw for just £1.50 per week whilst helping to give rescue dogs a happy and healthy future.