There are many human foods that dogs can safely enjoy, and several of them have beneficial vitamins and minerals. However, some human foods can cause severe health problems for dogs and should be offered only in limited quantities or avoided completely.
Keep reading to learn about which human foods are safe to feed your dog and which are not.
What Human Foods Dogs Can Eat?
Some might seem obvious. Meat is probably on your list of ‘safe’ foods. Other foods, like chocolate, are known to be dangerous for canines and should not be given to them.
However, there are other considerations. Some foods are great for your dog, as long as they’re consumed in small amounts. Some need to be prepared a certain way to make sure they’re safe.
As dogs age, their nutritional requirements and sensitivities change. So what your dog can eat as a puppy may be different than what it can eat as an adult.
Every dog is different, so no matter what you consider feeding them, you’ll encounter some trial and error. It’s a good idea to consult with a vet before changing your dog’s diet too much.
They’ll be able to point you to the best recommendations for your pet. They’ll also be there to help you out if a problem arises.
What is the Ideal Diet For a Dog?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the perfect diet for a dog answer depends on a variety of factors.
First: The dog’s age. Puppies need different nutrients when compared to adults. Elderly dogs may have different needs than they did when they were younger.
Second: Size. Large breeds have different dietary requirements than smaller breeds do.
Third: Breed. Certain breeds may be more prone to certain sensitivities or health conditions. For example, some experts say that collies are more prone to problems digesting grains like rice.
Fourth: Individual health concerns. Sensitive stomachs or food allergies may affect what your dog can eat. So can factors like obesity or other health problems.
All that being taken into account, there are some general commonalities.
Meat is an excellent source of protein for your dog. Experts recommend cooked and unseasoned meat of almost any variety. Raw meat can be dangerous to your dog, as it may carry certain bacteria.
Your dog will require a balanced diet, which includes appropriate amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Despite popular myths, dogs are not solely meat-eaters. Dogs also require certain amounts of veggies and carbs in their diet to remain healthy.
Commercial dog food blends all these necessary ingredients for you. However, if you’re looking to supplement your dog’s diet with ‘people’ food, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right options for your dog.
What Human Foods are Good to Feed Your Dog?
There are some foods that are absolutely great for dogs. There are other foods you can give your dogs as treats to help balance out their diet.
Some foods also need a certain amount of preparation before you give them to your dog.
Good Human Foods for Dogs
Low in calories
Plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C
Chewing can help clean a dog’s teeth
Beta carotene can help their eyesight
Vitamin A can support the immune system, healthy skin, and coat
- Blueberries and Blackberries:
High levels of health-promoting antioxidants
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Low calories and small size are optimal
Excellent for dogs, frozen or fresh
Good source of vitamins and minerals
Used in many commercial dog foods
Plain, whole kernels are recommended
Avoid corn on the cob as the cob may present a choking hazard
- Green Peas:
Considered a healthy, low-calorie food for dogs
Frozen or fresh is recommended
Often used in commercial dog food
Loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Plain oatmeal only. Flavored may have unhealthy additives
Less likely to cause issues with gluten sensitivity
Easy grain to digest
Contains Vitamin B6 and Linoleic acid
Soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar
- Sweet Potatoes:
Easy for dogs to digest
Rich in Vitamin A
Good for the eyes and immune system
Moderation is recommended
Too much may lead to bone and muscle problems
- Turkey and Chicken:
Excellent source of protein for dogs
Should be plain and unseasoned
Skinless and boneless are also recommended
Cooking eliminates the risk of harmful bacteria
Plain or brown rice is highly recommended over white rice as it has more nutrition
Easy to digest
Good for soothing an upset stomach
- Lean Beef:
Excellent source of protein
Used in many commercial dog foods
Serve plain and unseasoned
Lean beef is recommended to reduce calories and fat intake
Store-bought mushrooms are safe for dogs
Portobello mushrooms are the most recommended
Be sure to serve plain mushrooms
Avoid wild mushrooms as they may be toxic
An excellent snack for dogs. Especially overweight dogs
Good source of Vitamin K
- Green Beans:
Good low-calorie food for dogs
Good protein source
Provides calcium, iron, and Vitamin K
Can be eaten cooked or raw
Should be plain, and chopped to avoid choking
Can aid in digestion
High in calcium for healthy bones and teeth
High in probiotics which is good for general health
Should be plain yogurt and no added sugars or flavorings
All parts of the pumpkin are safe for dogs, however, seeds should be ground up
Vitamins can help urinary tract health
Oils in skin and seeds can aid digestion
Excellent source of fiber
An amino acid called cucurbitacin is reputed to be a natural deworming agent
Pumpkin is recommended for all ages
Foods that Require Preparation:
Experts debate whether eggs are healthy.
High in protein, vitamins, and minerals
Shells can be fed to dogs if boiled and ground
Whites contain fats that some consider detrimental
Don’t feed your dog raw eggs. Eggs should be cooked to avoid the risk of salmonella
- Salmon or Tuna:
Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and good for a dog’s immune system and skin
Must be cooked and deboned before serving to dogs
Bones can be a choking hazard
Uncooked or raw salmon may cause salmon poisoning, which can be fatal
Avoid canned salmon and tuna as the additives may be unhealthy for dogs
Heavy in Vitamin A and Vitamin C
Also provides Vitamin B-6
The high water content helps with hydration
Remove rinds and seeds to prevent choking
High in vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Seeds can be poisonous and contain cyanide
Seeds and cores should be removed for the dog’s health and safety
Apple slices are recommended
Good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C
Excellent source of protein
Should be cooked and unseasoned to avoid digestive issues and harmful bacteria
Processed porks like ham and bacon are not recommended as they have too much salt
High in antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins
Be sure to cut them into smaller pieces to avoid choking hazards
Should be cooked before feeding to dogs
Uncooked potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to dogs
Plain potatoes only
Should be served in small amounts due to the high carbohydrate count
Good health-conscious snack for dogs
Low in calories
Has plenty of vitamins and minerals
Cut into bite-sized pieces before serving to avoid choking
Safe in moderate amounts
Remove pits as cherry pits contain cyanide
The recommended serving is one to two cherries at a time
Plain, cooked shrimp is an excellent source of protein and vitamins
Should be cooked to avoid harmful bacteria
Always remove the shell to prevent the risk of choking
Source of B vitamins which help with digestion and blood circulation
Human Foods That Make Good Treats for Dogs
- Peanut Butter:
Should be plain and unsalted
Can provide fiber and protein
High-calorie content and fat content can lead to weight gain
Good source of Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and Niacin
High-fat content makes small quantities recommended
Low-fat or skim cheeses are best
Watch out for signs of lactose intolerance symptoms such as stomach pains and diarrhea
Mozzarella is a good choice to start introducing cheese to a dog’s diet.
Must be plain, unsalted, air-popped popcorn
No additives such as butter, oil, or flavorings as these may cause pancreatitis
Make sure all kernels are fully popped
Contains minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus
- Cashews and Peanuts:
Must be plain, unsalted, and roasted
High-fat content may result in weight gain
It May also cause pancreatitis if eaten too often
Must be plain and unsalted
Difficult for dogs to digest and may cause digestive complaints
Avoid or give in VERY small quantities
Excellent in small quantities
Heavy on vitamins, minerals, and fiber
High in Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine
Also contains Riboflavin and Vitamin B2
Too much may lead to severe nausea or diarrhea in dogs
- Cottage Cheese:
Less than two tablespoons a day is recommended
More may cause digestive issues
Plain or whole grain bread is usually safe for dogs
Make sure there are no added flavors or things like raisins
Too much bread can cause serious weight gain
Need to be ripe
Too much can cause problems with nausea, heart rate, and breathing
Note: Avoid green tomatoes as they contain a compound that is harmful to dogs
Raw or cooked broccoli is okay
Low calorie with plenty of nutrients
Too much may irritate a dog’s stomach, due to certain chemicals
Reported to help with skin and fur
High fat and calorie content mean consumption should be limited
One tablespoon or less per day is recommended
Contains Lauric Acid which can help fight infections and viruses
It Supposedly contains anti-inflammatory agents which may help with issues like arthritis
High levels of electrolytes
As a healthy treat, they provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Need to be peeled as the skins can be difficult to digest
Pits should be removed to avoid choking hazards
Treat with natural antibiotic properties
High in sugar and calories
The recommended limit is a spoonful every once in a while
Limited amounts recommended
Watch for lactose intolerance
Too much may result in digestive issues, including vomiting and stomach pains
High in vitamins, fibers, and minerals, particularly magnesium and potassium
Some claim it can help digestion
One or two slices, whole or mashed, are recommended as an occasional treat
High in nutrients
Good source of vitamin C
Too much can cause an upset stomach
Human Foods Dogs Should Not Eat
Some foods are dangerous to give to your pet. Some might simply cause digestive discomfort or weight problems. Others, however, are highly toxic.
- Grapes and Raisins:
Contain compounds that are toxic to dogs
Can cause rapid kidney failure
Small amounts can make dogs very sick
- Salt or Salty Foods:
Too much salt can lead to salt poisoning or dehydration
May cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures
Contains compounds such as caffeine and theobromine which dogs can’t metabolize
Can cause vomiting and dehydration
High amounts may lead to seizures, muscle tremors, and internal bleeding
Chocolate can be fatal for a dog
Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate
- Macadamia Nuts:
High-fat content can result in pancreatitis
Also contain a toxin that is highly dangerous to dogs
Even small amounts may lead to hyperthermia, muscle weakness, vomiting, and depression
Contain N-propyl disulfide which is toxic to dogs
Can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia
Symptoms are weakness, lethargy, fainting
Severe cases may require a blood transfusion
Also applies to chives
Contains a compound called persin which is highly poisonous to dogs
Consumption may cause severe breathing difficulties
Oxygen deprivation and even death may result
No part of the avocado is safe for dogs
- Coffee and Tea:
Dogs cannot properly process caffeine
Over-stimulation may result in vomiting, seizures, tremors, and an elevated heart rate
In extreme cases, may cause lung and heart failure
Contains thiosulfates which is extremely toxic to dogs
Can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia
Can cause serious issues, even require a blood transfusion in severe cases
- Xylitol / Artificial Sweeteners:
Often found in candies and baked goods
Extremely toxic to dogs
Can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar, muscle tremors, or seizures
Even small amounts can cause serious health issues
In severe cases, may even cause liver failure
Extremely toxic to dogs
Even small amounts can lead to ethanol poisoning
Tiredness, vomiting, and seizures can result from even small quantities
Severe cases can result in heart attacks, lung failure, or a coma
Alcohol poisoning can even be fatal
- Lemons and Limes:
Contain psoralen which is a toxin to dogs
Small amounts may result in vomiting and diarrhea
Larger amounts may cause difficulty walking, muscle tremors, and liver failure
- Raw Dough:
Especially raw dough with yeast
Yeast fermentation will produce alcohol which is toxic to dogs
Also may cause bloating and difficulty breathing
- Ice Cream:
High sugar and fat content is not healthy
It may also cause issues with lactose intolerance
When Does Your Dog’s Diet Need to Be Adjusted?
With so many options, it can be difficult deciding what to feed your dog. It can be equally difficult to make sure you’ve got the proper balance of various nutritional elements.
The first thing you should do is to speak with a veterinarian or other expert in canine health. They can give you a starting point.
Ask an expert to give you suggestions for foods your dog might enjoy, and what quantities are healthy.
Be aware that your dog’s nutritional requirements will probably change over time. Dogs, like humans, are capable of developing intolerances, deficiencies, and allergies.
Some dogs even develop canine diabetes.
If you’re worried about your dog’s dietary status, here are a few signs you can watch for:
- Weight Gain
- Loss of Appetite
- Weakness or Muscle Problems
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Signs of Upset Stomach – Vomiting, Stomach Pains, Nausea, etc.
When considering adding or removing things from your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to take it slow if you can.
Slow and careful adjustments will make it easier to spot any problems. They’ll also be easier for your dog to handle.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Something Unsafe?
Sometimes dogs will steal treats like cookies or food off the table. Check the ingredients for known dangers and watch for warning signs.
Call your vet or take them to your local clinic if you have concerns.
What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Been Poisoned?
Immediately call your vet or you can also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can quickly provide answers to your questions about potentially poisonous substances like plants, foods, and even medications.
On the ASPCA website, they advise a consultation fee may be charged.
How Can I Keep My Dog From Wanting People Food?
This won’t be easy to break the bad habit but the best thing to do is to avoid feeding them during your mealtime or giving them table scraps.
Try to set aside designated times, places, and food bowls as ‘theirs’ and don’t reward begging.
Is It Dangerous to Feed My Dog Table Scraps?
It could be! When you prepare your own food you don’t always take the time to consider and research if a particular food is safe for your dog.
You could accidentally give them a piece of food from the dinner table that can harm them.
The best way is to never take that chance and refrain from giving your dog table scraps even though they may beg you for some!
Can Eating Human Food Cause High Blood Pressure in My Dog?
Sure, just as with humans the type of foods your dog eats will play a big role in how healthy they are. Foods that are high in sodium and contain high-fat levels may cause health issues.
And remember, health issues can cause an elevation of blood pressure. The best solution is to only feed your dog high-quality dog food. If you are unsure ask your vet!
How Do You Know If Health Warning Signs Are Related to Diet or Something Else?
If the signs appear after a recent addition or subtraction from their diet, try reversing that and see if the problem resolves itself.
Otherwise, you can try offering them small portions of various supplements to see if it helps. Either way, you should consult with a veterinarian to be sure.
There are many options to choose from if you’re considering adding human food to your dog’s menu.
Our best advice is to consult with your veterinarian and develop a meal plan that contributes in a positive manner to your individual dog’s health.
Supplementing your dog’s regular food or meals with healthy treats can go a long way toward helping your dog have a long, healthy, and happy life.
Just make sure you only give them foods that are dog safe.
Dogs enjoy treats and variety just as much as people do. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe healthy food items for them to taste!