An appropriate diet is an integral part of your dog’s health. You will have to be very careful while feeding your dog and ensuring the foods are safe. Dogs also have specific nutritional requirements that need to be met no matter what.
However, some people think that dogs can eat all human food, which isn’t correct. Some foods are safe, whereas some may be toxic for dogs. We will be discussing what what human food dogs can and can’t eat .
Before we move further with the same, this article will also walk you through some of the essential nutrients your dog requires.
Important Nutrients That Dogs Need
Since the body cannot store protein, it is essential to provide the same, time and again. As for dogs, they require 22 amino acids to survive. Although their body itself makes half the amino acids, they need the other half through their food.
Meat, fish, and other dairy products provide their body with the required proteins. The kind of food your dog eats may depend on its preference. However, meat is an excellent source of protein that is highly recommended.
Since the body and its tissues are made of protein, including a source of protein at least once a day is deemed to be very healthy.
Various minerals have different benefits for the body. They help in proper muscle growth, uptake of oxygen, and the like. Some essential minerals to keep your dog healthy are iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
They help in the proper circulation of blood, wound healing, and in making the bones stronger. Hence, each mineral has different attributes that improve the overall health of your dog.
Some fatty acids also cannot be produced naturally by the body. Since fat protects the body and organs, it is one of the most integral nutrients to be included in your dog’s diet. Nonetheless, you should also take into consideration the amount of fat being consumed. Too much intake of fat can be harmful to the dog’s health.
Fat helps regulate the temperature of the body and vastly improves the functioning of the nervous system. For these reasons, you should note the correct quantity and source of fat in your dog’s diet.
Vitamins are as essential to dogs as for humans. Some of them help keep the nervous system healthy, while others help prevent blood clots, build up the immune system, and many more.
A balanced diet with enough minerals and vitamins is essential.
Water helps dissolve the nutrients that your dog takes, and it also helps regulate body temperature. They won’t be able to function properly without water. An ounce of water each day is very integral.
Carbohydrates provide energy to the dogs. They are important and are associated with other minerals and vitamins. Hence, all these nutrients are essential to be included in your dog’s diet.
Although the essential nutrients are similar to humans, this does not necessarily mean that all human food is safe for dogs. Some human food can be fed to your dog. However, some human foods can be toxic to dogs. Read further to get a clear idea of which human foods are safe and which aren’t.
Human Food That Dogs Can Eat
Here is a list of human foods safe for dogs, keeping in mind the various vital vitamins included in their daily diet.
You can feed your dog small pieces of bread, but you have to make sure they are completely plain. Bread with raisins is dangerous for dogs. Although bread does not give your dog any health benefit, it has some carbs and calories.
Homemade bread is considered the safest to feed your dogs. In that case, you will know the ingredients used, which will not lead to other health issues.
Carrots are considered as a relatively low-calorie intake as compared to other food items. Baby carrot is a good treat for your dog. Since it has several minerals and vitamins, carrots are safe for dogs. They can eat it either cooked or uncooked.
However, if you plan to feed your dog regular-sized carrots, make sure to cut them into smaller pieces to avoid any choking hazard.
Dogs can eat cheese. However, you have to make sure that they aren’t lactose intolerant. To be sure of the same, you can introduce cheese in their diet gradually. This is one of the human foods dogs can eat but is also very subjective.
Although you can give your dog cashews, it is best to provide them in small amounts. Cashews aren’t low in calories, leading them to gain weight and have other health conditions surface. They are a source of protein, but only plain cashews are considered safe for dogs.
Coconut is also safe for dogs. It is considered to be very beneficial to the skin and fur of your dogs. Coconut in the form of milk and oil is safe for dogs. However, it isn’t low in calories. Giving coconut in small amounts will reduce your dog’s risk of gaining weight.
You can allow your dogs to eat cooked chicken since it is considered one of the best sources of protein other than eggs. You can cook chicken separately and feed them. You can also mix it with other food and make your dogs eat it.
You should make sure to remove the bones before you mix the chicken with other food so that it does not choke your dog. Raw chicken can lead to other infections, which is why dogs should never eat the same.
Corn is also considered one of the most common ingredients used in most dog foods. Hence, it is safe for dogs. However, this too should be given in small amounts. It does have a lot of nutritional value, which makes an excellent treat for your dog.
What should be considered while feeding your dog is that you should not include the corn cob in their food. Dogs find it difficult to digest it, and it could lead to intestinal blockage.
Eggs are the most nutritious food item that is safe for dogs. They are an excellent source of protein. Along with that, it has a lot of minerals and vitamins as well. You should not feed your dog raw eggs since those are considered harmful.
Raw eggs are said to be unsafe for dogs and should not be included in dog foods.
Fish and salmon are safe to feed your dog, but both should be adequately cooked. Salmon can also be included in dog food since it contains omega 3 fatty acids. However, the intake of the fish should be limited.
Salmon helps in avoiding inflammation but feeding it raw is very harmful to the dog’s health. This is a crucial factor to be kept in mind while feeding fish to your dogs.
Feeding your dog honey in small amounts can be very helpful, especially if they have allergies. Honey has a lot of vitamins and minerals. It consists of vitamins D, E, B, A, along with calcium.
It is also said to be an excellent source of vitamin C. Honey can be used as a treatment for burns as well. Nonetheless, you should note that the intake of honey should be limited.
Mangoes have a lot of minerals and vitamins and are considered as great treats for dogs. It is also high in fiber. It is crucial to peel the mangos before you give them to your dogs.
However, it would be best if you gave these treats in small amounts to lower fiber intake.
12. Peanut Butter
You can let dogs eat peanut butter as an ingredient in their food and directly from the bottle. Peanut butter is said to be a great source of various nutrients like protein and vitamin B. However, avoid feeding this to your dogs in large amounts since the amount of calories is relatively high.
You can give your dog raw peanut butter to eat since it is considered more healthy than mixed with various other ingredients. Unsalted peanut butter is also a great option. Too much salt can cause digestive problems and other issues. Hence, unsalted peanut butter is the best option.
You can allow dogs to eat popcorn as well. Unsalted ones in small amounts are the ideal treats for dogs. As you may have noticed, human foods fed to dogs should have comparatively lesser salt since it might lead to other health complications.
Similarly, avoid feeding salted popcorn. Other than that, popcorn helps in improving the digestive system, and they are great treats. One essential factor that you should keep in mind is that you should pop the kernels to avoid a choking hazard.
Pork contains a lot of calories, and the amino acid content is also comparatively high. Since pork produces a lesser amount of allergies, it is recommended more for protein intake.
Pumpkins provide a lot of fiber and vitamin A as well. This is a very healthy source of food among many human foods since your dog can benefit from the nutrition it has to provide. Plain pumpkins are the best foods that are safe and healthy.
Quinoa is an excellent alternative to wheat and corn. It provides almost the same nutrients and minerals as those. Moreover, they are very healthy for dogs. They are primarily found in dry foods that are safe to eat.
This might be relatively common among much human food. You can give your dog cooked plain brown or white rice. Rice can be easily digested. It helps when your dog has an upset stomach as well. You can always provide plain white rice to your dogs or mix it with some meat, either chicken or turkey.
Although shrimps have low calories, they are very high in phosphorus and vitamin B-12. They need to be cooked well to make the dog food healthy. You should also make sure that the shell has been removed properly to avoid health issues.
19. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes can always be added to your dog’s rice since they are very easy to digest. It boosts the dogs’ immune system and improves their eyesight as well. Nonetheless, too much sweet potatoes intake can lead to muscle and bone weakness since they contain vitamin A.
They can be given as treats occasionally since excessive amounts can be very harmful to your dogs.
You can allow dogs to eat well-cooked tuna since it is suitable for dog health. However, it may contain a lot of sodium and mercury, which is why you should give it in smaller amounts. Tuna should be prepared in water so that your dog can easily digest it. There shouldn’t be any spices or oil used.
A majority of the turkey portions can be high in fat. Hence, while preparing the same, it is essential to remove the skin and meat with a lot of fat. A lot of turkey bones also have the potential of damaging the intestines and digestive system.
Dogs can eat grains or wheat as well. They do not harm your dog’s health. Wheat and grains are also a great source of fiber. They also contain a lot of fatty acids that are essential for dogs. However, sometimes, your dog can be allergic to grains. You will have to check this before you include grains in the food items you provide your dog to eat.
Some dogs can’t digest dairy products. Generally, yogurt is a perfect treat for dogs. If they are not allergic to dairy products, yogurt helps in the proper digestion of food.
You might want to avoid yogurt that has added preservatives, sugar, and the like, which can lead to an upset stomach and other issues.
Human Foods That Dogs Cannot Eat
As there is a huge list of human foods that dogs can share with you, you can find an even bigger list of foods that they cannot. If you have a dog at home, avoiding these foods is extremely important. To help you out with the process, we further bring you the foods that should not be given to your dogs.
Even though avocados are considered to be super fruits, they could be extremely toxic to dogs. Avocados contain a component known as persin, which may prove to be dangerous for dogs. Although, at first, it does not show a lot of side effects.
However, in the long run, the dog may start showing symptoms of ill health and loss of appetite. There could be some dogs that are not allergic to persin. The effect on them, therefore, would be quite mild. In case you grow avocados at home, make sure to keep your dogs away from the plant.
As persin would be present in the leaves, seeds, and stem of the plant, keeping the dog at a distance would be a wise move.
Alcohol can be an animal poison if fed to dogs. No matter what breed you feed it to, the result would be devastating for your dog. Initially, giving your dog alcohol would cause vomiting. If the situation gets worse, it may upset the stomach even more and may cause diarrhea.
Alcohol in any form, be it in the form of beer, wine, or liquor, should not be provided to dogs even by mistake. It can lead to alcohol poisoning. Some dogs with weak stomachs or body functioning may even suffer from some serious issues after alcohol intake.
If a dog consumes alcohol by mistake, it may cause kidney failure or even lead to certain heart diseases. After alcohol consumption, the heart rate of the dog would rise rapidly and may cause several other problems. The dog might even fall into depression, retrieving it out of which can be extremely difficult.
In some cases, if the amount of alcohol goes beyond a certain limit, it may even lead to death.
3. Garlic and onion
Another people food that can be very harmful to your dog is garlic. Even onion can be quite dangerous for your dog. There are some species that are extremely allergic to these two foods. If you are thinking of bringing a dog home, make sure to check the foods that their breed could be allergic to.
As most human foods contain garlic or onion in some form or another, you may end up serving your dog this food accidentally. However, it should be taken into consideration as to how harmful these two foods can be for the animal. When a dog consumes these foods, the red blood cells in its body start to deteriorate.
These cells, when get fully destroyed in a dog’s body, may lead to anemia. The deficiency of iron may cause several other diseases, making the dog very weak and vulnerable to infections. This situation can arise even when you serve your dog baby food that contains onion in powdered form.
A deficiency in a dog’s red blood cells will also lead to muscle weakness. Garlic and onion in raw, dehydrated, or even powdered food is a definite no-no for the animal. This is not just the case with dogs but many other animals as well. Therefore, getting a diet chart done by the clinic you bring them from should be learned by heart.
However, there are some breeds that can still tolerate onions and garlic in a very small amount. There are some symptoms that you could look out for. For instance, if your dog is suffering from issues such as weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, or vomiting, it could be allergic to the food you are giving it.
4. Beverages such as coffee and tea
Dogs do not do well with these beverages. They greatly repel caffeine and can be adversely affected by the drinks. In some cases, coffee and tea may even prove to be fatal for your dog. This situation could be worse than any other food poisoning as we have no antidote for caffeine poisoning.
However, the extremity of the case may also depend on the quantity in which the beverage has been consumed. If you are not sure of your dog suffering from caffeine poisoning, there are some symptoms that you could look out for.
For instance, if your dog is showing symptoms of shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sudden fits, or even bleeding, this could be a bad sign for your dog. It is highly important to take each of these symptoms seriously. The dog should immediately be rushed to an emergency room. You could also contact animal poison control.
In addition to tea and coffee, there are other human foods that should not be given to dogs. They will have the same effect on these animals as coffee and tea do. These foods include green beans, chocolate, cocoa, etc. There are some pet parents that serve their dogs Red Bull, which is again very harmful food for your dog.
This will also lead to a rapid increase in heart rate and may eventually lead to heart failure. The same effect will also be created if you provide your dog with medicine or a pain killer. These medicines contain the same chemicals as Red Bull and other energy drinks contain. They will fiddle with the dog’s internal chemistry and cause a lot of damage to its health.
5. Grapes and raisins
There are certain fruits that are very healthy for dogs and should be given to them regularly. However, grapes and raisins do not belong to this category. They are very harmful to your dog and should be kept meters away from it.
The worst thing about these two foods is that there is no exact cause as to why they prove so bad for the animal. To make things worse, raisins and grapes lead to extreme discomfort in dogs and may cause kidney failure eventually. These two foods have proven to be extremely toxic to dogs, and you should never feed your dog these, even by mistake.
As the exact cause of the problem unknown, treating the animal gets really difficult in such cases. Even one small grape or raisin can make your dog very ill. If your dog has accidentally consumed one, wait for the early signals to show up.
If your dog happens to vomit a lot, you should rush it to the emergency room as soon as possible. You will start to notice right after the consumption how lethargic your dog will become. Clearly, raisins and grapes contain certain chemicals which take away all the energy from your dog. Moreover, these symptoms start to show effect in just one day.
If you don’t want your dog to accidentally eat raisins and grapes, the best way is to keep them closed on a shelf with a shutter.
6. Macadamia nuts
This is another food option that you should clearly avoid for your doggie. Macadamia nuts can prove to be fatal for these animals. Even other foods that contain traces of macadamia nuts should be kept at a distance from dogs of all species. Dogs do not do good with nuts of any kind anyway.
It should be noted that even five or six nuts can make a huge impact on the health of the dog. The dog could feel feverish or behave very strangely after consuming these nuts. It may feel out of energy and shortness of breath as well.
Macadamia nuts can also cause paralysis of their hindquarters, and their body temperature may rise rapidly. There are certain chocolates that are available in the market today that contain macadamia nuts. If your dog consumes this food item, it may even lead to its death, that too within a few minutes.
Chocolate and nuts can prove to be a very deadly combination for these animals and should always be kept away from them.
7. Candies and chewing gum
It should be noted that most of the foods that contain sugar are extremely harmful to dogs. Sugar creates huge problems in their digestive system and makes them ill. You should never feed your dog human candies, even in a small amount. You may never know what would be its body’s reaction. So, avoid feeding your dog candies and sugary foods.
Along with these food items, baked goods also prove to be bad for the dogs. These items contain a component called xylitol, which is a harmful element for dogs. Xylitol produces an excess amount of insulin in the dog’s body, which starts to mess with the dog’s blood sugar levels.
In most cases, the blood sugar drops to an alarming level, which may even bring death for the dog. If the situation gets worse, the dog’s liver may get extremely damaged. Here are the symptoms noticing which you can rush the dog to the hospital: signs of lethargy, depression, loss of appetite.
Lack of coordination of its body parts with the brain should also be looked out for. If you do not rush your dog to the doctor, its liver may get damaged. Curing such damage could get extremely difficult. It should be noted that liver failure in such cases can occur in just a few days.
Therefore, waiting for anything worse to happen should be avoided.
Even though chocolate has been talked about above, it needs special mention due to its extreme danger for dogs. Chocolates contain a toxic agent known as theobromine. It is very harmful to dogs and causes serious damage to their body.
In fact, the most dangerous type of chocolate for dogs that is available in the markets today is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains theobromine in very high amounts. Even baking chocolate should be kept away from dogs in any case.
Consuming chocolate even in small amounts will cause the dog to vomit and affect the dog’s digestive system. It may be followed by seizures which, in extreme cases, lead to death.
9. Tables scraps with fats and bones
This may not come as obvious, but the food scraps that you provide your dog at the end of your meal may prove to be fatal to them. If you are in the habit of handing over your leftover meat to the dog, you must make sure there is no fat content in it.
Several studies prove that meat fat can make dogs extremely ill. Fats that are produced from meat, cooked or uncooked, can be bad for their health. The fat, when it reaches their digestive tract, starts to react with the juices already present in it. As a result, the dog develops pancreatitis.
This disease is quite dangerous for the dog and takes a while to treat. Thanks to shows and cartoons, we have always seen dogs catching a bone to eat and lick the entire time. However, it should be understood that bones are very small in size, and the dog might choke on them.
Getting the bones out of the dog’s throat is a painful process and may also damage its throat tissues. Moreover, if the bones reach the dog’s stomach, it will give rise to serious issues in its digestive tract and make it ill.
Bringing home a pet dog is a huge responsibility. With an innocent soul living under your roof, it becomes your duty to leave no stone unturned in keeping the dog safe and sound. As a guardian, the first responsibility that you have is to feed the dog right.
As there are many human foods that may or may not suit your dog, preparing a list of each category is recommended. Apart from going by the general list that stands true for all dogs, you should also have a list of food items specific to your dog’s breed.
Getting the foods list cross-checked from the vet will help you even more.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.