Our dogs love to stare at us while we’re eating and beg for a piece of food. There are human foods dogs can eat, but not all are safe for our pups. In this article, we explore when to let your dog’s diet expand to things you would normally cook for yourself.
Let’s get cookin’!
Can Dogs Eat Human Food?
Dogs can eat some types of human food. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and select items that are safe for their digestive systems. Certain foods can be toxic or harmful to dogs, potentially causing digestive issues, organ damage, or even fatalities. For example, foods like chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and anything containing xylitol should be strictly avoided.
The good news is there are several human foods that are safe and even beneficial for dogs. These include plain cooked meats like chicken or turkey, plain fruits like apples, and vegetables like carrots.
Can You Feed Your Dog Human Food All the Time?
Feeding your dog human food all the time or exclusively is generally not recommended. A well-balanced dog diet should primarily consist of specially formulated commercial dog food. Human food may lack essential nutrients that dogs require daily for their overall health.
Also, some human foods can be high in fats and sugars or have high salt content and other seasonings that aren’t suitable for canine consumption. Those high in sugar could lead to obesity, digestive problems, or other health issues. And too much salt is hard for dogs to digest. If you’re considering incorporating human food into your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it in moderation. We also advise consulting your veterinarian, as they can suggest the best diet for your particular dog’s genetics, size, and age.
10 of the Best Human Foods Dogs Can Enjoy
Let’s get into some doggie meal planning! Here are ten human foods dogs can eat that are safe and enjoyable for their taste buds.
Pro Tip: Dogs can have food allergies, so always be conscious of what you’re feeding your pup. If your dog has a reaction, withhold the food and observe the symptoms. Consult your vet if symptoms are severe or persist. Test your dog for food sensitivities.
1. Cooked Meat
Dogs can enjoy plain cooked meat like turkey and chicken. It’s recommended that you remove excess fat and skin from the meat before serving your pup. Also, take out the bones as poultry bone can splinter in a canine’s digestive system and possibly cause blockages.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are safe for dogs as long as they’re cooked, peeled, and without any toppings or seasonings. If you’re going to offer your dog some potatoes, simply set aside a plain one before you dress them up for the humans in your household.
Whether steamed or bake, sweet potatoes come packed with digestible fiber and vitamin A. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, sweet potatoes make for one of the best human goods dogs can enjoy without irritating their stomach.
3. Cooked Fish
Cooked fish offers beneficial amino acids and good fats to your dog. For example, salmon has a lot of vitamins and protein. But make sure you pick out the bones before feeding your pup. Dogs can also have canned tuna, but make sure it’s the kind with low salt.
4. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a good source of protein, as it has healthy fats and vitamins B and E. Raw or unsalted is the best option for canines. But beware of peanut butter with xylitol, as it’s toxic for dogs.
Carrots have a few benefits for dogs. They’re helpful for dental health and a great low-calorie snack. Also, they’re high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A.
Suggested Reading: Learn if a vegan dog food diet is good for your pup.
Another good source of vitamins A and C is apples. Dogs can eat them without the seeds and core. Apples also have fiber and are low in protein and fat. They’re a beneficial treat for our fur babies.
Plain bread is fine for dogs to eat. It doesn’t have nutritional value for canines. Also, it does increase a dog’s calorie and carbohydrate intake, so moderation is key. Homemade breads without too many preservatives are the best option for you and your pet.
A dog can have small amounts of cheese, as long as it’s not lactose intolerant. However, cheese is often high in fat, so cottage cheese or mozzarella are typically better choices for canines.
Eggs are a good source of protein for dogs. But there’s a debate about whether uncooked eggs are safe. We wrote an article about it, so check it out to determine if you’ll feed your dog cooked or uncooked eggs.
You can toss your dog some popcorn during movie night, but make sure it’s unsalted, unbuttered, and air-popped. Also, don’t let it grab unpopped kernels as it could choke on those. Surprisingly, popcorn actually has some benefits for pups when given in moderation. It contains riboflavin and thiamine, which promote eye health and digestion.
Pro Tip: Follow Popeye the Foodie to find dog-friendly restaurants in Southern California.
What Human Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?
Several human foods are bad and toxic to dogs. For example, chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can lead to symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and even death in severe cases. Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic can lead to damage to red blood cells, potentially causing anemia. Avocados, specifically the pit and skin, contain a substance called persin that’s toxic to dogs. Xylitol, as we’ve mentioned is an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products that can cause rapid insulin release and lead to hypoglycemia and liver damage.
Be sure to educate yourself about these and other foods that may be toxic for dogs. Keep them out of reach of your pup. And if you suspect your dog has ingested anything toxic, contact your vet.
Allow Your Dog a Snack from Your Kitchen Once in a While
Go ahead and allow your dog to snack on human food every once in a while. As long as it’s non-toxic and you’re tossing your pup a piece of bread every day, it’s likely to appreciate the treats. Our dogs are part of the family and like to eat like kings and queens!
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