AUTHORITY NUTRITION

Can My Dog Eat This? A List of Human Foods Dogs Can and Can't Eat

Written by Brianna Elliott, RD on December 14, 2017

Dogs and humans metabolize foods differently.

For this reason, some foods are safe for humans to eat but may be toxic and potentially deadly for dogs.

On the other hand, there are many human foods that are perfectly safe and even healthy for dogs to eat as an occasional treat.

This article gives an overview of 53 foods and whether or not your dog can eat them.

Dog Under Table Hoping for Some Food

Both raw and cooked carrots are safe for your dog to eat.

Carrots are low in calories and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This makes them a very healthy food for your dog to snack on (1).

Before feeding carrots to your dog, make sure to cut them into bite-size pieces to prevent choking.

You should never feed grapes or raisins to your dog.

Grapes and raisins contain toxic compounds that are harmful to dogs. They have the potential to lead to rapid kidney failure and death (2).

Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can make your dog sick, so it’s important to avoid giving them to your dog altogether.

Salt should be limited in your dog’s diet.

Excessive salt intake may lead to salt poisoning or water deprivation in dogs, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures. In severe cases, high amounts of salt can be fatal (3).

To prevent adverse effects, you should not feed your dog salty foods, such as chips or pretzels. Furthermore, always make sure your dog has water to drink, which can prevent water deprivation.

Peanut butter is a healthy and safe treat for dogs to eat in moderate amounts.

However, it is best to limit your dog’s peanut butter intake. Since peanut butter is high in fat and calories, it may lead to weight gain if he eats too much (4, 5).

Also, make sure to feed your dog plain, unsalted peanut butter. Peanut butter commonly has extra ingredients added to it, such as salt, which could be harmful to your dog (3).

Cooked eggs are perfectly safe and nutritious for dogs to eat.

One medium egg provides some of almost every vitamin and mineral, plus lots of protein. There are claims that eggs may also help relieve nausea in dogs, although there is no scientific evidence behind this claim (6).

It is important to note that you should avoid feeding raw eggs to your dog. Raw eggs carry the risk of Salmonella, which could make your dog sick (7).

Cooked, boneless salmon is a safe and healthy food for your dog.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation and may help keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy (8, 9).

However, you should avoid feeding raw salmon to your dog. It may contain a parasite that is known to cause salmon poisoning disease, which can be fatal (10).

It is widely known that dogs should never eat chocolate.

This is because chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, two stimulants that dogs cannot efficiently metabolize (11).

If your dog eats chocolate, he may exhibit symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. These symptoms may lead to more serious complications, such as internal bleeding, muscle tremors, seizures and death (12).

Darker and less sweet varieties of chocolate, such as cocoa powder and unsweetened baker’s chocolate, are more poisonous to dogs than sweetened varieties, such as milk chocolate.

Nevertheless, do not feed your dog any type of chocolate.

Cheese is safe for most dogs to eat in small quantities.

Due to the fat and lactose content of cheese, some dogs may have digestive symptoms, such as stomach pain and diarrhea, after eating it (13, 14).

To avoid unpleasant symptoms, it is best to introduce cheese into your dog’s diet gradually. It may also help to only feed your dog low-fat cheeses, such as mozzarella.

Blueberries are safe and nutritious for dogs to eat.

Blueberries are a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants and provide a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber, all of which may benefit your dog’s health (15, 16, 17, 18).

Moreover, blueberries are low in calories and small in size, making them an excellent health-conscious treat for your dog (15).

Dogs can eat popcorn as an occasional treat, as long as it doesn’t contain any extra ingredients.

Salt is often added to popcorn, which can lead to serious complications if your dog eats too much. Butter and oil are other common popcorn ingredients that are high in fat and may lead to pancreatitis in dogs if over-consumed (3, 11, 19).

For these reasons, it is best to only feed your dog plain, air-popped popcorn.

Popcorn kernels are also a choking hazard and may get stuck in your dog’s teeth, so you should only provide your dog with fully-popped kernels.

You should limit your dog’s intake of cashews.

Plain, unsalted and roasted cashews are safe for most dogs to eat in moderation. However, cashews are high in fat and calories and may lead to weight gain and pancreatitis when consumed in excess (4, 11).

For these reasons, you should limit your dog’s intake to one or two cashews a day or less.

Dogs should never eat macadamia nuts.

Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that may lead to vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, hyperthermia and depression when dogs consume them, even in small amounts (20).

Additionally, macadamia nuts have a high fat content, which may elevate your dog’s triglyceride levels and potentially lead to pancreatitis.

It is best to limit almonds in your dog’s diet.

Although plain, unsalted almonds are generally safe for dogs to eat in small amounts, they are difficult for dogs to digest and may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Almonds are also high in fat and calories and have the potential to cause weight gain and pancreatitis in dogs. If you feed your dog almonds, it is best to give very small servings (11).

Fresh pineapple is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts.

Additionally, pineapple is full of many vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it an excellent nutrient-dense snack for your dog (21).

Similar to other foods, dogs may experience symptoms like nausea and diarrhea if they eat too much pineapple. Thus, it is best to feed your dog a small amount of pineapple at a time.

You should never feed your dog onions.

Onions contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that is toxic to dogs. It can damage your dog’s red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen through the body. This often results in a condition called anemia (22, 23).

Anemia in dogs is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite and fainting. In severe cases, dogs with anemia may need a blood transfusion (22, 24).

It is important to note that all components and forms of onions are toxic to dogs, even the leaves, juice and processed powders, such as onion powder.

Watermelon is safe for dogs to eat, as long as it doesn’t contain the rind or seeds.

Watermelon rinds and seeds could be a choking hazard, and some people claim that they can cause digestive problems in dogs.

However, watermelon fruit on its own is a very healthy treat for dogs, as it is low in calories and packed with nutrients, such as vitamin A and vitamin C (25).

Dogs can eat cottage cheese in small amounts.

However, some dogs may experience digestive issues, such as nausea and diarrhea, after consuming cottage cheese (14).

For these reasons, you should limit your dog’s cottage cheese intake to one or two small spoonfuls per day or less.

Plain white or whole grain bread is safe for most dogs to eat as an occasional treat.

Before feeding your dog bread, make sure it doesn’t contain any extra ingredients, such as raisins, which could be potentially harmful.

Additionally, keep in mind that bread, along with other foods, adds extra calories to your dog’s diet and may cause weight gain if he eats too much.

You can safely feed your dog blackberries.

Fresh or frozen blackberries are a healthy treat for dogs. They are low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Additionally, blackberries are a great source of fiber (26).

If your dog enjoys blackberries, you can feed him a few each day as a treat.

Avocados should never be consumed by dogs.

This is because they contain a toxin called persin, which is known to be very poisonous to dogs. It may lead to fluid accumulation in their lungs and chest, which can cause breathing difficulties, oxygen deprivation and even death (11).

Persin is found in all parts of the avocado, including the fruit, pit, leaves and bark. Thus, you should always keep avocados away from your dog.

Dogs can eat corn in moderate amounts.

Corn is a good source of some vitamins and minerals and common ingredient in many types of dog food. A tablespoon or two of corn per day is an appropriate serving size for dogs (27).

Although plain, cooked corn kernels are safe for dogs, you should never feed your dog corn on the cob. The cob is a choking hazard and could lead to intestinal obstruction if consumed.

It’s okay to feed your dog tomatoes as an occasional treat, as long as they are ripe.

Green potatoes, on the other hand, may contain significant amounts of solanine, which can be toxic to humans and dogs in sufficient quantities (28).

Dogs that consume too much solanine from tomatoes may experience nausea, an abnormal heart rate, muscle weakness and difficulty breathing.

It’s generally safe for dogs to consume green peas.

Green peas are a common ingredient in many types of dog food. Not only do dogs find them tasty, but green peas are also low in calories and high in many nutrients, making them a healthy treat for your dog (29).

However, only feed your dog fresh or frozen peas, not canned ones. Canned peas are often loaded with salt, which is harmful to dogs in large amounts (3).

Plain oatmeal is safe for your dog to eat.

Oatmeal provides lots of fiber, as well as some vitamins and minerals (30).

As with all foods, you should feed oatmeal to your dog in moderation to prevent him from gaining weight (4).

Additionally, it is important to only feed plain oatmeal to your dog, instead of flavored oatmeal. Flavored oatmeal may have extra ingredients added to it that could be harmful to your dog.

Coffee and tea are dangerous for dogs to consume due to their caffeine contents.

Caffeine stimulates your dog’s nervous system, which can lead to a number of symptoms, including hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, seizures and tremors (11, 31).

Lung failure and abnormal heart rhythm may result from too much caffeine, which can ultimately lead to death (31, 32).

Even small amounts of caffeine can cause adverse effects in dogs, so you should always keep coffee and tea out of your dog’s reach (32).

Apples that have been sliced are safe and healthy for dogs to eat.

Apples provide a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Also, they are high in fiber, which may benefit your dog’s digestive system (33, 34).

However, you should never feed your dog apple seeds, as they contain cyanide, a chemical that can be poisonous in large amounts. You should always remove the seeds before feeding apples to your dog (35).

You should never feed your dog garlic.

Garlic contains chemicals called thiosulfates, which are toxic to dogs. Thiosulfates may damage your dog’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. Garlic consumption may also lead to symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea in dogs (11).

In severe cases, dogs may need a blood transfusion if they consume high amounts of garlic. Thus, it is important to avoid feeding garlic to your dog, even in small amounts (11).

Dogs can eat raw or cooked broccoli in moderation.

Broccoli is a low-calorie vegetable that contains high amounts of many nutrients, making it a very healthy snack for your dog (36).

However, broccoli contains isothiocyanates, which are compounds that may irritate your dog’s digestive system if he eats too much. Thus, you should only feed broccoli to your dog as an occasional snack (37).

Cooked chicken is a healthy food that is safe for most dogs to eat.

Chicken is one of the most common ingredients used in dog foods, as it is an excellent source of protein, which your dog needs to stay healthy. You can feed your dog chicken on its own or combine it with his regular food (38, 39).

It is worth noting that you should always remove chicken from the bone before feeding it to your dog. Chicken bones pose a choking hazard and may puncture his digestive tract.

Additionally, it is important to avoid feeding your dog raw chicken to prevent a Salmonella infection (40).

Sweet potatoes are a safe and healthy food for dogs to eat in moderate amounts.

Sweet potatoes are easy for dogs to digest and rich in vitamin A, which is important for your dog’s eye health and immune system (41, 42).

You can add a few sweet potatoes to your dog’s regular food or feed them to him as an occasional treat.

Keep in mind that too much vitamin A can lead to bone problems and muscle weakness in dogs. Thus, you should avoid feeding your dog excessive amounts of sweet potatoes (41).

Dogs should never eat xylitol.

It’s a sugar substitute that’s often found in candy, chewing gum, baked goods and toothpaste. When dogs consume xylitol, it may lead to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels and symptoms like muscle weakness and seizures (11, 43, 44).

The effects of xylitol in dogs have the potential to lead to more serious complications, such as liver damage and even death (11).

Coconut is safe for dogs to consume.

Additionally, feeding coconut meat or coconut oil to dogs as an occasional treat has been anecdotally claimed to benefit their skin and fur.

It is important to note that coconut oil is high in fat and calories and thus best consumed in moderation by dogs to avoid weight gain. Depending on your dog’s size, one-fourth teaspoon to 1 tbsp a day is an appropriate serving size (4).

Dogs should never consume alcohol.

Consuming even small amounts of it may lead to ethanol poisoning in dogs. This causes tiredness, lack of coordination, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea (11).

If a dog consumes too much alcohol, it can result in more severe symptoms, such as heart attack, lung failure, coma and even death (11).

Products that contain alcohol, such as alcoholic beverages, perfumes, mouthwash and cleaning products, should always be kept away from your dog.

Cooked pork without added spices, seasonings or sauces is safe for dogs to eat.

However, you should never feed your dog raw or undercooked pork to prevent a bacterial infection, which can make your dog sick (40).

Furthermore, processed forms of pork, such as ham and bacon, should never be fed to dogs. They’re often extremely high in salt, which can be harmful to dogs (3).

Cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs, but it should still be limited in your dog’s diet.

If dogs consume cinnamon in large quantities, it may irritate their mouths and digestive system. Plus, if your dog inhales cinnamon powder, it may cause coughing, choking and breathing difficulties (45).

Even foods that contain cinnamon as an ingredient, such as baked goods, may lead to adverse effects if your dog consumes too much.

Dogs can eat mango as an occasional treat.

Mangoes are very healthy for dogs in small amounts, as they provide several vitamins and minerals, in addition to lots of fiber (46).

Before you feed your dog mangoes, make sure to peel them, as the skin can be hard for him to digest. Additionally, the pit should be removed to prevent choking.

Nutmeg is not safe for dogs to eat.

This is because nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound that is toxic to dogs when consumed in large amounts. It may cause disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, stomach pain and seizures (47).

You should keep nutmeg out of your dog’s reach and prevent him from consuming baked goods and other foods that contain nutmeg.

You should only feed honey to your dog in limited amounts.

Honey has a high sugar content, which can add up in calories and contribute to weight gain if your dog eats too much (4).

If you want to feed your dog honey as a treat every once in awhile, it is best to provide him with only a very small amount.

You should prevent your dog from drinking too much milk.

Lactose intolerance is common in dogs, which may cause loose stools, gas, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea (14).

Some dogs are able to tolerate small quantities of milk as an occasional treat, but they should not drink more than a few tablespoons of milk per day.

Most dogs are able to eat plain turkey without adverse effects.

However, avoid giving your dog turkey that has been seasoned and stuffed to prevent him from eating potentially harmful ingredients, such as onions and garlic.

Additionally, your dog should only eat turkey that is boneless and skinless.

Dogs can eat plain and cooked brown or white rice.

Rice is very easy for dogs to digest and may help relieve an upset stomach.

You can feed rice to your dog on its own or combined with a little bit of chicken or turkey for extra protein.

Lean beef is safe for dogs to eat.

In fact, beef is a common ingredient in many dog foods. It’s an excellent source of protein and many important vitamins and minerals that your dog needs for overall health (48).

The beef that you feed to your dog should be plain, without any added sauces or seasonings. These often contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog, such as salt (3).

Lemons and limes can be toxic to your dog.

This is because the skins of lemons and limes contain a substance called psoralen, which can cause dogs to have gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea (49).

If very large amounts of psoralen are consumed by dogs, more severe symptoms, such as muscle tremors, difficulty walking, liver failure and death, can result.

It is extremely unsafe for dogs to eat raw yeast dough.

Raw yeast dough is a concern because yeast cells produce alcohol as they ferment, which may lead to alcohol poisoning and death if your dog consumes it (11, 31).

Furthermore, dogs that eat raw yeast dough may experience severe bloating, as the dough expands in their stomachs. This can cause difficulty breathing and weakness (50).

Dogs can eat bananas in moderation.

Bananas are high in fiber and many vitamins and minerals. Some people also claim that bananas help relieve nausea in dogs, but this has not been proven by scientific evidence (51).

You can mix some mashed banana with your dog’s regular food or feed him a slice or two as an occasional treat.

Your dog can safely eat strawberries in moderation.

Strawberries make a very healthy treat for dogs, as they are low in calories but high in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber (52).

Before feeding your dog strawberries, make sure to cut them into small pieces to prevent choking.

Dogs can eat oranges in small quantities.

Oranges are an excellent treat for dogs because they are high in nutrients and low in calories (53).

However, oranges have been reported to cause upset stomach in some dogs, and thus, they should eat them in moderation.

Plain, unsalted peanuts are safe for dogs to eat in small quantities.

Similar to other nuts, peanuts are high in fat and may contribute to weight gain and pancreatitis if your dog eats too many of them (4, 11).

Additionally, peanuts often contain added ingredients like salt that could be harmful to dogs. If you feed your dog peanuts, it is best to only give him a few plain peanuts at a time.

Store-bought mushrooms, such as portobello mushrooms, are safe for dogs to eat.

However, only feed your dog plain mushrooms that have not been combined with extra ingredients, such as garlic and onions, that may have adverse effects in dogs.

Additionally, it is worth noting that some wild mushrooms are toxic to your dog and may cause mushroom poisoning (54, 55).

Dogs can eat plain potatoes that have been cooked.

However, you should never feed your dog raw potatoes. Raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that is toxic to dogs. Cooking potatoes reduces their solanine levels (56, 57, 58, 59).

Potatoes should only be fed to dogs in small amounts, as their high carbohydrate content may cause dogs to gain weight if they eat them in large quantities.

In small amounts, celery is a safe snack for dogs to eat.

Also, celery is a health-conscious treat for dogs. It is low in calories and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals (60).

Before feeding your dog celery, cut it into bite-size pieces to prevent choking and make it easier for him to digest.

Dogs can eat fresh, pitted cherries in moderate amounts.

However, you should not allow your dog to eat cherry pits. Cherry pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs when consumed in large amounts. Additionally, cherry pits are a choking hazard (58).

Cherries may also cause upset stomach and diarrhea in dogs if they eat too many. If you feed your dog cherries, limit him to one or two cherries at a time.

You can feed plain, cooked shrimp to your dog.

Shrimp is a healthy treat for dogs, as it’s an excellent source of protein and provides a significant amount of vitamins and minerals (61).

However, you should avoid feeding raw shrimp to your dog, as it may contain harmful bacteria that could make him sick. Always make sure to remove the shell from shrimp to prevent your dog from choking (62).

Some foods are safe and healthy for dogs to eat, while others are harmful and could even be deadly.

All foods should be introduced into your dog’s diet gradually, so you can monitor him for adverse effects like allergic reactions.

Even if a food is deemed “safe” for dogs to eat, a rule of thumb is to feed it to your dog in moderation. This can help prevent weight gain and other negative effects.

Keep in mind that all dogs are different. One dog may tolerate a food just fine, while another experiences adverse effects.

Nevertheless, it can be enjoyable to give your dog a treat every once in awhile. Just make sure to only feed him foods that are non-toxic to dogs.

If you have questions about specific serving sizes of foods to feed to your dog, ask your veterinarian.

An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.

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