You always hear about what dogs cannot eat – like chocolate, grapes, avocadoes, onions – but sometimes finding information on what dogs can eat is more difficult. Since dogs are so irresistibly cute, it’s easy for humans to fall prey to their pup’s sweet stare as he or she looks at you with those adorable eyes.
“Give me a bite, Mama?”
Since you’re only human (unless you’re a dog reading this), you’ve probably succumbed and given your dog a table scrap, or two. Most pet owners have a habit of feeding their dogs little bits of human food occasionally – maybe for a special occasion, like the holidays, or when your dog is sick.
But, what exactly can dogs eat? What human foods are safe for dogs?
Helpful Tip: Because not all dogs are alike, you may want to only give your dog a tiny nibble of your food. Your dog may be allergic, or have a negative reaction to it. He or she can have an upset tummy, diarrhea, or even throw up. So always start slow when introducing your human food to your dog.
What Foods Dogs Can Eat
- Peanut Butter – Most dogs love peanut butter, and it’s often fun to watch them eat it. Peanut butter is pretty safe for dogs, but due to the high fat content of this yummy treat, you should avoid feeding too much peanut butter to your pooch.
- Bananas – Some dogs loves nibbling on bananas. Bananas, like other fruits, contain phytonutrients, so they are good for dogs and humans alike. Bananas are full of vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, manganese … All good nutrients for your dog.
- Cooked Potatoes – A plain baked potato is a healthy snack for a dog. My dog loves baked potatoes (regular and sweet potatoes). Keep your dog away from raw potatoes and potato plants, since they are poisonous. Cooked potatoes are fine. Just keep your dog away from green potatoes, the potato plant, stem and its leaves.
- Baby Carrots – If your dog enjoys carrots, consider yourself lucky. Not all dogs enjoy gnawing on carrots, but they are a healthy treat for your pooch. It’s a low-calorie snack that’s packed with nutrients. Since carrots are crunchy, it’s good for your dog’s teeth.
- Melons – Feeding your dog watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are healthy snacks for your dog. Some dogs actually love eating melons.
- Cooked Chicken – When have you ever known a dog to reject chicken? Dogs love eating cooked chicken in any way that they can get it – whether it’s rotisserie chicken, baked, boiled, or grilled. Be careful with the seasonings used to cook the chicken. Avoiding feeding your dog chicken that was drenched in garlic or onion, since these are harmful ingredients to dogs.
- Popcorn – Some dogs really love popcorn. Plain popcorn is low in calories, and it serves as a great reward for obedience training or teaching your dog new treats. However, popcorn should be used with caution in small dogs, since the kernels and hulls can get lodged in their esophageal and rectal passages.
- Orange Slices – Giving your dog the odd orange slice isn’t harmful. In fact, the vitamin C and antioxidant content from oranges can help boost your dog’s immune system and help fight off free radicals that cause cancer. Make sure to leave off the rind, since it’s often too strong for your dog’s digestive system.
- Berries – Many dogs enjoy eating frozen berries – including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries – but fresh berries are good for them too. Berries are full of antioxidants, so they help ward off cancer-causing free radicals.
- Red Tomatoes – Fully ripe, red tomatoes are fine to give to your dog. However, avoid giving your dog green tomatoes, and keep him or her away from the tomato plant itself. The tomato plant, its leaves, and stem contain a substance called alpha-tomatine, which is toxic to an animal’s heart. This substance is found in small amounts in a green, unripened tomato and only in tiny amounts in a ripe tomato. So, an occasional ripe tomato should be fine. Only eating a massive amount of ripe tomatoes would actually harm a dog.
- Cheese – Like humans, dogs can be lactose intolerant. For this reason, you should introduce cheese slowly. Not all dogs can tolerate cheese.
- Apple Slices – Apples are a safe snack, but make sure that you cut up the apple in small bites. Never, ever feed your dog the seeds – since apple seeds contain cyanide, a poison.
- Green Beans – You can safely feed your dog a can of no-fat added green beans. They are low calorie and filling to your dog.
- Rice – This is a filler in many commercial dog foods, so you can safely give your pooch a bite or two of rice, if you want. Make sure that the rice isn’t seasoned with garlic, onion, or too much salt, though!
- Puréed Pumpkin – Whether it’s freshly cooked pumpkin, canned unsweetened pumpkin, or pureed pumpkin, this Halloween fruit is a great source of fiber for dogs. Pureed pumpkin with no spices added can also help your dog with any constipation or diarrhea problems he or she may have.
- Cooked Eggs – Giving your dog a nibble of low salt, lightly seasoned scrambled eggs, or a plain boiled egg, is perfectly fine. Cooked eggs are full of vitamins and protein. Be careful to avoid undercooked eggs, since they can be contaminated with salmonella, and they contain an enzyme that decreases your dog’s ability to absorb some B-vitamins.
- Tuna – Canned tuna is full of protein, so it’s fine to feed your dog. However, some dogs may have a negative reaction to tuna fish and may experience horrible gas afterwards. Every dog reacts differently.
Be Careful When Feeding Your Dog Human Food
Although dogs can eat the above foods, make sure that you feed human food with caution. Every dog reacts differently. One dog may love eating potatoes and have no problem with it; another dog can experience stomach upset, diarrhea, and other reactions from it. Some dogs may have food sensitivities that you don’t know about. So, when you are introducing new human foods, do it slowly and pay attention to your dog’s reaction.
If you have any questions about what foods dogs can eat, call your veterinarian and ask. Many vet’s offices would love to answer your questions.
This article was written by DP Nguyen, a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in writing about health topics. She is also Gracie Lu’s mama.