There’s nothing more challenging to ignore than when your dog gives you puppy eyes while you’re at the dinner table. Some dog owners have strict guidelines for what their pet can eat and will rarely provide them with a nibble from the dinner plate. But for those who want to reward their pup with a little extra treat, you should know which foods are safe and which may be harmful to your dog.
We’ve compiled a list of ten tasty human foods that are safe for dogs of any size to eat below. In addition, we’ve also covered popular foods that can be toxic or even deadly for canines. Plus, we’ve got a few suggestions on what to do if your dog eats something toxic and how to protect them should the unexpected happen.
Are There Times I Can’t Give Human Food to My Dog, Even If It’s Safe?
Even if a food listed here is deemed safe, it’s important that you take your dog’s unique circumstances into account before offering them the food. Always keep in mind that dog’s GI tracts are more sensitive than ours, so a little will always go a longer way than it would with us.
There may be diagnoses that affect your dog’s ability to handle human food, so consult your vet ahead of time. It’s especially critical to have a vet’s approval if your dog has diabetes, is overweight, is prone to liver or kidney diseases, or other food sensitivies.
10 Human Foods that are Safe for Dogs
- Lettuce – Water-based vegetables like lettuce or cucumbers are great snacks for dogs that have weight problems and need to be put on a reduced-calorie diet. Stick to lettuces like arugula, romaine, or iceberg. Lettuce-adjacent foods like spinach or kale can be a little too intense for dogs and should be avoided entirely.
- Carrots – Not only are carrots full of vitamin A, but they’re great as dental tools, too! The texture of a carrot can help remove plaque build-up in dogs’ mouths, while vitamin A helps strengthen the immune system. Too much vitamin A can be a bad thing, though, so talk with your vet about how many carrots your dog is able to snack on.
- Chicken – Cooked chicken is full of protein which can help dogs recover from injuries. Make sure that any chicken you give a dog has no spices or additives and isn’t too hot.
- White Rice – Boiled chicken and white rice are often given to dogs with upset stomachs as a way to get some gentle foods into their systems. Check with your vet first, as dogs with diabetes might see increased blood sugar levels when given rice.
- Peanut Butter – Sugar-free peanut butter is rich in fats that give dogs a shiny coat and contribute to their overall health. Try not to overindulge, though, as too much may cause weight problems for older dogs. Also, make sure that your peanut butter is free from sugars or sugar substitutes, as these can cause stomach issues for canines.
- Blueberries – Blueberries are full of antioxidants and fiber, which are great for pets and their owners alike. Be sure to monitor your dog while eating blueberries, as their size may cause them to be a choking hazard, especially in smaller dogs.
- Watermelon – The “meat” of a watermelon can help hydrate pups who might’ve been playing a little too long in the sun. Be sure to remove any seeds ahead of time and try to avoid letting them chew on the rind as it can cause your dog to have an upset stomach.
- Popcorn – Plain popped popcorn can be a light, filling treat for your dog as it’s full of minerals like zinc and magnesium. Avoid giving dogs kernels as they can be a choking hazard, and make sure there aren’t any additives like butter or flavoring as these can cause an upset stomach in canines.
- Bananas – Bananas are full of magnesium and potassium, which are great for your dog’s bone health. However, many dogs don’t enjoy bananas due to their high sugar content and should be given only occasionally.
- Green Beans – Dogs love green beans, no matter if they’re cooked or raw, and they’re great for your dog’s overall health. Make sure that the green beans don’t have any seasoning like sodium, garlic, or onions, as these can be toxic for dogs.
10 Human Foods that are Dangerous for Dogs
- Cherries – The most dangerous part of cherries is their pits, which contain the toxin known as cyanide. Cyanide can cause a variety of dangerous issues for dogs and will sometimes result in death. In addition, the smaller cherries and their stems can also be choking hazards.
- Garlic and Onions – Both garlic and onions contain a chemical known as thiosulfate. In humans, thiosulfate can be beneficial as an antioxidant but is toxic for dogs. Ingesting any foods from the allium family, like garlic or onions, can cause anemia or stomach issues.
- Citrus Fruits – While they might be refreshing for humans, fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit contain a chemical known as citric acid. If your dog has a small amount of a citrus fruit, they may experience an upset stomach for a day. The problem is ingesting seeds or peels that have concentrated citric acid levels, which may be too much for their nervous system to handle and lead to GI issues.
- Cinnamon – A little bit of cinnamon won’t harm your dog, but ingesting too much can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea.
- Nuts – While some nuts like cashews or peanuts are safe for dogs, the main issue is their size. Due to how quickly some dogs eat, nuts are considered to be choking hazards and should be avoided if possible.
- Foods High in Sodium – A little bit of salt is good in any diet, but human foods tend to have more sodium than dogs can handle. Foods high in salt can cause anything from excessive thirst to fevers and seizures in dogs.
- Xylitol – Xylitol isn’t really a food but is used as a sugar substitute in many diet or “sugar-free” foods. If your dog eats xylitol, take it to the ER as quickly as possible because it can cause low blood sugar and even liver failure.
- Chocolate – Chocolate is full of antioxidants that are good for humans but bad for your pup. Eating even a little bit of chocolate can cause anywhere from mild symptoms of an upset stomach to seizures. Unfortunately, having too much chocolate can be fatal, so your dog must stay as far away from chocolate as possible.
- Avocado – Avocados are full of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health for humans. Unfortunately for dogs, avocados also contain persin, a chemical that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Anything Caffinated – Coffee and caffeinated drinks can help humans maintain focus and feel energetic, but caffeine is just a little too much for dogs. The toxins inside things like coffee can cause vomiting, abnormal heart rates, seizures, or possibly even death.
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What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Something Dangerous?
If you’re able to catch your dog in the midst of eating a dangerous food, try to remove it from their mouths before they’re able to swallow it. Call your vet or poison control to find out what to do next if they’ve already consumed it. Depending on the type of food and amount eaten, you may need to take your pet to the emergency vet clinic for treatment, or they may just want you to observe your dog for any adverse side effects. If the vet recommends heading to the ER, try to bring any leftovers with you so your vet can gauge approximately how much was eaten.
We always recommend our readers prepare ahead of time with things like pet insurance. Pet insurance will not only cover routine check-ups but can save you from getting an expensive bill from the emergency vet if your pup gets into something toxic. We’ve reviewed the top pet insurance companies, including Spot Pet, Pumpkin, Lemonade, Progressive, and more, so check out our expert guides to find the right pet insurance for you.
It’s great to share a snack with your dog so that they feel part of the pack, but having foods that are harmful can cause your dog severe distress. Stick to the pet-friendly foods listed above, or consult your vet for pet-friendly human food options. If you want to be prepared for the unexpected, like accidental poisoning, protect your pup with pet insurance. That way, you’ll know that no matter what comes, your dog is able to get the best of care.
* This content is not provided by the financial institution or the offer’s provider. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and does not constitute a financial or expert advice.