We all love our dog pets – a little too much at times. After all, we share our living spaces, our toys and sometimes our beds with our furry pals. So it’s no surprise then that we occasionally find ourselves slipping them some tidbits of food, during meal times; after all, there’s nothing wrong with sharing our favorite food with them, is there? Most dog specialists will tell you that while dogs can digest some kinds of human foods, others like fruits and vegetables can cause serious health problems for your dog. The next time you reward your dog with some table scraps, please pause and consider whether the food in question is safe for your dog’s tummy.
Below is a list of foods your dog can and can’t eat.
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Yes. Some vets actually recommend them as a substitute for salty and fatty treats. Bananas are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, biotin, and fiber (good if your dog has gastrointestinal problems). They’re low in sodium and cholesterol but tend to have a high sugar content. They should, therefore, be given as treats, rather than as part of your dog’s regular diet. When feeding your dog a banana, consider mashing it up with his food or serving it frozen, peeled and sliced.
Tip: If your dog has a problem taking his meds, you can hide them inside a banana.
Yes, but on condition, the seeds are removed, and you don’t allow your dog to chew on the rind. Watermelon seeds can cause intestinal blockage while the rind is known to give dogs a stomach upset. The fruit is a great health food that’s low in calories and packed with nutrients namely: vitamin A, B6, and C, as well as potassium. They also keep your dog hydrated.
Yes, they can. Crunching on carrots is actually good for your dog’s teeth. They’re low in calorie (especially compared to biscuits and other treats) and high in fiber as well as vitamin A and potassium. Some vets even recommend giving your teething pup cold carrots to relieve their discomfort. Large frozen carrots, on the other hand, make cheap and edible chew toys to keep your dog busy. Both raw and cooked carrots are okay to give your dog.
Not all peanuts are good for dogs to eat. When feeding your dog choose raw or dry-roasted peanuts that don’t contain salt -these are the safest for your dog to eat. The regular salted peanuts we all love contain more sodium than is healthy for your dog, while their high-fat content can give your dog a stomach upset. Peanuts contain protein, vitamin B-6 and E, niacin and heart-healthy fats and can be a highly nutritious treat when taken in moderation. Avoid honey roasted peanuts and make sure you the shell is removed as it poses a choking hazard for your dog.
Yes, this is a great treat for your dog, provided he isn’t lactose intolerant. When feeding him, ensure you watch him closely for any allergic reaction. Cottage cheese or mozzarella is a great choice as it is low in fat; just don’t overfeed him.
Yes. Eggs are a great source of highly digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. Scrambling an egg for your dog can provide him with a much-needed protein boost, especially if he’s prone to stomach upsets. Eggs can be added to your dog’s regular meal as a treat, just make sure the eggs are cooked as raw egg whites are known to cause biotin deficiency.
High in nutrients and low in carbs, sliced cucumbers make a good light treat for your furry pal. Cucumbers contain vitamin B and silica which is beneficial for the bones and joints. They also have phytochemicals that help keep his breath fresh. That said, they should be taken in moderation as too many cucumbers can cause gastrointestinal distress to your dog.
Yes. But make sure you first cook the shrimp, as raw uncooked shellfish may contain harmful pathogens. Feeding small quantities of shrimp is perfectly okay for your dog when cooked; not only is it delicious, it’s also rich in nutrients like vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants. Vitamin B12 helps in your dog’s metabolic processes, while phosphorus keeps his bones healthy. Antioxidants help reduce brain aging. Other types of shellfish like lobster and crab meat pose no threat to your dog.
Yes. Yogurts are high in calcium and protein, and therefore good for your dog provided they aren’t lactose intolerant. They’re also probiotic, containing active bacteria that help with your dog’s digestive system. However, be careful to avoid yogurts containing additives like artificial sweeteners or added sugars. Added sugars are not unhealthy for both dogs and humans, while some artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, have been proven to be toxic to dogs.
Yes. Blueberries are a great snack to share with your dog. Their high nutritional value and small size make them suitable for both small and large dogs. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, while their calorie levels are low. Blueberries help strengthen your dog’s immune system and reduce the effects of aging in his brain. Nevertheless, you should be cautious when feeding your pup this treat for the first time; make sure you monitor him closely for any negative reaction.
Yes. Oranges aren’t toxic to dogs, although their high sugar levels can cause a GI upset when taken in large quantities. The natural sugar and fiber in the fruit aren’t harmful to your dog, while its vitamin C content is actually beneficial. The rind, however, can cause blockage of the digestive tract and should be removed before feeding your dog. Smaller dogs should take not more than a quarter or third of a moderately sized orange, while larger dogs can eat a whole one.
Yes. Fresh strawberries are a wonderful choice to incorporate into your dog’s diet. Not only are they a healthy treat for whitening your dog’s teeth, they have other benefits like anti-aging properties, and boosting your dog’s immune system. Like blueberries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants and boast a high vitamin C and fiber content. Strawberries are best served cut up or mashed into a puree to avoid choking your dog.
No. Even when ingested in small quantities, grapes and resins can prove to be fatally toxic to your dog, creating complications like kidney failure. The exact chemical that causes the toxic reaction, however, remains unknown.
Yes. Apples can help clean plaque off your dog’s teeth and freshen her breath. They are a source of vitamins A and C, calcium, and phosphorus as well as fiber. Needless to say, dogs love them and they’re a safe way for satisfying your pooch’s sweet tooth. Be careful to remove the core and seeds when feeding your dog as the latter contain cyanide, while the core can be a choking hazard. Apples should also be served in moderation to avoid giving your dog a tummy ache and diarrhea.
Yes. Mango is rich in vitamin A, B6, C, and E, as well as fiber, making it nutritious for both humans and dogs. The fact that it’s sweet makes it even more attractive to your dog, but you should only feed him in moderate quantities to avoid a stomach upset. It’s best to peel the fruit and remove the pit before feeding your dog as it poses a choking hazard. It can also get lodged in the GI tract and is known to contain trace amounts of cyanide. The peel, on the other hand, is difficult to digest, so it’s advisable to remove it.
Yes. It’s okay for your dog to have some popcorn, preferably the unsalted, plain air-popped kind that’s free of butter. Popcorn is a good source of riboflavin and thiamine which improve eyesight as well as digestion. It also contains small quantities of protein and iron. When preparing popcorn to ensure the kernels are popped all the way before feeding your dog, otherwise the unpopped kernels may end up choking your dog. Popcorn is a great treat when served in moderation.
Yes, but only in very small quantities. And even then, it can result in GI distress, some dentists warn. Despite the fruit being edible, its acidic nature can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression and skin problems, according to the ASPCA. A large piece of the skin can cause obstruction of the digestive tract leading to an emergency. It’s also not advisable to give your dog lemon juice due to its high acidity as it can cause disruption of a canine’s acid-base balance. Overall, any potential nutritional benefit lemons or lemon juice might have is simply not worth the risk.
Yes, but serve just a little and watch keenly for any bad reactions. That’s because eggplant belongs to the nightshade family (same as tomatoes and potatoes) and contains alpha-tomatine which can cause negative effects such as itching, rashes and an upset stomach in your dog. If your pup has a history of allergic reactions, it’s best not to give him this vegetable. Eggplants are rich in vitamins like B6 and K and contain minerals like potassium, folate, and niacin. The fact that they’re rich in fiber and low in fat makes them good snacks when taken in small quantities.
Broccoli is safe to eat in small amounts, but it can be harmful. The vegetable may seem like a good choice to feed your dog given that it’s high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. However, it also contains isothiocyanates, a chemical (found in the florets) that’s known to cause mild-to-potentially-serious gastric irritation in some dogs. Should you choose to give your pup broccoli as a treat make sure it’s less than 10% of its daily intake. Broccoli can be served both cooked and raw.
Almonds are a big no-no. Although they’re not toxic to dogs like walnuts and macadamia nuts, they are harmful in other ways. The fact that they can block your dog’s windpipe, or even tear it if swallowed without being chewed properly is a cause for concern. Salted almonds are especially harmful because of their ability to increase water retention in your dog which can be fatal for canines prone to heart disease.
Yes. The avocado flesh can be eaten in moderate quantities and is said to be good for your dog’s coat. Avocados are rich in potassium, folate, niacin and essential fatty acids. However, the fact that avocados are high in fat means your dog also runs the risk of developing complications associated with fatty food such as pancreatitis. The other danger is swallowing the pit, which can cause obstruction of the digestive system or choking.
It depends. Young, green tomatoes may be harmful to your dog because they contain a substance called tomatine. Ripe tomatoes, on the other hand, are generally safe to feed your dog. Tomatine can cause your dog to have gastrointestinal upset, cardiac problems and muscle weakness if ingested. As a dog owner, you should be especially careful if you have a garden with tomato plants as the leaves and stems contain high amounts of tomatine that can harm your dog if chewed on.
Yes and no. Pomegranate fruit in its pure form is not good for your dog as it contains powerful antioxidants that can cause a stomach upset. The seeds, on the other hand, can be fed to your dog, but in moderate amounts. Simply extract them and then crush them before mixing them with your dog’s food. Pomegranate seeds are a rich source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Start by feeding small amounts to your dog as you monitor his reaction.
Yes. Raw pineapple, taken in moderate amounts, is a welcome snack in your dog’s diet. There’s no doubt your dog will enjoy frozen pieces of fresh pineapple given as a treat in the summer. Pineapple is not only safe for your dog to feed on, it also contains important vitamins like vitamin C, minerals and fiber which help supplement your dog’s nutrient requirements.
Yes, but cooked and in moderate amounts. Potato belongs to the nightshade variety which can be hazardous to your dog when eaten raw. However, when prepared correctly – that is peeled and boiled, or baked, until soft – it is a highly nutritious meal full of vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron. You can also feed your dog on high quality dog food that incorporates potatoes in its ingredients. Always ensure there are no GMOs or preservatives included. Sweet potatoes are also more nutritious than regular Irish/English potatoes.
Big No. Feeding onions to your pooch can make him seriously ill, irrespective of whether they’re raw, cooked, or processed. Onions contain thiosulfate, a substance which causes a dog’s red blood cells to break down, leading to hemolytic anemia. Note that all parts of an onion plant are toxic, including the leaves, flesh, juice or onions in powder form. It’s also not advisable to feed your dog on baby food or onion soup which may contain traces of onion as it only takes 100g for every 20 kilos in dog weight to create complications from onion toxicity.
While raw pumpkin is not ideal for your dog, canned or freshly cooked pumpkin, including pumpkin seeds, can be a healthy supplement to their diet. Pumpkin is rich in fiber and contains important vitamins like vitamins A, E, and C, as well as minerals like potassium and iron. It also has a high water content which helps in correcting complications like diarrhea and constipation. Feeding your dog 1 or 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin a day, based on your dog’s size can help bulk up his stool and keep diarrhea and constipation at bay.
It’s best not to, as the pits of cherries contain cyanide, which is potentially poisonous for your dog when taken in large enough quantities. Apart from causing a gastrointestinal (GI) upset, the pits can also get lodged in the dog’s digestive system, causing intestinal obstruction.
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on all dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.