It's no secret that dogs love food. In fact, most dogs would probably eat just about anything given the chance. However, not all food is created equal—and some of it can be dangerous for dogs to consume. As a responsible pet owner, it's important to know which foods are safe for your dog to eat and which ones should be avoided.
Here's a quick rundown of some common human foods that are both safe and unsafe for dogs to consume. There’s plenty more out there of course, but if you’re unsure we recommend you check first before giving it to your dog.
Safe Foods For Dogs
Other than dog food containing the usual dog-friendly ingredients, there are several human foods that are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. In fact, some of them are even good for them! Here are a few examples:
Eggs: Eggs are high in protein, minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids. Dogs can also eat eggshells, which are high in calcium, however, the shell can have sharp edges so it might be best to avoid those. The high protein content of eggs can cause your pup to gain weight, moderation is key here. Also - don’t feed your dog raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella, it's always best to cook them first.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a great source of protein for dogs and most of them love the taste. Just be sure to choose a brand that doesn't contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.
Chicken: Chicken is another excellent source of protein for dogs. It's lean, low in fat, and highly digestible, making it a great option for dogs who are overweight or have sensitive stomachs. Just be sure to remove the skin and bones first.
Carrots: Carrots are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, all of which are good for your dog's health. They're also low in calories, making them a great snack for dogs who are watching their weight. Plus, most dogs love the taste of carrots, and they make a great natural chew for puppies that can keep them amused for hours!
Bread: Small amounts of plain bread (with no spices or raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on carbohydrates and calories, just like in people.
Cashews: Yes, dogs can eat cashews, but only a few at a time. They’ve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but while these nuts contain less fat than others, too many can lead to weight gain and other conditions. A few cashews make a nice treat, just ensure they’re unsalted.
Cheese: Dogs can eat cheese in small to moderate quantities. If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, which is rare, but still possible in canines, cheese can be a great treat. Many kinds of cheese can be high in fat, so go for lower-fat varieties like cottage cheese or mozzarella.
Tomatoes: These seem like they wouldn’t be good for dogs due to their acidity and certainly some dogs with sensitive tummies might not enjoy them too much, but ripe tomatoes (either raw or cooked) are nontoxic and can be given to your dog in moderation. Tomatoes are included in some of our dog food formulas, because they are a good source of nutrients including Vitamin C and lycopene, which are important antioxidants.
Unsafe Foods For Dogs
Now to the flip side! Not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat, and some of them can be downright dangerous. Here are a few examples of foods you should never feed your dog:
Onions, Garlic & Chives: The onion family, whether dry, raw, or cooked, is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. Signs of illness are not always immediate and can occur up to a few days later. Keep this in mind when you give dogs scraps or leftovers after your dinner as these are common ingredients in the food we cook.
Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system resulting in weakness, swollen limbs, and panting.
Corn: Corn on the cob could potentially be fatal if eaten by your dog. Although the corn is digested by dogs, the cob can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine.
Avocado: Avocados may be a super food for humans but are another poisonous food for dogs. Avocado plants contain a substance called Persin which is in its leaves, fruit, and seed and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
Cooked Bones: Giving your dog a raw uncooked bone to chew on is great, but never give your dog cooked bones. These can easily splinter and in large quantities cause constipation or at worst, perforation of the gut which can be fatal.
Grapes and Raisins: Raisins are in many of the foods that we love to eat such as cakes, biscuits, and cereals so it’s not just the fruit form we should be concerned with. The active ingredient which causes the toxin is unknown, however, both grapes and raisins may cause severe liver damage and kidney failure.
Chocolate: Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs in large quantities. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, and even death. Best to keep this tasty treat away from your best friend altogether!
Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol): Our desire for sweet treats, chewing gum and drinks together with low-fat, diet, and sugar-free products (including some peanut butter so always check the label before using this as a treat) are often laced with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which causes an insulin release in our bodies. However, if your dog digests one of these sweetened foods it can go into hypoglycaemia which is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders.
If any of these foods are consumed, even small amounts can be fatal so always act immediately and take your dog to the vet.
The next time you're eating something delicious and wonder if your furry friend would enjoy it too, use this list as a guide. Remember though, that when in doubt—leave it out and stick to natural alternatives or food made specifically for dogs. Use your judgement and err on the side of caution to keep your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come.