It can be extremely tempting to slip your dog a little mouthful of whatever you’re eating, especially when they adorn their most heartstring tugging puppy dog eyes.
There are, however, many “human” foods that are harmful or even deadly if eaten by your dog.
But don’t fret, there are also many surprising foods which you CAN treat your dog to without putting them in undue danger.
In this article below we’ll outline 16 foods, some your dog will love and some which your dog must absolutely avoid.
Yes, dogs can eat cheese.
Cheese can make a superb training tool.
While most dogs can eat cheese, and most dogs love it, some dogs can be intolerant of cheese.
Even for dogs that are able to tolerate cheese, it is still best fed in moderation due to its considerable fat content.
It’s best to feed your dog low-fat cheeses, like mozzarella, cottage cheese, or soft goat cheese.
Cottage Cheese is lower in fat and sodium than other cheeses, helping reduce the risk of obesity.
Cottage cheese is also lower in lactose, thus reducing the likelihood of intestinal upset. All of these make for excellent ways to hide tablets for dogs who require medication.
Here’s how to give your dog cheese:
· Feed your dog with small nibbles of cheese as training treats.
· Grate some cheese, and use it as toppings for your dog’s meal. This will help increase the food’s protein and calcium levels.
· Smear some soft cheese inside your dog’s puzzle feeder. This will provide your pet with hours of fun and enjoyment just licking the cheese out
While cheese is generally safe to feed to your dog, there are some things to remember:
Feeding too much to your dog regularly can cause weight gain and lead to obesity. Even more problematic, it could lead to pancreatitis.
Some cheeses contain herbs or other products that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic, onions, and chives.
Our Moonchers chews are high in protein and calcium.
Not only that, they contain vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins.
They are low in Lactose and, due to their solid makeup, take a long time for even heavy chewers to ingest, reducing the danger of your dog over doing it.
If you want to give your dog a sweet, healthy treat, there’s good news!
Some berries are safe for dogs to eat.
They are low in calories and sugar, so you don’t have to feel bad about tossing a few of these juicy berries to your pup every once in a while.
You can feed your dog blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries as well.
These berries are soft and easy for dogs to chew and don’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to canines.
Blackberries contain a myriad of beneficial compounds including Vitamins C, K and E as well as potassium, manganese and copper in small amounts and of course, as with all berries, a fair amount of dietary fibre.
They are perfectly safe for your dog to eat although as with all berries they shouldn’t be consumed in excessive quantities as this can make their motions loose.
Some berries can cause problems for dogs and should not be fed to them under any circumstances.
For example, cherries can be harmful because they contain pits which create a choking hazard for dogs.
Although the cause is unknown, grapes and raisins are particularly bad for dogs as they are toxic to their system.
If your pet has eaten raisins or grapes they can become unwell, showing signs of vomiting and diarrhoea; consuming larger amounts can even lead to kidney failure.
Particularly at Christmas time, dogs are more likely to be around food like Christmas cake and fruit loaf, which contains dried fruit.
Be careful to ensure this kind of food is kept out of reach and guests do not feed your pet with their leftovers.
Yes, dogs can eat bananas.
In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs.
They're high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fibre, and copper.
They are also low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog's main diet.
To prepare your Banana for your dog:Remove the peel entirely and discard.
Mash or chop the banana into small pieces and add to your dogs meals or feed them as treats.
#4 Fruits with Seeds and Stones
Thankfully for the health conscious dog owner, there are many fruits which can be perfectly safe and even good for your dog to eat.
Some common examples of fruits your dog can eat would be:
Apples – seeds and core removed
Peach – be careful to remove the stone and cut up the flesh into digestible pieces
Melon – seeds removed
Pears – seeds and core removed
Mangos – skin and flesh
When feeding these fruits to your dog, it’s best to cut it into slices or pieces, so that it’s easier for your dog to chew.
Always remove the core and seeds, including the stem, away from your pup because it poses a choking hazard.
Although fruit contains vitamin C; dogs’ bodies produce this naturally so they don’t need to supplement it within their diet.
Fruit should also be fed in moderation as it contains a lot of natural sugar.
In addition, fruits high in vitamin C like oranges are safe for dogs to eat, but not the peel, as this is toxic to dogs (and cats).
Always ensure the removal of seeds and cores from Apples and Pears as they can contain considerable traces of Cyanide.
#5 Root Vegetables
Root vegetables contain a range of nutrients such as healthy dietary fibre, vitamins B and C, minerals and antioxidants. However, as mentioned, parsnips are very high in starch so should only be given to your dog in moderation.
Dogs need fibre in their diet to help keep things moving along in their digestion, just like humans do. However, unlike humans, dogs only need a very small amount of dietary fibre.
Too much fibre can create gastrointestinal discomfort in your pooch. It is also better to cook high fibre foods before feeding them to your dog. Cooking a vegetable like parsnip will ease their digestion.
Root Vegetables you can feed your dog without concern include:
Your dog may enjoy the crunch and flavour of raw carrots, but if he doesn’t like them raw, try giving him cooked carrots. If you’re worried about altering the carrots’ nutritional value by cooking them, don’t.
What about mushrooms? Mushrooms aren’t vegetables.
Dogs can’t eat mushrooms, as they are highly toxic and can upset their digestive system, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
If a high amount has been ingested symptoms can include damage to the red blood cells, causing anaemia.
There are several other vegetables that can make dogs very unwell.
Dogs cannot eat onions or any other vegetables in the onion family such as:Garlic
Even in small doses, all of these vegetables are toxic and should be avoided. Onion toxicity is not uncommon as onions are often found in many meals including ready meals.
#6 Green Veg
Similarly to fruits, there are many vegetables that your dog can eat.
Vegetables are over all better to feed your dog as they on average contain considerably less natural sugar.
They also contain a wider array of vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables you can feed your dog without concern include:Squash
Fresh green beans and MangeTout
Cucumber – in small portions
Celery – in small portions, with the leaves removed
Any of the above vegetables are a safe source of food that dogs can eat as an alternative treat.
If you’re supplementing your dog’s diet with human food, it’s best to remember that treats should form no more than 10% of their daily calories.
Eggs are good for dogs as they are an excellent source of protein.
Served raw, eggs are one of nature's most perfect proteins and an inexpensive and safe food source. There is debate on whether it is safe to feed your dog raw eggs. Do what you feel is safe, and if you do feed your dog raw eggs, make sure they’re as fresh as possible. They're highly digestible with a full range of essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein.
In addition to protein, feeding eggs to your dog is an easy way to offer him a range of nutrition support.
They provide many key nutrition components including:Vitamin A
When feeding your dogs eggs, don't discard the eggshells. Ground up they are a great source of calcium and can be dried and saved up for later addition into food.
The health of the hen laying the eggs is very important. Ideally you want to feed your dog eggs from organic, free-range healthy chickens.
#8 Chicken & Turkey
Chicken and Turkey are both excellent sources of protein and nutrients for your dog.
You can feed your dog just about any cut of meat from these two members of the poultry family.
You must ensure that all bones have been removed though, as small poultry bones can easily splinter, possibly damaging your dog's throat or digestive tract.When feeding your dog Chicken or Turkey:
Always cook thoroughly, whether you boil it or roast it.
Always ensure bones are totally removed.
Chop into small pieces to avoid your dog choking.
While this is an area some owners might debate, the answer is a little more involved than just a straight yes or no.
It is safe to eat pork, but there are certain conditions that must be adhered to if you plan to feed your dog pork.
Plain pork is safe for dogs to eat, as long as you keep it simple and leave off the bells and whistles people tend to cook with.
Add-ons, such as seasonings and spice rubs that contain the following, are extremely dangerous, due to the fact they are highly toxic if ingested:Onion Powder
If you like to use condiments such as BBQ sauce, you should be aware that it is not recommended for dogs and should be avoided. Many sauces are high in salt and sugar and contain added flavouring, such as garlic and onion. If your dog happens to eat a piece of pork covered in BBQ sauce, keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms that may arise and if they do develop a reaction contact your vet immediately.
#10 Beef Liver
Beef liver contains up to 100 times more nutrient than any other meat, which is an excellent choice for your furry friend. It means that only a small amount during the day is enough to keep him sated.
Liver also has additional health benefits because it cleans your dog’s body of toxins.
But, like with any food, it should be eaten in moderation. Your dog only needs small amounts about three times a week, this will be more than enough.
Always ensure the Liver is cooked properly and only feed it to your dog as part of a balanced diet.
As omnivores, dogs can eat both plant and animal-based foods.
Brown rice is a fantastic option, as it’s an easily digestible carbohydrate.
Rice is a great simple carbohydrate to feed dogs if they’re feeling unwell, as it’s less likely to upset their system and allow time for them to recover.
Here are the necessary steps you have to take to properly cook the rice for your dog to eat:Fill 1 cup of rice
Put 4 cups of water
Boil for 20-30 minutes
When it’s done boiling and properly cools off, take some and mix it with some dog food or meat and feed it to your dog
One of the most popular small dishes people like to feed their dogs is cooked rice and chicken, which is an excellent stomach upset reliever.
Pasta is also a healthy alternative to rice.
Plain porridge is another food high in easily digested carbohydrates and is perfectly safe to feed your dog.
Oatmeal is rich in Fibre and vitamins, it’s also excellent for dogs with upset stomachs.
When preparing oatmeal for your canine companion, make it with water, as opposed to milk.
Avoid giving your dogs large amounts of Milk as they don’t produce enough lactase, which is required to digest the lactose in milk, to properly digest large amounts.
Signs of your dog being intolerant to milk include gas, bloating and the runs.
How to make Porridge or Oatmeal for dogs:
1. In a small sauce pan, bring 600ml of water to a simmer.
2. Add 120g porridge or oatmeal and stir until combined.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently.
4. Cook for 7 - 8 minutes, until oatmeal is thickened and oats have absorbed the water.
5. Make sure you leave it to cool before serving to your dog.
Plain white or wholemeal bread is okay as an occasional treat for your dog.
It is worth bearing in mind that bread is highly calorific so feeding your dog too much can result in weight gain.
Where as plain bread is safe for your dog in small quantities, bread dough is a total no no.
The yeast in the dough can cause the dough to continue to expand in the stomach, leading to bloating and potentially dangerous complications.
The yeast also produces ethanol (alcohol) which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Dogs should never be given alcohol.
Their digestive system is not designed to tolerate alcohol consumption, excessive amounts can lead to complications as severe as Coma or Death.
Sweetcorn is highly nutritious and can be consumed safely by most dogs.
The kernels contain protein, natural antioxidants and essential fatty acids and are a great source of energy
However, canned sweetcorn is often high in salt.
This can put your dog at risk of dehydration and sodium poisoning if they eat a lot of it.
Canned sweetcorn also has lower nutritional value, so it’s best not to feed it to your dog regularly.
The corn must be removed from the cob first however, as the core of the cob can present a dangerous choking hazard if chewed up and ingested by your dog.
To cook corn on the cob for your dog:Wet a paper towel, and wring out.
Wrap the ear of corn in the moist towel, and place on a dinner plate.
Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove paper towel
Cut the kernels away from the cob and serve
One food that many people wouldn’t think of as being dog friendly is Popcorn!
Popcorn is actually made from maize, not sweetcorn, but the two plants are from the same family
Plain, unseasoned popcorn can be excellent for your dog.
It contains lots of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Zinc, which are important for your dog's coat and immune system.
Dogs also love crunching it!
Make sure to remove any un-popped kernels to avoid choking hazards.
#16 Peanut Butter
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in the manufacture of many human foods, and can be a common ingredient in things we consider perfectly safe for dogs, such as Peanut Butter.
Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, it can cause extremely low blood pressure and in the worst cases Liver Failure, and should be avoided at all costs.
Some dogs can consume small quantities of certain nuts, namely unseasoned Peanuts, Cashews and Almonds, but overall it is not recommended to feed your dog nuts at all.
Macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts specifically are poisonous to dogs and in the worst cases can lead to Hyperthermia.
There are however Xylitol free Peanut Butters which are perfect for dogs. The best way to feed your dog peanut butter is to fill a Kong or similar style toy with it and then to freeze it, this makes for an ideal distraction tool.
The bottom Line
Some foods are safe and healthy for dogs to eat, while others are harmful and could even be deadly. All new foods should be introduced into your dog’s diet gradually, so you can monitor them 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 may experience adverse effects.
Treating your dog can be great for them as long as you ensure you’re feeding them the right foods in the right quantities. If you’re unsure about whether or not to feed your dog a particular food, please check with your vet first.