Let's face it, none of us can resist a cute puppy face. Especially not when your dogs make that expression when you're eating something and they want a bite.
While it is tempting to give your dogs a small taste of whatever it is you're eating, being a responsible dog parent means resisting that urge.
You have to know what food to avoid giving your dogs so you do not harm their long-term health while chasing immediate gratification.
Here's a list of 33 things dogs can eat and 19 things dogs can't eat.
Disclaimer: This blog is only for reference, and we recommend always checking with your vet before introducing new food to your dog. Every dog is different, and so is every food. Therefore, let your vet make an informed decision about what item from this list you can feed your dog based on their health records and conditions.
33 Things Dogs Can Eat
- Benefits: Apples are safe for dogs and even have health benefits. They are rich in vitamins (C, A, and K), iron, and fiber. These can help strengthen your dog’s immune system, improve digestive and skin conditions, and reduce the risk of several bone-related diseases.
- Things to keep in mind: Moderation is key. Only provide your dogs with a few slices of apple at a time. Also, remove the pits and the core of the apple as they contain cyanide, which can be lethal if ingested in heavy amounts.
- Benefits: Like apples, bananas are also safe for dogs. They contain fiber, vitamins C and B6, and potassium, all beneficial to your dog’s health. This fruit can help with digestive issues in dogs due to its fiber content.
Things to keep in mind: Bananas contain sugar. Large amounts of sugar is harmful to dogs.
So, always make sure you give this tasty fruit in moderation.
Also, some dogs can be allergic to bananas. So, consult your vet regarding your pet’s medical risks.
- Benefits: Blueberries are great snack choices for dogs as they pack a lot of nutrients like vitamins (C, A, K), calcium, and potassium in a small package. They can help dogs fight diseases and conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Things to keep in mind: Blueberries contain sugar, and excessive sugar can be harmful. Due to their small size, they are also potential choking hazards.
Another thing to note is that even though blueberries are good for dogs, blueberry muffins are not. Muffins contain additives, and they can be bad for your dogs.
- Benefits: Broccoli is not toxic to dogs and has few health benefits. They contain vitamins and potassium and have high fiber content.
- Things to keep in mind: Do not feed puppies and senior dogs broccoli, as the high fiber content can cause digestive upsets. Also, dogs should only be given raw or steamed broccoli. Do not give them broccoli cooked in oil, butter, or seasonings, as they can be toxic.
- Benefits: Affordable and healthy, carrots make for great dog treats. They are safe for dogs of all ages and sizes. As for health benefits, they have many vitamins and minerals and can improve dogs’ eye health, digestion, and skin. They can be fed raw or cooked.
A dog holding a carrot in their mouth.
- Things to keep in mind: Make sure to cut carrots into sizes big enough to avoid choking risks. While carrots are fine, carrot cakes are not — they contain additives like artificial flavors. Similarly, as carrots contain sugar, moderation is vital when giving your dogs this tasty vegetable.
- Benefits: For most dogs, most kinds of cheese are safe. Cheese contains protein, calcium, and vitamins and is mostly healthy for dogs. Some types of cheese are also used to make dog chews, like our Tibetan Dog Chews.
- Things to keep in mind: Not all cheeses are created equal. Therefore, giving your dogs low-fat cheese, like cottage cheese, is better. Also, consult your vet before giving your dog cheese — some dogs are lactose-intolerant and cannot handle certain kinds of cheese well.
- Benefits: Cherries are safe for dogs. The flesh of cherries contains antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
Things to keep in mind: The risks in feeding dogs cherries lie in the pits, stems, and leaves. These parts of a cherry plant contain cyanide. Therefore, remove these before you give your dogs this fruit. Further, your dogs can choke on pits and stems.
However, do not feed your dogs maraschinos. They are artificially sweetened.
- Benefits: Cooked chicken is a good source of protein for dogs. They are even used as ingredients in many commercially produced dog foods. Further, cooked chicken can even replace regular meals.
Things to keep in mind: While cooked chicken is suitable for dogs, raw chicken is not. You should never feed your dog uncooked chicken — it poses great risks of salmonella or bacterial infections (this applies to all kinds of raw meat, not just chicken). Also, make sure you remove the bones from the cooked chicken for reduced choking risks.
Thirdly, do not give your dogs chicken you cooked for people. Excessive salt, seasonings, oil, and butter can harm your pup.
9. Citrus Fruits
- Benefits: All citrus fruits — oranges, lime, lemon, tangerines, clementines, and mandarins — are safe for canine consumption. They are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients.
- Things to keep in mind: Citrus fruits have relatively high sugar levels. So, give these fruits to your dogs in moderation. Also, if your dog suffers from weight issues or diabetes, or is on a calorie-restricted diet, citrus fruits might not be a good food choice.
10. Coconut and Coconut Products
- Benefits: Coconut meat and oil are safe and healthy for dogs. They help decrease inflammation and help fight infections and diseases. Additionally, they can also benefit dogs’ skin.
- Things to keep in mind: Always give your dogs coconut in moderation. Some dogs can suffer from bloating and digestive upsets after eating coconut water or meat. So, consult your vet beforehand.
11. Corn and Popcorn
- Benefits: Corn contains several vitamins and minerals and is also used in commercial dog food manufacturing. Therefore, it is a safe food for dogs. Vets even agree that corn can be an excellent addition to dogs’ balanced diet.
Things to keep in mind: Even if your dog likes corn and asks for it every time you have a barbeque at your place, do not give them corn with the cob. Cob can be a choking hazard and cause intestinal blockage.
Also, do not give the corn you prepare with oil, butter, and seasonings, as it can cause your dog problems.
Popcorn, too, is suitable for canine consumption. However, salted and flavored popcorn is not recommended.
- Benefits: Cucumbers are great treats for dogs. This crunchy vegetable carries few calories, sodium, and fat while being rich in water. They are suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes.
- Things to keep in mind: As with every other food, moderation is key with cucumbers. Choking can also be a potential issue if they are not cut into pieces big enough to chew.
13. Green Beans
- Benefits: Green beans are great low-calorie treats your dogs can enjoy in moderation. They contain vitamins (B6, A, C, and K), fiber, iron, and protein.
- Things to keep in mind: You should give your dogs only plain green beans. Salted and canned beans, and beans cooked with oil and spices, are dangerous to dogs’ health. Also, mind the choking risks beans pose.
14. Green Peas
- Benefits: Green peas, often an ingredient in commercial dog foods, contains protein, iron, potassium, etc.
- Things to keep in mind: You should not give green peas to your dogs if they have kidney problems. In addition, canned peas, too, are bad for canines as they contain lots of sodium.
- Benefits: Honey is an excellent source of nutrients and can have many health benefits for dogs. This tasty food reportedly has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It can also help reduce inflammation and sore throats.
- Things to keep in mind: Honey contains a lot of sugar. Therefore, if not eaten in moderation, it can cause obesity and even diabetes in dogs. Further, it can cause tooth decay if your dog’s oral hygiene is not properly cared for. Always consult your vet before giving your dog honey.
- Benefits: Milk contains calcium and protein, both beneficial to dogs. It can be a good and tasty treat for your dogs but in small amounts.
- Things to keep in mind: As dogs can be lactose intolerant, a lot of milk can affect your dog badly. It could cause digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, milk is high in fat and natural sugars and can lead to obesity and pancreatitis.
- Benefits: High in fiber and nutrients, oatmeal can be a great choice to replace wheat and grains in your dog’s diet. Oatmeal can help with dogs’ skin and coat, glucose levels, and bowel movements.
- Things to keep in mind: Do not feed your dogs lots of oatmeal, as excessive fiber can lead to digestive upsets like diarrhea and vomiting. While preparing oatmeal for your dogs, use water instead of milk, and cook thoroughly. Also, do not add salt, sugar, chocolates, raisins, and artificial flavors.
- Benefits: Parsnips are a safe vegetable for dogs and contain antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. They are also low in carbohydrates.
- Things to keep in mind: Parsnips should only be given to dogs in small amounts. Also, do not feed this if your dogs have kidney disease or diabetes. Check with your vet once before treating your pooch with this.
- Benefits: Peaches are great nutritional treats for dogs of all sizes and ages. They contain many vitamins and minerals.
- Things to keep in mind: Peaches have higher sugar content, so giving them a lot of this fruit can potentially lead to issues like diabetes and obesity. They also contain pits, which are choking hazards and contain cyanide.
20. Peanut Butter
- Benefits: Peanut Butter is a favorite among many dogs, and for a reason. Rich in nutrients like protein and vitamins B and E, they are tasty and healthy, not to mention readily available in every household.
- Things to keep in mind: Peanut butter, while rich in nutrients, also has lots of sugar and natural fats. So, too much peanut butter can cause problems like obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Therefore, it is best to stick with homemade peanut butter or made-for-dogs peanut butter.
- Benefits: Persimmons can be a great occasional treat for your dogs. They are plentiful in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
- Things to keep in mind: The pits of persimmons can be a choking hazard and lead to indigestion. So, always make sure to remove the pit before treating your dog. Also, some dogs may be allergic to this fruit, and it would make sense to consult your vet before giving it.
- Benefits: Pistachios are not inherently bad for dogs and even contain a few nutrients like protein and unsaturated fats. A few pistachios should be fine at a time.
Things to keep in mind: Moderation is of the utmost importance while feeding your dogs pistachios. In addition to being choking hazards, pistachios are high in fat and calories. Excessive pistachio consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in dogs.
Another critical thing to pay attention to is the mold that grows on pistachios. If dogs eat this mold, it can cause aflatoxin poisoning, leading to loss of appetite, sluggishness, jaundice, etc.
23. Plain Yogurt
- Benefits: Yogurt contains calcium and protein, both beneficial to dogs’ digestive systems.
Things to keep in mind: Firstly, only plain yogurt should be given to dogs. Yogurt with added sweeteners is not suitable for dogs.
Secondly, yogurt contains lactose. Therefore, you should only give your dogs only a little yogurt at a time. You could even look for yogurt that has lower levels of lactose, like Greek-style yogurt.
- Benefits: Pork contains protein, like any other meat, and can be tasty food for your dogs if prepared properly.
Things to keep in mind: Make sure the pork you plan on giving your dogs is plain. Do not cook the pork with spices and seasonings like onion powder, garlic, and barbeque sauce.
Do not feed your dog raw pork and rib bones. Raw meat can cause salmonella, and rib bones can splinter and injure your dog.
25. Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
- Benefits: Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are popular vegetables among dogs. They contain starch and other nutrients and even make up a portion of commercially prepared dog foods.
Things to keep in mind: Do not let your dogs eat raw potatoes/sweet potatoes, as they can be toxic. While cooking these, always remove the skin — these can be difficult for your dog to digest.
Also, sweet potatoes should only be given to dogs after consulting with your vet as they contain sugar. They can be bad for dogs with diabetes.
- Benefits: Prawns are an amazingly nutritious food for your dog. These fish, also used as training treats, have protein, phosphorus, iodine, antioxidants, etc., and can help with your dog’s thyroid, skin, and joint health.
- Things to keep in mind: Do not give your dogs raw prawns — always de-shell and cook them properly before giving it to them. While cooking, do not add seasonings and butter.
- Benefits: Quinoa is safe for dogs as they are for humans. They are even used by many dog food manufacturers as a healthy alternative to wheat and soy.
- Things to keep in mind: Quinoa plants have saponin, a chemical it produces to protect itself from insects. This, in large amounts, could be toxic. So, wash the quinoa before cooking them for your dogs.
- Benefits: Shrimp has a lot of nutrients that dogs need, such as vitamins B12 and B3. They are also low in fat, carbohydrates, and calories.
- Things to keep in mind: Shrimp tend to be high in cholesterol. Therefore, moderation is essential while feeding your dogs this shellfish.
- Benefits: Apart from being filled with vitamins and antioxidants, Strawberries can even potentially help your dog’s aging process. They can also help canines’ immune and digestive systems and manage weight.
Things to keep in mind: You should feed your dogs only fresh strawberries. Cut the strawberries into slices so they do not become choking hazards.
Canned strawberries and syrup-form strawberries should not be a part of your dog’s diet.
- Benefits: Ripe tomatoes are non-toxic and, therefore, safe for dogs. They even make up certain percentages of various commercial dog foods. As for their benefits, tomatoes contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
- Things to keep in mind: Too much tomato can upset your dog’s stomach due to its acidity. Slice them into small pieces so they do not become choking hazards, and remove all the green, raw parts before giving them to your dogs.
- Benefits: Turkeys can be a great nutritional food for dogs as they contain protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Many dog food manufacturers use turkey in their formulas.
- Things to keep in mind: Dogs should only be given plain turkey. Turkeys prepared with seasonings, spices, and butter should not be given to them. Also, do not let your dogs eat the skin or bones.
- Benefits: Watermelons are great summer treats for dogs. They contain vitamins and potassium and keep your dog hydrated because of their high water content.
- Things to keep in mind: Watermelons might not be the best treat for dogs with diabetes. Also, as watermelon seeds contain cyanide, remove them beforehand.
33. White Rice
- Benefits: White rice is an easy-to-digest food that is rich in carbohydrates. They are used in commercial dog food manufacturing and are even recommended for dogs with gastrointestinal issues.
Things to keep in mind: White rice, if eaten regularly, can raise the blood sugar level. Too much white rice can even cause weight gain. So, moderation is key with these grains.
Also, brown rice is usually not recommended for dogs as they cannot digest it easily.
19 Things Bad for Dogs
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Alcohol is forbidden for dogs. If ingested, alcohol is quickly absorbed by the digestive tract. It affects the central nervous system, causing alcohol poisoning and organ failure.
- What to do if ingested: if your dog licks things like spilled liquor, liquid medications for humans, hand sanitizer, and nail polish remover, the first thing to do would be to call your vet. Keep an eye out for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation.
Harms/reasons not to eat: While good for humans, the farther dogs stay from almonds, the better.
Dogs do not digest these nuts easily. Paired with their high fat content, they can potentially be toxic to canines and even develop pancreatitis. Further, they can also be choking hazards.
- What to do if ingested: A small amount of almonds is not immediately harmful. But if your dog eats a lot of almonds at a time, or eats them often, watch out for signs of distress. Call your vet regardless to make sure your pooch is fine.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Even though not immediately toxic, Avocado pulp can be harmful to dogs. They have high levels of fat, which can potentially cause pancreatitis in dogs. They also have some vitamins and fatty acids beneficial to canines, but when you weigh the risks against the reward, the risks are too high. Also, avocados' pit, leaves, and bark are toxic and pose choking hazards. Best to avoid giving this fruit to your furry friends.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog eats avocado pulp in large amounts, ring your vet immediately and look for potential signs of gastrointestinal upset.
4. Bread and Bread Dough
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Bread and bread dough are best avoided for dogs. This is because bread, especially yeast-based bread dough, can cause digestive issues like bloating and bread dough toxicosis. Dogs that eat bread regularly have higher risks of developing diabetes and obesity.
- What to do if ingested: Even though a few slices of bread might not do much harm, you should still call your vet if your dogs eat yeast-based bread or bread dough. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for signs like bloating, disorientation, weakness, and seizures.
5. Caffeine, Coffee, and Tea
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Caffeine, primarily found in coffee and tea, is a big no-no to dogs. This is because dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans, and have adverse effects. As caffeine is a stimulant, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure, and hyperactivity. Further, it can also cause diarrhea and vomiting.
- What to do if ingested: While a dog licking a bit of spilled coffee might not be that harmful, a lot of caffeine ingestion can have adverse effects. Call your vet immediately to be on the safe side if you know your dog has eaten your coffee or tea.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Cashews are relatively safe for dogs but do more harm than good. As they are high in fat and protein, they pose increased risks of obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Furthermore, salted cashews are even worse, as excess salt can lead to vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and seizures. Cashews can also trigger allergic reactions in some dogs and are thus best avoided.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog eats a lot of or eats cashews often, consult your vet immediately.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Chocolate is another food to always avoid giving to your dogs. Chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine, both toxic to canines. Finally, chocolates have a lot of sugar which can result in obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog eats chocolate, regardless of the amount, contact your vet immediately. Chocolate poisoning is a real thing and should not be neglected. Monitor for symptoms such as vomiting, increased heart rate, and excessive urination.
Harms/reasons not to eat: While not toxic to dogs, cinnamon is best avoided for many reasons. Cinnamon can cause skin and digestive irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea if consumed in large quantities. In extreme cases, it can even lead to liver disease.
You should also avoid feeding your dogs baked goods that contain cinnamon, no matter how much your dogs love the taste.
- What to do if ingested: Call your vet immediately if your dog eats a significant amount of cinnamon powder.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Garlic is toxic to dogs because they contain thiosulfate. This causes anemia in dogs. Garlic can also result in gastric upsets, depression, and dehydration.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog starts showing problems like rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain after eating garlic, contact your vet immediately.
10. Ice Cream
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Though tempting, you should never share your ice cream with your dogs because they, too, can be lactose intolerant. Ice cream can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and gas. Ice cream also contains added sugar and flavorings.
A chihuahua licking ice cream
- What to do if ingested: If your dog starts showing the symptoms mentioned above after eating ice cream, get them to a vet as soon as possible.
11. Macadamia Nuts
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Macadamia nuts are one of the top human foods to avoid giving to your dogs. Even a small amount of macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs — they can cause vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, fever, and depression.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog accidentally eats macadamia nuts directly or through baked goods, you should contact your vet immediately.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: While tasty, nutmeg is toxic to dogs because it contains a compound called Myristicin. It can cause hallucinations, disorientation, high blood pressure, and even seizures if ingested in huge amounts.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog eats a lot of nutmeg, or even a small amount, look for the symptoms above and contact your vet immediately.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Onions are harmful to dogs, whether cooked, raw, or powder-form. Every part of an onion plant is toxic to canines. It has similar effects on dogs as garlic — it can cause anemia.
- What to do if ingested: If your dogs eat onions and start showing symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, and decreased appetite, set up a visit to the vet as quickly as possible.
Harms/reasons not to eat: Like a few other items on this list, eating plums has more risks than benefits for dogs. Firstly, if swallowed, the pit can cause windpipe blockage and intestinal obstructions. Secondly, if they get crushed inside the dog's body, it releases cyanide, which can lead to poisoning.
Plums also contain high sugar levels, which is not nice for dogs.
- What to do if ingested: If your dogs eat a lot of plums, or swallow a pit, watch out for signs of distress and call your vet immediately.
15. Raisins and Grapes
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Dogs should never eat grapes or raisins (which are just dried grapes) because they are highly toxic. Even a single grape can be fatal to your dogs, potentially leading to liver failure.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog eats even one grape, contact your vet immediately. Keep an eye out for symptoms of toxic ingestion, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and increased thirst and urination.
16. Raw Eggs
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Things are a bit complicated with eggs. While dogs can eat plain cooked or boiled eggs, they should never eat raw eggs. It can potentially cause salmonella and biotin deficiency.
- What to do if ingested: Do not immediately panic if your dog eats raw eggs. However, keep an eye out for issues like diarrhea and vomiting, and contact your vet if they show up.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: Even though tobacco is not technically food, it is still worth mentioning here as a thing dogs should never eat. Tobacco leaves and second and third-hand smoke can be dangerous to dogs.
- What to do if ingested: Nicotine is a poison. Call your vet immediately if your dog inhales or ingests tobacco.
- Harms/reasons not to eat: You should never feed your dogs tuna. This is because they contain higher levels of mercury, and eating too much tuna could potentially lead to mercury poisoning and even death.
- What to do if ingested: Even though not inherently toxic in small amounts, you should still call your vet if your dog eats tuna. Keep an eye out for mercury poisoning symptoms such as hair loss, anxiety, vomiting blood, and tremors.
19. Xylitol/Artificial Sweeteners
Harms/reasons not to eat: Xylitol, or birch sugar, is an artificial food sweetener often used to replace sugar in sugar-free foods, chewing gums, baked goods, and medications for humans. They are very toxic, even potentially lethal, to dogs.
This substance triggers a significant release of insulin in dogs resulting in a steep drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). It can even cause liver damage and failure.
- What to do if ingested: If your dog ingests xylitol, call your vet immediately and watch out for symptoms of xylitol poisoning, such as vomiting, loss of balance and coordination, seizures, and unconsciousness.
We hope you are now better informed about things dogs can and can’t eat. If you found this article helpful, share it to spread awareness among fellow dog parents.
While you are here, learn more about how dog chews might help with your dog’s anxiety or go through a comprehensive dog parenting guide for beginners and experienced dog owners