If you’re wondering what foods dogs can and cannot eat, it’s not as simple as reaching into the fridge for some human-grade food. Even fruits and veggies that are considered healthy for humans can be dangerous to our furry friends, so read on to find out what you can give them and what you should safely stash out of your pup’s reach.
Dr. Taryn Waugh, a veterinarian at Thornhill, Ont.-based Smith Veterinary Hospital, shared which five common human foods dogs can eat and which five they should absolutely avoid at all costs.
However, she points that quantity also matters: “As with any treat, [the following] are best to be given in moderation. Anything fed in large quantities has the potential to cause mild tummy upset and/or diarrhea.”
You should also consider the right amount of food in terms of your dog’s size. Smaller tummies need proportionally less than larger pups.
Foods that dogs can eat: pumpkin/squash
These seasonal gourds are not only versatile, full of nutrients and delicious to humans, they’re also a great option for our best furr-ends, making Dr. Waugh’s safe list. Pumpkin and squash are high in fibre, low in calories and full of carotene, potassium and iron and vitamins A, E and C. However, be mindful of how much you give them, as too much good stuff can overwhelm your dog’s tummy and even impact how much protein they can absorb, throwing off the balance of their diet (think: teaspoon or two for a small dog and up to two tablespoons for larger breeds).
Additionally, don’t feed your dog raw pumpkin and squash (and definitely skip that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, which includes dog-dangerous ingredients), but instead opt for a steamed option. Otherwise, according to the American Kennel Club, pumpkin is a great option for your dog when they’re experiencing mild stomach upset.
Foods that dogs can eat: apples
Apples provide a satisfying crunch to your canine comrade, especially when they’re teething. But the fruit is also packed full of nutrients your dog can benefit from (in moderation). The American Kennel Club notes that apples are full of vitamins C and A, as well as potassium and antioxidants, and the fruit also gets a green light from Dr. Waugh. They are a great low-calorie snack and the peel is full of fibre, which plays a role in healthy weight maintenance. Cut away the seeds and core, and slice it up to pup-sized bites.
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Foods that dogs can eat: peas
While peas are on the safe list of foods to feed your dog for Dr. Waugh, the American Kennel Club also cautions that which part of the pea you give also matters. You have to shell them and don’t give canned peas because they contain other ingredients and are high in added sodium, like other canned veggies. Instead, opt for fresh, frozen, thawed, steamed or lightly cooked. They are a great source of vitamins A, K and B, and are packed with minerals and protein.
Foods that dogs can eat: carrots
This crunchy snack is a great low-calorie affordable option that can replace high-fat, processed treats (and another great option for teething pups). It is also one of those human foods that happen to be safe for dogs to consume. Dr. Waugh puts them on her go-to safe list and the American Kennel Club notes carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, fiber and many other vitamins. Cut the veggie to small bits to avoid any choking hazards.
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Foods that dogs can eat: bananas
Bananas are not only a good for your pup if they’ve experienced a bout of mild upset stomach or diarrhea, they are a safe treat many dogs also enjoy. Dr. Waugh says this fruit is a good option for your dog, and the American Kennel Club lists the following nutrients as being beneficial too: potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
Foods that dogs should not eat: chocolate
While chocolate can be great for humans to enjoy, this isn’t the case for dogs. “Chocolate (especially dark chocolate) contains both caffeine and theobromine which can cause mild symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. In more severe cases, it can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and potentially death,” Dr. Waugh says. So stash this treat far away, especially during the holidays.
Foods that dogs should not eat: grapes/raisins
Dr. Waugh warns against giving your dog both grapes and their dehydrated counterparts, raisins. “These have the potential to cause kidney failure if ingested,” she explains. While it may sound like a good idea, this is one fruit you definitely want to avoid when it comes to pawsome pal.
Foods that dogs should not eat: xylitol and artificial sweeteners
While seasonings can also be bad for pets, it’s the artificial sweeteners you really have to look out for on the ingredients list, providing one more reason you should keep away from foods intended for humans. “These can be found in gum, candy and sometimes sweetened peanut butter products,” she notes. “They are dangerous as they can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver damage and issues with blood clotting.”
Foods that dogs should not eat: garlic and onions
While garlic and onions not only flavour human food, and are considered healthy for us, this isn’t the case for dogs. Dr. Waugh warns, “These can damage the red blood cells and cause anemia, which can be life-threatening.” So skip this bulbous veggie in favour of one of the other items on this list.
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Foods that dogs should not eat: stone fruits
Some foods are dangerous for the obstruction hazards they present, not just the substances they contain. As Dr. Waugh points out, “Things such as peaches, plums, apricots that have a large pit [are problematic]. Ingestion of the pit can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, which may require surgery to correct.” So, if you’re enjoying stone fruits, just be sure to safely discard of the pit in a compost bin that’s out of the way or firmly closed.
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