Human foods dogs can and can‘t eat
Written by: Dr. Sarah SimsIt is hard to imagine a time when feeding table scraps was not only acceptable but the only option for providing nutrition to dogs. While the first dog food was invented in the mid-1800s, it did not become mainstream until the end of WWII. The question whether a dog can or can not have human foods simply wasn’t asked before.
The rise in pet obesity is to blame for the taboo of feeding dogs people food. Most of the food we eat is much more calorically dense than kibble, so it does not take a lot to push the scale in the wrong direction. Furthermore, as veterinary toxicology evolved, we learned more about the human foods that are dangerous for dogs, even in small amounts.
Taboos aside, we all slip up and accidentally drop food or give into our dogs’ masterfully adorable begging expressions from time to time. Sometimes you may even be given instructions to use certain people foods as treats by your veterinarian or trainer. Therefore it is important to know what human foods are poisonous to your dog, and which ones are fairly safe if fed in moderation.
General information about dogs and human foods
- All fruits and veggies can cause gastrointestinal upset in high amounts due to a higher fiber content than most dogs are used to, and phytochemicals.
- Never give your dog undercooked meat, fish, or eggs unless advised by a veterinarian. There can be bacteria and parasites in these foods that can make your dog, or you sick when you interact with your dog.
- It is never safe to feed your dog the leaves, seeds, pits, or rinds of fruits or vegetables, as these can become lodged in the intestines, and are also where the highest concentration of toxic phytochemicals are located.
- Dogs who have a history of urinary crystals or stones should not be given any type of human food, as many are known to exacerbate urinary stone formation.
- To maintain a balanced diet, your dog should eat no more than 10% of daily calories in the form of treats or human foods.
Human Foods Dogs Can’t Eat
The following is a list of foods that are considered toxic to dogs. Toxicities from human foods can cause anything from a little bit of diarrhea to death. I have broken them into 2 groups:
#1 Get a hold of your veterinarian right away.
Your vet will calculate whether or not your dog consumed a toxic dose, which may require an emergency visit:
- Sugar-Free Gum
- Grapes or Raisins
- Bread dough
- The pit, rind, or seeds of any fruit or vegetable
#2 Monitor for vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and hyperactivity.
These foods can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, which can lead to serious dehydration:
- Ice Cream
- All nuts and legumes
- Avocados (They are NOT as toxic to dogs as you might have heard!)
Human foods dogs can eat
The following is a list of foods that are considered between okay and healthy to dogs. I have broken them down also into 2 groups:
#1 Human foods dogs can eat in extreme moderation
These foods can also cause gastrointestinal upset when given in large amounts, but you may use them as small treats if advised by your veterinarian or trainer.
#2 Human foods dogs can eat in moderation
These foods are the least likely to cause gastrointestinal upset, and can even make healthy treats, but should still be given in moderation.
- Peanut Butter
- Fish and shrimp
- Popcorn (plain)
- Pumpkin puree
We hope this info is useful to keep your dog healthy!
Feel free to print out our letter size infographic or ask your vet for our advanced vet version to hang it on your refrigerator as a guide. When in doubt about a certain food, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison hotline at (888) 426-4435 for advice.
Did we miss your dogs favorite or any other “important” food? Please let us know in the comments! We would love to grow the list with your help!