If you’ve got a dog at home who begs for treats, you may be wondering to yourself: «Can I give him this or that? ». Before sharing your snack with your dog, you must know what foods you can give him safely and what you should avoid at all costs! Some of the foods people eat can be introduced to a dog’s diet just fine, and even provide health benefits such as joint strength, better breath, and allergy immunity. However, many of the foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that humans digest just fine, can cause severe health problems on a dog’s body.
First, here is the list of food you can give to your dog that can provide them with some health benefits.
- Broccoli - High in vitamins and good for your dog’s coat.
- Pumpkin - Good source of fiber and vitamin A and can help digestion.
- Peanut butter (raw, unsalted) - Good source of protein, vitamin E, vitamin B and good fats.
- Oatmeal (cooked) - Good source of fiber.
- Apples - High in fiber and antioxidants and helps clean your dog’s teeth.
- Sweet Potato - Can provide dog a range of health benefits because they’re high in dietary fiber, low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are rich in the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A in your dog’s body, an essential element for your dog’s vision, growth, and muscle strength.
- Eggs (Cooked) - good source of protein, easily digestible riboflavin and selenium.
- Cashews (only a few at a time) - They’ve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but contains fats.
- Coconut (fruit, milk or oil) – This fruit can provide a lot of health benefits to your dog: strengthening the immune system by fighting off viruses, helping bad breath and clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin.
- Salmon (fully cooked) - Excellent source of protein, good fats, and amino acids. It promotes joint and brain health and gives a boost to your dog’s immune system. Salmon also Keeps your dog’s coat shiny.
- Honey – Contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. Feeding dogs small amounts of honey can help with allergies because it introduces small amounts of pollen to their systems, building up immunity to allergens in your area.
- Turkey (white meat, with excess fat and skin removed, no bones) - It’s a great source of protein and nutrients, and dogs love it!
- Peanuts (unsalted) - Contains good fats and proteins that can benefit your dog. Just be sure to give peanuts in moderation, as you don’t want your dog taking in too much fat.
- Popcorn (Unsalted, unbuttered) - Good source of riboflavin and thiamine, both of which promote eye health and digestion, as well as small amounts of iron and protein. Beware of unpopped kernels that could become a choking hazard for your dog.
- Tuna (cooked, fresh) - Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart and eye health. As for canned tuna, it contains small amounts of mercury and sodium, which should be avoided in excess.
- Pork - highly digestible protein with amino acids.
- Shrimps (fully cooked, no shell) - High in antioxidants, vitamin B-12, and phosphorus, but also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.
- Pineapple (Small quantities) – Contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that play an important role in your dog’s immune system and digestive health.
- Sardines - Contains good fats and amino acids, giving your dog a nice health boost. They are a good choice because they have soft, digestible bones for extra calcium.
- Wheat/grains- grains like wheat and corn are great sources of protein, essential fatty acids, and fiber.
- Green beans (canned with no salt added) – Good for weight-management programs.
- Melons – Watermelon (Important to remove seeds!), cantaloupe and honeydew are all healthy options for your dog. They are low in calories and packed with nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium.
- Berries (Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) – They are good for your dog for the same reason they're good for humans: free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
- Carrots – Good for your dog’s teeth.
Second, here is the list of foods your dog can eat occasionally without any consequences nor any health benefits.
- Bread - Dogs can eat small amounts of plain bread.
- Corn - One of the most common ingredients in most dog foods.
- Ham – It isn’t the healthiest choice for dogs. Ham is high in sodium and fat. It is ok to give some ham as a treat in small portion and not too often.
- Milk, Ice Cream, Yogourt and cheese – You can give small amounts to your dog as a treat but beware because dogs don’t digest dairy very well, and many even have a slight intolerance to lactose, a sugar found in milk products.
Now, here are the foods you should never give to your dog.
- Chocolate - Contains very toxic substances called methylxanthines, which are stimulants that stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death.
- Grapes & raisins - These tiny fruits can cause serious complications in dogs, including acute kidney failure and death. Dogs should not eat grapes and raisins; even small amounts are fatally toxic.
- Onions, leeks & chives - Part of the Allium family and they are toxic for dogs.
- Avocado - Although the flesh of an avocado is okay for a dog to eat, he or she should never be given the pit that is the most dangerous part since it can cause gastric or intestinal blockage. Another potential problem that can be associated with giving your dog avocado has to do with the amount of fat in them. Also, there is a toxin in avocados that could potentially cause gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting.
- Beer & other alcohols - Potentially toxic ingredients, physical intolerance and risk of alcohol poisoning, also called ethanol toxicosis.
- Almonds - They can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed completely.
- Garlic - Like onions, leeks, and chives, garlic is part of the Allium family, and it is five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapsing.
- Macadamia nuts - These are some of the most poisonous foods for dogs. Macadamia nuts, part of the Protaceae family, can cause vomiting, increased body temperature, inability to walk, and lethargy. In some cases, they can affect the nervous system.
- High quantity of salt - Dogs naturally need sodium as part of an electrolyte balance, so small amounts of salt aren’t bad for your dog. In excess, however, it can lead to serious health complications and even death.
- Xylitol - Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. It can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure.
- Caffeine - Dogs that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate and become hyperactive. Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias, which can be dangerous.
- Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums - Seeds from persimmons and pit from a peach or plum can cause problems in a dog's small intestine. They can also block his intestines. Peach and plum pits also have cyanide, which is poisonous to people and dogs. People know not to eat them. Dogs don't.
- Yeast Dough - As it swells inside, the dough can stretch your dog’s abdomen and cause a lot of pain. Also, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.
No matter how careful you are, your dog might find and swallow something he shouldn't. Keep the number of your local vet and the closest emergency clinic. And, if you think your dog has eaten something toxic, call for emergency help right away.
This article provides useful information, but the lists are not necessary complete; there might be plenty of human foods we didn’t discuss that can be good or bad for your dog. Before introducing a new food to your dog, always make sure to check if there is any potential danger for him or her. Also, it is always a good idea to discuss with your vet on what food you can feed your dog with. Depending on health problems, age, weight, allergies, etc., your dog might need a special diet and to exclude or include some of the foods of the list above to his alimentation.