Dr Tracy Douglas
Your guide to this article today is by veterinarian Dr Tracy Douglas Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 10:48 am

Not only do we share our lives and homes with our dogs, we can often be tempted to share our food too.  But canines and humans are very different and not all our food is good for your pup to eat. So, if your dog is more interested in what’s on your plate than their own food bowl, read on.

When considering your pooch’s diet, you need to ensure it is balanced, nutritious and appropriate to keep them healthy and happy, including the odd snack or treat. And some food that we pet parents like can also be safely shared with your pet. We take a look at the food you are likely to have in your kitchen and ask – which are nutritious for dogs to eat, and which should be avoided?

Apples in a Basket outdoor.

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Just as an apple a day can keep the human doctor away, so these crunchy sweet treats are not only safe for your dog but full of nutrients that are good for their health. Very low in fat, and a good source of vitamin C and A as well as fiber and water, apples can be a refreshing dog treat. However, when giving your pooch an apple, it is essential that it’s the flesh only as the core and seeds can be potentially dangerous for canines. Apple seeds contain a cyanide compound which if eaten regularly or in quantity can build up to become poisonous for dogs. And moderation is always key too, as too much apple all at once can upset their tummy.

Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

The ultimate on-the-go snack for humans, bananas are also one of the safest fruits for dogs. Bananas have nothing in them that can be toxic for dogs and with the skin removed, they are easy to eat and digest. But as with all non-dog food, when it comes to bananas, you don’t want to give them too much, too often. While bananas contain potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, they also contain sugar, which if eaten in quantity is not that great for your pet. But you do get a decent amount of fiber, which is good for a healthy digestive system. So, if you do want to give a banana to your dog, keep it to a small infrequent treat, and always remove the peel, as this is tough for your pooch to stomach.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

The straight-up answer is a resounding no. Chocolate may be your favorite sweet treat, but your dog should never be given a piece. The reason chocolate is a no-go is that the cocoa it contains has theobromine which is toxic for dogs. Unlike humans, who can easily metabolize theobromine, the canine system will seriously struggle, meaning the toxin can build up in their body to dangerous levels. The resulting symptoms range from an upset stomach to seizures, tremors, irregular heart function and even death. Dark chocolate is the worst offender, but milk or white chocolate can also have serious repercussions for your dog if eaten in sufficient quantities. And aside from the toxins, chocolate contains no real nutritional value for your pet meaning it’s one human food you should never give to your pooch.

Fresh eggs in hay

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

Yes, dogs can eat eggs but with one main caveat – they should always be cooked and offered never raw. Eggs are an excellent source of protein as well as riboflavin and selenium for energy release and heart health, plus a host of other vitamins and minerals. And while eggs do contain cholesterol, there should be no need to worry as the impact on your dog will be minimal, although by association eggs are quite high in calories so you shouldn’t feed them too much. The only way to give your dog eggs is cooked, as raw eggs can lead to salmonella or E.Coli food poisoning. Boiled and chopped, scrambled, even a dog-friendly omelet, adding the odd egg to their dog food bowl is not going to harm your dog and can even gently settle an upset tummy.

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Grapes are another definite no-go for your dog as they are toxic for canines, and this goes for raisins too. While the exact toxin is not known, what is clear is that grapes are poisonous for dogs and cause a reaction in their body which can potentially lead to acute kidney failure and even death. The exact number of grapes that cause a toxic reaction is unknown too, and it can vary from individual to individual – while just one grape could be fatal for one dog, it may be a handful or more that affects another. This means you never want to risk finding out, so grapes are definitely off the treat list. Typical symptoms of grape poisoning include lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, panting and excessive thirst and they can all come on very quickly. If you suspect your pooch has eaten grapes or raisins, get them checked out pronto.

Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

Although some nuts are not safe for dogs, peanuts are not one of them. They actually contain good fats as well as protein, vitamin B6, vitamin E and magnesium which can be beneficial for your pet. But it’s how you give peanuts to your dog that counts as plain and simple is the only way to go. Salted peanuts or peanuts that are contained in chocolate, cakes or biscuits are out of bounds as they can all have serious health implications for your dog. And even with unsalted and unprocessed shelled peanuts, you need to keep them to a now and again treat as they contain lots of fat that can lead to weight gain. The fat in peanuts can also cause digestive problems if eaten in quantity, including diarrhea and vomiting. And if you do give them peanut butter, check the label for sugar substitute Xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.

Pineapple

Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?

There’s nothing in this tropical fruit that is toxic for your dog and although pineapple does have high sugar levels, it’s generally considered safe as an occasional treat. But it must be raw, only the flesh (without the woody core) and none of the tough rind. Canned pineapple chunks may be a convenient store cupboard staple, but the fruit is packed in syrup which is going to give far too much sugar to your dog. And excessive sugar could lead to a host of health issues, including diabetes, tooth decay, digestive issues and obesity. Eaten in moderation, raw pineapple has enough vitamin C, iron, B vitamins and potassium to make it a nutritional canine snack.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Dogs can safely eat the orange flesh of pumpkin, as long as it’s thoroughly cooked and contains no skin or seeds. And it needs to be dirt-free, so letting your pooch feast on your used Halloween Jack-o-Lantern is not a good idea. Pumpkin has some nutritional benefits for canines, not least as a source of fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. You also get vitamins A, C and E as well as calcium for bones, iron for energy and lutein for healthy skin and coat. Canned pumpkin is a good way to give the vegetable to your pet, as long as it is unsweetened and not the whole can; a spoonful or two as a treat will be enough. And never give your pet spiced pumpkin or pumpkin puree with added ingredients such as salt that can be bad for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Low calorie and with a decent hit of vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber, strawberries are a tasty titbit for your dog, as long as you give them in moderation. Strawberries are one of a limited number of fruits that are safe for your dog, but you do need to be careful how many you give and how you serve them. Small slices of strawberries should only be given to your dog washed and raw, and never the canned variety as these come packed in sugary syrup which is not good for your pup. Raw strawberries are still high in natural sugar which means they can’t be a regular treat, but they are a nice reward, especially on a hot day. Plus, the berries contain an enzyme that can help to remove nasty stains from your doggo’s teeth.

Roasted turkey on holiday table

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

As long as it is plain, fresh and cooked simply, turkey is an excellent snack for your dog. Turkey is often added to dog food, both wet and dry, as it’s a healthy and lean protein. It also contains additional nutrients that can be beneficial to your dog, including riboflavin and phosphorous, plus it is low fat as long as you take the skin off. But there are some safety rules to feeding turkey to your dog. No bones, as these can splinter easily and are also a choking hazard, and the meat should not be fried as this will add unwanted fat, which means extra calories for your dog. Be aware of how the turkey is cooked too – plain is essential, so no or minimal amount of salt, no added seasonings, excess butter and definitely not cooked with onion or garlic, which are both toxic for dogs. That also means no added stuffing so be extra vigilant if you are sharing your Thanksgiving meal leftovers with your pet.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

With its high water content, watermelon is a hydrating snack for both you and your doggo, but there are a few precautions you need to take to keep your pet safe. The rind is tough to eat and can cause digestive issues, while eating too many of the seeds can irritate their gut. The best way to give your dog watermelon is in small chunks of that delicious flesh, but don’t give it to them too often. But on a hot day, watermelon can be a good way to keep their hydration levels up and, if the flesh chunks are chilled or frozen, their temperature down. Plus, watermelon has some nutritional benefits too, including fiber as well as vitamins A, B6 and C and potassium. If your pooch is new to the melon, test them out with a chunk or two first to ensure it doesn’t upset their tum.

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

Many dogs can be lactose intolerant and so milk and dairy aren’t always that good for them. But yogurt bucks the trend thanks to the active bacteria that make the cool, creamy stuff easier for your pet to digest. So, if your pupper has a taste for yogurt, it’s ok to give it to them as a treat, as long as it is in moderation. Yogurt also contains calcium and protein which can benefit your dog’s health and can soothe their tum, thanks to the probiotics it contains. But the only way to give your dog yogurt is totally plain and natural as any added ingredients such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, fruit, nuts or chocolate will put the dessert firmly in the canine no-go zone.  A few serving suggestions include a spoonful on their main meal or on its own, or you could make frozen yogurt ice cubes to treat your pooch on a hot day.

Fresh celery rootCan Dogs Eat Celery?

Although considered a safe food for dogs, the curious fact about celery is that it can cause your pet to pee more than usual if they eat too much. The reason is its high-water content, which also means the green celery stalks are very low in calories. As well as being low fat, celery is packed with fiber, plus vitamins A, C and bone-boosting vitamin K, which can all be beneficial for your pooch. But you should only ever give your dog the stalk cut into bite-sized chunks, and not the celery leaves, as these could be contaminated by pesticides. Just as with other vegetables, too much celery can upset your dog’s tum so if you want to give it to your pup, then just a handful as a treat should go down well. And it may even help to freshen that dog breath too!

Can Dogs Eat Sardines?

Sardines can pack a big nutritional punch for your dog, thanks to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 which are both great for their heart, immune system and all-round health. And, as sardines are small, they won’t contain as much mercury as larger fish such as tuna, so they’re safer for your dog to eat. But for optimal benefits, always give your dog plain sardines that are wild-caught. Canned is fine but do make sure they are packed in spring water, and not brine, oil or sauces. The main downside is the caloric content of sardines which can be high for some dogs, so this means no more than half a sardine at a day, cut into small pieces and used as a treat to add some fishy flavor to their meal.

Can Dogs Eat Bacon?

High in fat and salt, bacon is not the best food for your dog, especially if their weight or health is an issue. But with that delicious smell as it cooks, bacon is bound to attract any dog’s attention! Yes, it is a form of protein but beyond this, there’s very little that is good about bacon for your dog. Whether it’s smoked or unsmoked, the fat content in bacon can upset your pet’s digestion, especially if they’re more sensitive. And feeding your pooch too many fatty treats can significantly up their risk of developing pancreatitis, which is a painful condition that can be very serious for your pet. The salt content is also a health risk, especially for older dogs by putting their cardiovascular system under increased pressure. So, while the smell of bacon may get those canine taste-buds going, avoid offering too much bacon too often – only a tiny bit on certain occasions is safe.

Healthy Homemade Oatmeal

Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal?

The soluble fiber content of oatmeal makes it a beneficial addition to your dog’s diet, especially if they are more senior or have trouble going for a poop. It is also a good alternative grain if your pooch is allergic to wheat. Oatmeal contains vitamin B and linoleic acid, which are both fantastic skin and coat boosters. But before you reach for the kitchen cupboard, you need to ensure it’s the right type for your pet. Oatmeal should only be given to your dog plain and cooked in water, so no added dairy, sugar, flavoring or ingredients such as raisins, which are bad for your dog. Only ever use oatmeal as a supplement or meal topper, never as a replacement for their usual dog food.  And portion control is needed as too much oatmeal can actually irritate your dog’s gut, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Can Dogs Eat Onion?

Onions are up at the top of the no-go list for your dog as they contain a substance called N-propyl disulfide, which can be toxic. As your dog’s body doesn’t have the enzyme needed to neutralize this compound, they are at risk of a condition called Heinz Body Anemia if they eat onion – raw, cooked or powdered. Other dangerous side-effects of eating onion include liver damage, allergic reactions, respiratory problems, diarrhea and vomiting. Not pleasant – for you or your pooch! To keep your pup safe, keep them away from onions in all forms, including food such as pizzas which have onion toppings. And other members of the onion family such as garlic, leeks and chives should be on the banned list too. If you suspect your dog has eaten something containing onion, book a visit to the vet for a full checkup.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

A member of the nightshade family, the stalks and leaves of the tomato plant contain a substance called solanine which can be harmful to dogs if eaten in large quantities. However, the juicy fruit of the plant is safe for your dog as long as they are fully ripe and not green when eaten. Red tomatoes are also rich in nutrients that can be beneficial for your pet, including heart-boosting lycopene, beta-carotene for brain function and vitamin A for healthy eyesight. But as with most human foods, when it comes to tomatoes, moderation is key. Also, only use the fresh vegetable, not tomatoes in shop-bought cans, soups or sauces. If your pooch has a taste for tomatoes, keep them away from your vegetable plot and only give them bite-sized chunks of ripe, stalk free tomatoes as a treat.

Cheese board

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

As long as your dog is not dairy or lactose-intolerant, small quantities of cheese can be used as a training aid or tasty treat. But you do need to be careful what type of cheese you give them. Straightforward cheeses such as cheddar or Swiss contain lower levels of lactose so should be gentler on your dog’s tum. However, creamy rich cheeses such as mozzarella can cause them some stomach upset, while blue cheeses are to be avoided. And never give your pooch cheeses with added ingredients such as dried fruit, garlic, spices or onions as these can be toxic for your pet. Cheese does contain some dog-friendly nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins, but it also has high-fat content so avoid feeding it if obesity is an issue. The rule of thumb when it comes to cheese is: plain, little and not too often. Also, stop offering cheese if your dog shows any signs of a reaction.

Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Yes, dogs can eat carrots. In fact, not only is this vegetable safe, but it can also be a healthy, low-calorie snack for your pup. You get vitamin A, potassium and fiber for starters, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. The important consideration when giving a carrot to your pet is that it needs to be in bite-sized chunks that won’t be a choking risk (which can be a real concern if swallowed whole). Cooked carrots – steamed or microwaved so they retain as much of their goodness – are easiest for older dogs to eat, while raw carrots can be a good teether for younger dogs. Carrots are a good regular treat, but it’s worth chatting with your vet so you can give the right amount for your individual dog. And always make sure they are washed thoroughly first so that they are pesticide-free.

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

Cooked or raw, broccoli is pretty nutritious for your dog to eat, thanks to the high levels of fiber and vitamin C. Although vegetables shouldn’t form a central part of your dog’s diet, introducing fresh veggies such as broccoli can help boost their dietary intake of vitamins and minerals. Plus, broccoli is low fat. However, there is one fly in the ointment when it comes to giving broccoli to your dog, and that’s a compound found in the florets, called isothiocyanate. If eaten in larger quantities this compound can cause digestive irritation in dogs that can be mild to severe, depending on the amount eaten. As long as broccoli is given to your dog in small quantities and not daily, then they can benefit from its goodness, without leaving them bloated and with unpleasant gas.

Cucumbers

Can Dogs Eat Cucumber?

Crunchy and refreshing, cucumbers are perfectly safe for your dog to eat. These low-calorie veggies contain quite a few vitamins and minerals that are good for your pup, including vitamins K and C, as well as magnesium and potassium. But as with everything, caution must be exercised when offering cucumbers to your dog. Since they’re so tasty and refreshing, many pooches will eat them in large quantities if given a chance, however, this is not recommended because eating too much in one sitting can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Another thing to be mindful of is the size of the cucumbers you offer– it’s important to cut the veggie into smaller pieces so your pup doesn’t choke on the whole thing. This is especially important for smaller breed dogs. Do note that although plain, fresh cucumbers are great as an occasional treat, the pickled varieties are not. They’re far too salty to be healthy for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Plum?

While nutritious and juicy, plums are not the healthiest treat you can give to your dog. Yes, plums contain quite a bit of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, including vitamins C, A and K, potassium and manganese, however, they’re also high in sugar. Too much sugar is never a good thing in a dog’s world, so if you’re going to share your fruity snack with your pup, only ever give them small slices of the flesh. Be careful not to offer the whole plum as it contains the pit which can be a choking hazard and wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system. Not to mention, the plum pits contain cyanide, so if your pup manages to crush one, there is also the risk of poisoning. Overall, this is not the best snack for dogs and we recommend you find something more canine-appropriate to treat your pup.

Can Dogs Eat Beets?

Beets are packed with nutrients and can be a healthy snack for your dog – if offered in moderation. Like all human foods, if eaten in large quantities and too often, beets can lead to stomach upset in your dog, which is obviously something you want to avoid. That said, the red veggie is rich in various minerals, vitamins and beneficial plant compounds which can have a positive impact on your pup’s health. For example, they contain betalains, plant pigments that posses pretty powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so they can help boost your pupper’s immune system. However, they also contain oxalates which can be problematic for dogs with kidney and bladder issues. So, the verdict? Beets are safe for most healthy dogs in very small amounts, but are not recommended for canines predisposed to kidney and bladder stones.

Top view of tasty and organic corn on wooden plate

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Found in many dog foods, corn is safe and even healthy for your pet if eaten in moderate amounts. Corn contains quite a bit of dietary fiber which can help with your pup’s digestion, and it’s also moderately rich in protein which is great news for their muscles. However, sweet corn also contains some sugar, so do be mindful of how much you’re serving as too much sugar in your pet’s diet can lead to a host of issues, including obesity and diabetes. Also, never give your dog the entire corn on the cob as this is too hard for them to digest and may even cause intestinal obstruction. To be on the safe side, only offer a tablespoon or two of plain cooked corn every few days.

Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

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