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What Human Foods Can Your Dog Eat?

Did your dog just eat something off the floor? Or perhaps you want to share your snack with Fido on the go. Dr. Hannah Godfrey shares a list of which human foods are safe to feed your dog and details about their health benefits.

Dr. Hannah Godfrey

Last Updated: March 4, 2022 | 5 min read

Brown labrador eat a carrot

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not serve as a substitute for a discussion with a trained professional. If your dog ate an unsafe food item and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

As a pet parent, when you’re considering offering tidbits of human food to your furry friend, it can feel like a minefield. After all, there are so many foods that are toxic to dogs.

From onions and garlic to chocolate and raisins, there are a lot of risks when sharing food with your dog. But what about the foods that are safe for him to enjoy? What human foods can your dog eat?

Even though some human foods are safe, it’s still important to remember that dogs’ tummies can be pretty sensitive to anything new in their diet. So, if you decide to offer your pup a tasty treat, make sure you start with a tiny amount to ensure it will not cause any problems. A sudden large meal of something they haven’t eaten before could cause vomiting or diarrhea, so a gradual approach is best.

Which Human Foods Are Safe For Dogs?

Just because food is safe for your dog doesn’t mean they should have it at every meal. A diet consisting mainly of nutritionally complete dog food is the best way to keep your furry family member in good health. Therefore, moderation is key, and human food should only be offered as an occasional treat. So, which human foods should you reach for if it’s treat-time for your pooch? Here are a few options of human foods your dog can eat:

Apples

Dog eating Turkey Leg off a plate with apples
Dogs shouldn’t indulge in apples too often because they are high in sugar.

As long as you remove the core and seeds, apples are safe for your dog to eat. Apples contain high levels of Vitamins A and C, and just like many other fruits and vegetables, they are a good source of fiber. This makes them a good option for a healthy snack for your four-legged friend.

Bread

Big Dog and Bread
Unlike some of the safe foods on this list, bread has no nutritional value to your dog.

While bread is safe and won’t harm your dog, it won’t benefit them either. Because bread is a carbohydrate, it is full of sugars. So, if your dog has too much bread and doesn’t get plenty of exercise, they’re likely to start piling on the pounds.

Carrots

Pomeranian Dog Chews on Orange Vegetable
Carrots have many nutrients that are beneficial to dogs.

They might not give your dog better night vision, but carrots are a great source of beta-carotene as well as fiber. Once eaten and absorbed, beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A, an essential vitamin. Not only are carrots low in calories, but raw carrots are great at keeping your dog’s teeth healthy too.

Cheese

Dog Sitting in Booth Looking at Snack
There are plenty of nutritional benefits offered by cheese but it’s also high in fat.

Now, the only reason why cheese makes the safe list is that, in very small amounts, it can be tolerated by most dogs. However, cheese is really high in fat, which means there is a risk of obesity and pancreatitis by feeding it to your dog. Pancreatitis is a painful condition where the pancreas gland becomes inflamed. It’s sometimes associated with fatty foods, so anything more than the occasional cube of cheese is a no-no! Aside from the high-fat content, all dogs are lactose intolerant, so any dairy products can cause gut problems.

Chicken

Dog Eating Chicken
Chicken is lean, so it’s one of the best meat options for your dog.

Chicken is a healthy source of protein, which is vital for your dog’s body to use for growth and repair. You should only ever offer your pooch unseasoned chicken and choose grilled or boiled rather than fried. It’s also important to only give chicken breast meat rather than bones, cartilage, or chicken skin.

Eggs

Can Dogs Eat Eggs
Don’t feed dogs raw eggs as they can contain bacteria.

It might seem a little odd to feed your dogs eggs, but eggs are a great source of lean protein. They also contain other nutrients like fatty acids and vitamins. Just like when we eat eggs, it’s essential to make sure they’re cooked thoroughly. Otherwise, there could be a risk from bacteria like Salmonella. Scrambled eggs are also a good option if you need to feed your dog a bland diet for a few days when suffering from vomiting or diarrhea. Just remember not to add milk, butter, or seasoning.

Fish (some)

Person holding fishbone
Fishbones can get lodged in the throat or even in the stomach or gut.

Fish are a great source of protein as well as fatty acids. There are a few risks that come with feeding your dog some fish. However, as long as you follow specific rules, they can enjoy this food safely. First, any fish you offer to your dog should be free from bones. Second, you should avoid fish that contain lots of mercury, especially tuna. Finally, you should ensure that any fish destined for your dog is cooked without oil or seasoning.

Pasta

Dog looking at a bowl of pasta with sauce
Plain pasta, without sauces or seasoning, can be safely fed to your dog.

While pasta is a bland food that can be useful to calm a sensitive gut, you shouldn’t give it too frequently or in large quantities. This is because it’s a carbohydrate and could make your hungry hound overweight.

Peanut Butter

Dog Eating Peanut Butter
Peanut butter contains protein, fatty acids, and various vitamins. But avoid ones with xylitol.

Not all peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat. Be sure to choose a brand that doesn’t contain xylitol. If you can scour the labels and find one with reduced or no salt, that’s even better. If you can find the correct kind, it’s a great healthy snack for your furry pal in moderation.

Potatoes

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes
Thankfully, there is no risk from cooked potatoes, so your dog can enjoy unseasoned mashed or boiled potatoes.

Although potatoes are safe when ripe and cooked, raw or green potatoes are toxic to dogs. Raw and underripe potatoes contain Solanine, which is a toxic substance that is also found in tomatoes, eggplants, and capsicum. This poisonous compound can affect the heart, lungs, and gut.

Even with cooked potatoes, be sure to steer clear of cooking fats and seasoning.

Rice

White Dog Waits for Food in Dog Bowl
If your dog has diarrhea, your vet may recommend a bland diet of cooked rice and boiled chicken to aid recovery.

Rice is another good option if you’re looking for something bland to feed your poorly pooch. White rice is a good source of carbohydrate that is easy to digest, so great for a grumbling gut. However, like any carbohydrate source, you shouldn’t give it in excess in the long term. This is because, just like humans, unless your dog is very active, they’re likely to gain weight if they eat lots of carbs.

Turkey

Dog trying to eat Turkey off side of counter top
Alongside chicken, unseasoned turkey is one of the best meats to feed your dog.

Turkey is lean, contains very little fat, and is also a source of vital protein. If you plan to feed your dog turkey, ensure it’s cooked through and avoid cooking fats and seasoning. You should never feed your dog turkey bones because they could get stuck in the gut. Feeding turkey breast meat is the safest option, and it’s best to remove the skin because it can be fattier. Find more information on how to feed your dog turkey safely here.

How Much Human Food Can You Give Your Dog?

The most nutritious food you can feed your dog is a complete and balanced commercial dog food. Although the occasional healthy treat won’t do any harm, it does mean that they’ll be eating less of their dog food (unless you want them to gain weight). Any treats that you add into your dog’s diet should be accounted for in their daily calorie allowance, so on days where they have treats, you should reduce the amount of dog food they eat.

A good guideline is that treats should account for no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. This ensures that 90 percent of your dog’s diet is healthy and nutritionally complete dog food, and it can stop your pooch from becoming a bit overweight.

Final Thoughts

Many pet parents are aware of the various human foods that are poisonous to dogs. Still, there’s not so much information out there about which foods are safe. With the above list as a guide, you’ll be able to enjoy giving your dog a tasty treat without worrying about their health.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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