Why you should never feed your dog onions, grapes, and more — and what to feed them instead
- You can feed your dog bananas, apples, blueberries, pineapple, oranges, and watermelon.
- Your pup can also eat tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, eggs, and mango.
- But you should never feed your dog onions, grapes, avocadoes, or anything with xylitol.
It can be tempting to want to share extra food scraps with your dog or to give human foods as treats. While many human foods are safe or even healthy for your pet, some foods like onions and grapes can be dangerous for
Here are some of the human foods your dog can safely eat and which ones you should avoid sharing.
Foods you can feed your dog
These 13 human foods can make a good snack for your pup.
Bananas can be a healthy option for your dog because they're high in important nutrients like fiber and potassium, says Alison Meindl, DVM, a veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University.
But it's important to limit how much banana you give your dog because they're also high in sugar. Eating too much sugar can cause weight gain or irritate your dog's digestive system.
Large dogs can have up to half a banana, while small dogs can have two or three slices.
Apples can be a good snack for your dog that can offer plenty of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. But you should be careful to avoid giving your dog the seeds.
"Apple seeds contain a precursor to cyanide" Meindl says. Even though your dog would need to eat way more seeds than are in a single apple to cause a
"Blueberries are generally considered a safe food for
However, like many fruits, eating too much may cause diarrhea in your dog. "My advice is to start with a few berries and see if your pet likes them as treats and see how his or her digestive system tolerates them," Arndt says.
The red flesh of watermelon is generally considered safe for dogs to eat, Arndt says, and its high moisture content can make it a good low-calorie treat.
But if you do feed your dog watermelon, be sure to cut off the rind. "Watermelon rind has more potential to upset your dog's digestive system than it has as a nutritional benefit," says Arndt.
This is because the rind is hard to break down and may cause constipation or intestinal blockages.
Tomatoes are generally considered a safe food to feed dogs, plus they "are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants," Arndt says.
However, "anything given in excess or to a dog with a very sensitive tummy can cause upset," Arndt says. So, start off with very small bites to see how your dog reacts.
Oranges are generally safe for dogs to eat and provide valuable vitamin C. But it's important to introduce citrus fruits slowly, as citric acid can cause minor stomach upset.
Most importantly, avoid giving your dog orange peels, which may be extra hard on their digestion.
A few bite-sized chunks of fresh pineapple can be a good, nutrient-rich snack for dogs — it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.
However, you should avoid giving your dog canned pineapple because the syrup is very high in sugar, which can irritate your dog's digestive tract.
Broccoli can be a healthy snack for dogs, as it's high in essential nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. Both raw and cooked broccoli are safe for dogs to eat, as long as you don't add any seasoning.
However, it may be best to check with your veterinarian before adding broccoli as a regular staple in your dog's diet, as it contains isothiocyanates, compounds that can cause upset stomach in some dogs.
Carrots are a good low-calorie option for dogs — they're low in sugar and offer vitamin A, fiber, and potassium.
You can serve carrots raw or cooked, but you should always cut carrots into bite-size pieces to make sure your dog doesn't choke.
Cucumbers are safe to eat and are especially good for dogs on a diet, as they have very little calories.
Cucumbers also provide nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and magnesium for your dog.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein for your dog. For a lower fat option that still packs a good amount of protein, you can give your dog just the egg whites, Arndt says.
However, you should always cook eggs first. "Raw eggs should not be fed to your dog due to the risk of contamination of salmonella, this can make your dog and whole family sick," Arndt says.
Mangos are safe for your dog to eat and they contain valuable nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C and E. But mangos are very high in sugar, so this should only be used as an occasional treat for your pup.
You should also remove the pit before giving mango to your dog to avoid the risk of choking.
Shrimp can be a great option for dogs on a diet, as they may be lower in calories and fat than other meat-based treats. They're also rich in vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and phosphorus.
However, shrimp are relatively high in cholesterol, so they should always be given in limited amounts. For medium-sized dogs, one or two shrimp is a good serving size, while small dogs should start with half a shrimp. Giving dogs shrimp occasionally is fine, but if you want to offer them regularly, check with your vet to determine a healthy amount.
It's also important to always cook shrimp to avoid harmful bacteria and peel off all shells to avoid causing obstructions in your dog's intestines.
Foods you should never feed your dog
Here are four human foods that could be toxic to your pet.
It's important to avoid giving your pooch any kind of onion (red, white, or yellow), as these are all toxic to dogs, Meindl says.
Eating onions can cause an upset stomach in dogs and in large amounts, it can lead to more serious problems like red blood cell damage and anemia.
Other foods related to onions, including garlic and chives, can also lead to similar health issues, so avoid giving them to your dog at all costs.
"Grapes and raisins are top of the list of foods to avoid," Arndt says.
Grapes are very toxic to dogs and can cause sudden kidney failure in some cases. Experts still aren't sure why, but "it has been theorized that tartaric acid inside grapes and raisins may be the culprit of the toxicity," Arndt says.
Avocados aren't a good option for dogs because they contain persin, a toxin that can trigger diarrhea and vomiting.
You should be especially careful to keep avocado skin and the pit away from dogs, as these contain higher levels of persin than the meat.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener in a lot of foods and is extremely toxic. It can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in pets. You can find xylitol in:
- Baked goods
- Chewing gum
- Peanut butter
It's always important to check the ingredients list before feeding your dog anything.
Many human foods are safe for dogs to eat, but it's generally best to give them in small amounts or as occasional treats, to avoid overloading your pooch on sugar or cholesterol.
Human foods can offer several healthy nutrients, but your dog shouldn't need any nutritional supplement if they are on a commercial dog food diet.
"If owners want to cook at home for their dogs, the safest thing to do is to consult with a veterinary nutritionist who can help formulate a complete and balanced diet," Meindl says.
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