0

Your Cart is Empty

Human foods that dogs can and can't eat

by Katie Stone August 28, 2020 9 min read

Dogs with chef hats on and food in front of them

Dogs aren’t known for being picky eaters. In fact, most dogs will chow down on just about anything you put in front of them—for better or worse! And there have, of course, been instances where well-meaning pet parents have given their dog a little treat only to find out that it wasn’t a good choice. So, what can dogs eat?

When it comes to sharing ‘human’ food with your dog, it’s important to have a good understanding of what is healthy for pooches and what can cause them harm. There are only a handful of foods that are highly toxic to dogs, but there are quite a few that are best fed in small quantities or avoided altogether. Conversely, there are also a good number of human foods that are perfectly fine to share with you pup—and actually have some significant benefits for him!

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, it should get you started learning about some of those healthy foods and the foods that dogs can’t eat.

Aloe vera

No—while it's safe for topical use on dogs, aloe vera isn't safe for dogs to eat. Aloe is known to irritate the intestines, which can cause an upset tummy, bloating, and diarrhea. The saponins also bond to sugar in the blood, which can cause your dog’s blood sugar levels to drop dramatically and cause even more problems. Serious signs following aloe vera ingestion include lack of energy, loss of appetite, changes in the color of the urine, and sometimes even tremors.

Avocado

Yes and no—avocados are not ideal for dogs. Avocados contain persin, a natural compound produced within the avocado plant to ward off pests. This can cause health issues if consumed in large amounts. So while a small amount of avocado may be ok, there are better options available.

Bacon

No, dogs should not eat bacon. Bacon might be a meat, but it’s not the type of meat that will benefit any dog. In fact, between the high salt content, high amount of saturated fat, and additives, it may have some serious drawbacks for your dog’s health.

Bananas

Yes! Bananas are safe for dogs and are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Like all fruits, they’re best enjoyed in moderation. Try freezing small chunks for a treat on a hot day! 

Beef liver

Yes, dogs can eat beef liver! Beef is not only safe, it’s highly recommended for dogs. Liver is an incredible source of nutrients—much more so than any commercial dog food. It’s rich in protein, low in calories, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Beets

Yes—dogs can eat beets! They’ve been dubbed a superfood thanks to their enormous range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While beets are mostly eaten for their root, their leaves are also nutritious, so the whole plant can be given to your dog!

Blueberries

Yes, dogs can enjoy blueberriesThey’re not only a rich source of nutrients, but they’re sweet and low in calories. Since they’re small and soft, the risk of choking is very low. Blueberries are so good that many commercial dog treats and meals even contain them!

Broccoli

Yes, dogs can eat broccoli! Broccoli has long been hailed as a superfood for humans due to its powerful nutritional value. And with plenty of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, broccoli may benefit your best friend in lots of ways, too. 

Cabbage

Yes—dogs can eat cabbage as well. Red cabbage, in particular, contains some important nutrients for your dog. Cabbage is also anti-inflammatory, full of fiber, and helps reduce cholesterol. Remember that cabbage can cause gas and intestinal discomfort in your dog (just like it does with humans), so feed is only occasionally and in small amounts.

Carrots

Yes, dogs sure can eat carrots. They're an excellent source of nutrients and a crunchy treat. Give them in moderation, as carrots are high in natural sugars, and be sure you cut them small enough that they don't pose a choking hazard for your dog.

Cauliflower

Yes—cauliflower is safe for dogs. Cauliflower has plenty of nutrients to offer, including fiber, vitamins K, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and folate. These nutrients support a wide variety of functions in the body, including vision, liver, muscles, and the immune system. Since cauliflower is known for causing gas and bloating in large amounts, it’s best to keep servings small and sporadic.

Cherries

Yes, cherries are safe for dogs, but only when prepared properly. The pits, stems, and leaves are toxic for dogs. If you're going to share a cherry with your pup, make sure you're only giving her the flesh.

Crab

Yes, dogs can eat crab—but there are some precautions you must take before you serve up this tasty little creature. In most cases, fresh crab meat is not a toxic food for dogs, as long as the shell is removed. It’s also important to note that some dogs can be allergic to shellfish. Aside from that, crab is a delicious treat for your doggo. It can even harbor a few health benefits. 

Cranberries

Yes and no. Cranberries are safe for dogs and may have some health benefits—but there are some precautions you must take before you feed your dog cranberries. First and foremost: always serve them fresh, not dried.

Cucumbers

Yes, dogs can eat cucumbers! Cucumbers are a safe, healthy treat for dogs of all ages. They’re not only deliciously crunchy, but also super low in calories. They're also naturally low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol. Best of all, cucumbers contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog’s health. 

Eggs

Raw eggs are totally safe for dogs. What’s more, they’re an excellent addition to his diet! Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. They’re a perfect protein source and easy to digest. They’re also very affordable. 

Garlic

Yes, dogs can eat garlic. With that said, it must be fresh, prepared properly, and given in small amounts. A safe level is about a half clove per 10 pounds of body weight (or less). 

Grains

Yes, dogs can eat grains. But dogs, by nature, are scavenging carnivores, not omnivores—and there’s no better evidence to support this than their teeth. Generally speaking, though, grains aren't bad for dogs. Dogs are incredibly resilient in terms of the diet their bodies can handle, and they can survive eating grains. Surviving, of course, if different from thriving—and to thrive, dogs require a biologically appropriate diet.

Grapes

No—as yummy as they are, dogs should never have grapes. Grapes are actually one of the most dangerous foods for dogs, and even one or two can have serious (and even fatal) consequences.

Honey

Yes, honey is safe for dogs—but only in small amounts. After all, honey is still sugar! Too much honey can lead to unnecessary weight gain in dogs, especially if they are not active enough. And although honey is a natural sugar, it can still lead to tooth decay. Vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth if she has eaten honey. 

Raw honey should not be fed to puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems, as it may contain the presence of botulism spores. Honey should also not be given to diabetic or obese dogs.

Kale

Yes and no. Kale is generally safe for (most) dogs when fed in moderation, but it depends heavily on the soil it was grown in. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. Some research has shown that this family of vegetables behave as ‘hyperaccumulators’ of thallium, a toxic heavy metal. According to the research, these vegetables obtained thallium from the soil they were grown in. But not all kale will contain thallium. Your best bet is to seek out kale (and other vegetables) from organic sources. 

Lettuce

Yes, dogs can eat lettuce. This crisp green veg is mostly made up of water, so it’s not toxic or dangerous to dogs. Small pieces are quite digestible, and may even offer some health benefits. 

Mango

Yes! Dogs can happily eat mango. This delicious fruit is quite safe for canines as long as it has been prepared properly. Of course, just because mango is safe for dogs doesn’t mean they should eat it all the time. 

Mashed potatoes

This is a tricky one! Mashed potatoes are technically just fine for dogs, and may even harbor some health benefits. But it all comes down to the way in which they are made and the extra ingredients they contain. 

Onions

No, dogs should not eat onions. The flesh, juice, and leaves of the onion are all toxic to dogs. Avoid giving your dog onions in any form, including raw, cooked, dehydrated, or powdered in a seasoning.

Oysters

Yes, oysters are safe for dogs! In fact, these odd mollusks harbor a huge range of health properties that make them beneficial for both humans and pets. But before you go serving your pup a plate of oysters, there are a few precautions you must take. Oysters must be prepared in a certain way for your pet to eat them safely. 

Pears

Yes—pears are fine for dogs! Pears are a great source of essential antioxidants, plant compounds, and dietary fiber, which makes them a healthy natural alternative to processed dog treats. With that said, it’s important to remove the seeds (they can release cyanide) and to give pear in small amounts, as it’s high in sugar and has lots of fiber, which can cause stomach upset.

Peas

Yes, dogs can eat peas! These tiny green legumes make fun, tasty treats that can be used as healthy alternatives to commercial dog treats during training sessions. They’re also packed with nutritional benefits that you and your pooch can enjoy together. The best types of peas to feed your dog are green peas, including garden peas and English peas. Sugarsnap peas and snow peas are also just fine. 

Plums

It depends—dogs can eat plums, but you have to be careful. While the flesh of the plum is not harmful for your dog per se, it’s very high in sugar and isn’t the best option if you want to share fruit with your pooch. The pit of the plum is where the real problem lies, though, as it’s hard and indigestible, and can end up causing a serious blockage in your dog’s system.

Quinoa

Yes, quinoa is safe for dogs. The American Kennel Club explains that this seed is sometimes even used in high-quality dry dog foods. Its powerful nutritional profile makes it a healthy alternative to other starches often used in kibble, such as corn, wheat, and soy. 

Radishes

Yes—radishes are safe to give to your dog in moderation. You likely enjoy the crisp texture in salads, and this texture can help remove plaque or other food matter from your pup’s teeth. Radishes are a great source of vitamin C and fiber, a source of antioxidants, help support healthy blood pressure and nourish blood vessels, and deliver a host of important minerals.

Raw meat

Yes, raw meat is just great for dogs! In fact, many vets recommend it as a highly beneficial source of protein and nutrients. Dogs can thrive on a raw diet (known as BARF) that comprises raw meat and meaty bones. 

The entire anatomy and physiology of dogs is designed for a meat-eating diet. Of course, this doesn’t mean dogs should eat meat alone. We know that dogs can survive very well on human dinner scraps and certain fruits and vegetables, too.

But to keep your dog in tip-top health, it’s important to recognize that he is first and foremost a carnivore with omnivorous abilities.

Spinach

Yes—your dog can eat spinach! Leafy greens are nutritious for both humans and dogs, with spinach offering vitamins and minerals that help strengthen bones, reduce free radicals, support muscle function, and ensure proper functioning of various bodily systems. Since spinach is high in oxalates, rotate it out with other greens to keep things balanced.

Strawberries

Yes—strawberries are safe for dogs and make for a great healthy treat! They're low calorie and offer tons of benefits for your canine pal, including boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and supporting good digestion.  

Squash

Yes, dogs can eat squash! They particularly enjoy winter squash such as butternut for its sweet, nutty flavor. Dogs can also eat summer squash, such as zucchini. Both of these ‘fruits’ are best served cooked and harbor plenty of nutritional benefits for your pup. 

Sweet potatoes

Dogs can eat sweet potatoes—in moderation. Sweet potatoes are safe for dogs and many sources recommend them as a good source of energy and nutrients. In fact, sweet potatoes pose similar health benefits for dogs as they do for people.

Tangerines

Yes, dogs can eat tangerines. But these juicy fruits aren’t very beneficial for dogs and are high in sugar, so they should be limited. Think of them as once-in-a-while treats more than part of your dog's regular meals. 

Tomatoes

Yes and no. Dogs can eat tomatoes, but only occasionally and in limited amounts. Tomatoes aren’t poisonous and aren’t the worst food your pooch can eat—but some parts of the tomato plant may have a negative impact on your dog's health. It’s important to know how to serve them safely. 


The article was written by Katie Stone on August 28, 2020.
Katie Stone
Katie Stone

Katie Stone is a qualified naturopath. She holds degrees in criminology, journalism, and natural medicine. Katie is a lifelong animal lover, who has a keen focus on pet health and how to treat animals with natural medicine. She writes for a wide range of online publications and loves making a difference in the lives of creatures great and small.