Plenty of people like to treat their dogs to a gourmet dish once in awhile and some may even be contemplating substituting dog food with human food. However, it’s important to know which foods are safe for dogs and which are so dangerous they’re deadly.
You could probably prepare a meal for your pet that’s healthier than most of the commercial dog grub you get in supermarkets, but it’s still preferable to feed them a staple diet of vet-recommended pet food. That said, occasionally feeding dogs human food is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a question of how you go about it.
Most people like to give their dog leftovers but that’s not really a good idea. If you just dump whatever remains on your plate into the dog dish, there’s no telling what harmful ingredients might be in there. Some foods that are good for humans are not remotely safe for dogs.
What human foods are safe for dogs?
Whether food is safe for dogs doesn’t bother your pooch begging for a morsel at the table. If you ever feel tempted to reward your pup’s persistence with some ambrosia, here’s an overview of which human foods dogs can eat, and those that are best avoided.
Food safe for dogs
- Peanut butter: A spoonful of peanut butter is a great treat for dogs, and high in protein to boot. Just make sure that it doesn’t contain xylitol, which is highly toxic for dogs and which can be fatal if consumed in even small doses.
- Salmon: But only if it’s cooked! Raw salmon has a parasite that can make your dog sick. Cooked salmon, on the other hand, is good for your dog’s immune system, skin and coat. According to Modern Dog Magazine, it can also reportedly help dogs with allergies.
- Pumpkin: Especially good for dogs with digestive problems due to its being rich in fiber
- Sweet Potatoes: A great example of healthy human food for dogs that is easy to prepare.
- Broccoli: Healthy for humans and healthy for dogs too; although it shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet due to the potential for gastrointestinal complications.
- Carrots: Carrots are good for you whether you’re a human, dog or animated rabbit.
- Oatmeal: Cooked oatmeal with no sugar added is great for your dog’s digestive system.
- Green Beans: Frozen or fresh green beans are high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and managanese.
- Yoghurt: Also great for dogs with digestive problems, but you should avoid yoghurt with added sugar or fat.
- Chicken: Everything tastes like chicken? The way pooch wolfs this down would suggest otherwise. Out of all the human food dogs can eat some cooked, unseasoned chicken is one of the best substitutes for when you run out of dog food.
Foods dangerous for dogs
- Chocolate: It’s well known that dogs and chocolate don’t get along. That’s because the stimulants in chocolate can cause great harm to your pet if consumed in high amounts.
- Avocado: This one may take some people off guard, as avocado is a staple of healthy human diets. The culprit is an ingredient called persin that is toxic to dogs. So no guacamole for you, pup.
- Alcohol: Some would call it man’s other best friend, but dogs can’t stomach it. Even a small amount can be dangerous, so don’t be tempted to get your dog drunk for a laugh.
- Grapes and Raisins: Again, foods that are extremely healthy for humans, but for dogs pose a significant risk of causing kidney failure.
- Onions: Damages your dog’s red blood cells, so keep them away.
- Cat Food: What’s good for cats is not necessarily good for dogs.
- Macadamia Nuts: May not be fatal but cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for up to 48 hours.
- Raw Meat: Their ancestors may have hunted, but dogs shouldn’t be fed raw meat for the same reasons that humans avoid it; it can contain harmful bacteria. Read more on raw food diets for dogs to find out about which raw meat to feed your dogs.
What’s a healthy dog diet
It’s strongly recommended that you consult your vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet, even if what you’re giving them is included on the list of foods safe for dogs. This is especially important if your dog is on any kind of medication. Monitor your dog’s reactions and report anything that concerns you to your vet, they can advise you on any dietary requirements that may apply specifically to your pet.
A healthy diet is ultimately the best way to treat your pet, as combined with good health care in general; it can increase their lifespan by about 15%. Remember that while feeding dogs human food can provide some much appreciated variety to their diet, and even have nutritional benefits, it shouldn’t become a habit. Vets recommend specialized dog food (though not necessarily the kind sold in supermarkets) for a reason, and human food should just be seen as an occasional alternative or complement to dog food, not a replacement. So whether it is from a pet store or your own dinner table, always be sure to consult a vet when determining the best food for dogs.